REVIEW: ‘Lost Lad London,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Lost Lad London - But Why Tho

Comic Beam is a seinen magazine that boasts an eclectic range of genres. This month, Yen Press’ latest license is Lost Lad London, and this debut volume is one of the best things to come from manga this month and, really, this year. Created, written, and illustrated by mangaka Shima Shinya, Lost Lad London Volume 1 is published and localized in English by Yen Press. The volume is translated by Eleanor Ruth Summers and features lettering by Abigail Blackman.

The series is set around one city-shaking event: the murder of London’s mayor. Discovered on an Underground train, the murder throws more than a couple of lives into a mess, but none more so than Al Adley. Al is quiet and focused on his own success, to the point that he even charges his friends to do their work, with no discount in mind. Adopted as a child, Al is attempting to be as self-sufficient as possible, but that also means that he’s ultimately lonely, even when surrounded by friends. After taking the tube home one day after a part-time job, Al unwittingly finds himself at the center of the Mayor’s murder investigation when he discovers a bloody knife has been slipped into his pocket during the night.

Confused and unsure of what to do, Al doesn’t have anywhere to turn, leaving him with Detective Ellis as his only hope. An older detective who is clearly working through his own issues regarding past cases, Ellis has learned that the right thing is more important than just solving a case. Because of this, Ellis believes Al’s claims of innocence. Now, the two must work together to conceal Al’s involvement and clear his name in the face of shadowy forces working to see Al take the fall for a crime he didn’t commit.

There is a vulnerability and understanding that Shinya uses to make Lost Lad London Volume 1 truly something special, and that comes through not just in the dialogue but in the art. Without high detail, Shinya is able to craft expressive faces with soulful eyes that point to a larger story that will be tapped into as the series moves forward. With care and commitment, Shinya manages to bring Al and Detective Ellis together in a way that feels extremely real. There is almost a paternal bond between the two that just works to give depth to the mystery at each turn.

Additionally, it’s refreshing to see a Black and brown character drawn in a way that doesn’t lean into the stereotypes we so often see utilized in manga. Instead, they look like real people, artful and creative, yes, but Shinya manages to exaggerate certain features that lend to the stylized depiction of life in their work while still making them feel like people you would see on the street. Ellis and Al work in a way because they feel like full characters from the visuals to the dialogue, both working together to make the reader feel for them.

Lost Lad London is stellar. Not only does it capture mystery and emotion, but the art is unlike anything I’ve seen published by Yen Press and will hold a special spot on my shelf as something truly unique. The series is simple and beautiful. The way the story has begun to unravel itself is a crime story I can’t wait to see more of, particularly because our leads Ellis and Al are some of the most compelling characters I’ve read in a while.

Lost Lad London Volume 1 is available now wherever books are sold.  


Lost Lad London Volume 1
5

TL;DR

Lost Lad London is stellar. Not only does it capture mystery and emotion, but the art is unlike anything I’ve seen published by Yen Press and will hold a special spot on my shelf as something truly unique. The series is simple and beautiful. The way the story has begun to unravel itself is a crime story I can’t wait to see more of, particularly because our leads Ellis and Al are some of the most compelling characters I’ve read in a while.

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