Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 18

[openbook booknumber=”1421525364″][rating:5/5]

In an alchemical ritual gone wrong, Edward Elric lost his arm and his leg, and his brother Alphonse became nothing but a soul in a suit of armor. Equipped with mechanical “auto-mail” limbs, Edward becomes a state alchemist, seeking the one thing that can restore his and his brother’s bodies… the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.

Automail engineer Wintry is captured and held hostage to force Edward to do her captor’s bidding. Hawkeye discovers the disturbing truth about President Bradley’s son. Out heroes have fortuitous and not-so-fortuitous reunions with old friends and enemies. And multiple intrigues and double-crosses ensue as some people plot to save the world while others scheme to destroy it.

The very first thing I noticed when picking up my copy of Volume 18 is how differently Ed is drawn on the cover. He is growing up! I also noticed throughout the volume that several of the characters are being drawn just a bit older than they were before. Many of their actions also belie their age with Winry and her enduring sunny view on things bringing up the rear, though even she grows quite a bit throughout the events that unfold in this volume.

This volume also brings back some of the humor that we have been missing of late in the midst of all the serious subject manner. There were several moments that had me laughing out loud at the brother’s antics and of course I loved seeing the interplay between the two of them and Winry whenever they meet up.

Several new sinister discoveries are made and characters scheme and double cross each other throughout as things unfold and the dark plans of the homunculus’ father threaten to succeed. There are also several new alliances made and some real growth from characters you might least expect it from. I love that about this series, even the most stereotypical among the players can reveal real depth and real change in Arakawa’s capable hands. The question just remains, how will this all play out?

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