Well, either way, I finally got around to reading the first volume of ATTACK ON TITAN.
It's something I've been meaning to check out for a while. I am a big fan of both survival-horror and sci-fi-horror (ALIEN is one of my all-time favorite movies), so this seems like it would be right up my alley.
Well, kind of.
I won't go too much into details on the story, cuz I'm sure many, if not most, of you know it. Sometime (maybe?) 2000 years in the future, Earth is invaded by the Titans - a race of naked, genital-less, often mutilated-looking giants that range in height from about 15 to 50 feet tall and have a taste for human flesh. Humanity is no match for them (in a bit of exposition, someone estimates that 30 humans are killed for every Titan killed when humanity tries to fight them) so they build a giant wall around the last secure human territory and live in relative peace for a century... until a colossal titan named, erm, the Colossus Titan, nearly 200-feet-tall appears and begins smashing down the walls.
So then, after having ready volume 1...
It's a bare-bones (so far) survival-horror story that gives you just the right mix of action, exposition and character development to keep it going at a brisk pace without seeming like the story is too thin. Although it does telegraph its twists pretty far in advance, I don't know if that's necessarily a bad thing for this kind of story. None of the characters are terribly fleshed out so far, but we're given enough information that A. they fit neatly into the character roles this kind of story but B. they don't seem entirely one-dimensional, either and there's lots of room to grow. Growth I hope we'll see sooner rather than later, because if they aren't fleshed out more that would be a problem.
Cons: the art is... not good, would be a polite way to phrase it. There are horrible perspective and anatomy problems that crop up quite frequently, If they were consistent, it could be called a style, but they're not - it's a different issue every time, page to page and even panel to panel. At first I thought it was a style: the quiet moments better drawn (still not good art, mind you, but the best Isayama shows us in volume one is during the peaceful scenes) and the action scenes more hurried and surreal. But the two "styles" crept up on each other, then ran together, the further I got into the book and I realized it was probably just the artist rushing to meet deadlines. It's actually a little surprising, as one thing I love about manga is that the art that gets published in mainstream magazines has always seemed to be held to a much higher standard than what you'll see in western comics. Frankly, if I posted an ad looking for an artist and these were samples I'd received from an applicant, I'd politely decline.
Overall, however, despite the complaints, I liked AoT all right. I am genuinely curious about the mystery of the Titans' appearance as well as the relationship between Mikasa and Eren and how they ended up growing up together while clearly not siblings. But is it enough to keep reading? I'm not sure. Maybe once I finish off a chunk of the rest of my to-read pile.