Black Cat Volume 8: Cerberus Strikes

Black Cat Volume 8: Cerberus Strikes
Story and Art: Kentaro Yabuki
Release Date: 9th June 2002
Covers Chapters 68-75
Shonen Jump/Viz Media

After some bounty hunting adventures Black Cat moves into the meat of things. The evil group, Apostles of the Stars, are hiding out in a castle and the Erasure unit, Chronos is ready to strike with their Cerberus unit! As the two collide,where does Train and his Sweeper business fit into it all? Lures everywhere.

Starting with a rather dark flashback of Train learning how to be an assassin from the man who killed his parents, we learn of how Train got his skills. It seems unusual that this relationship would work out, but we quickly learn there is more to it on both sides. Train obviously wants to get good enough to kill the guy, but the old mans reason is hidden in a character biography tucked away in the volume. Quite nice to see the two side by side providing an interesting background.

We then move to the castle infiltration, which involves the thief Rinslet being captured by the sinister Apostles. With a tracking device hidden within her earrings, the Cerberus unit of  Chronos sets out to stop the maniacal Creed. Three numbers of the Chronos, these guys pack some power and their special abilities clashing with the enemies make some good old shonen battling.

The battles are full of quirky abilities and dynamic panels to revel in. Wind powers, blood powers, string powers, portal powers, string powers… it has them all. It is exciting to see everything explode on the page after a couple of volumes build up and with Train, Sven and Eve entering the fray at the end, things are only going to get better.

Volume 8 contains less chapters than usual thanks to the inclusion of the pilot. Here we get a mini story of what the series could have been. Train and Sven play out as delivery men rather than bounty hunters and they take on a job to bring a wannabee Sweeper girl home. It is fun to see the origins and I like how the sword in this version has transformation powers. The afro villain has some seriously cool panels too, though it feels a little frustrating to have it take up volume content just as the action has taken off. Think the bounty hunting routine they went with is far more exciting than delivery men though, it seemed the pilot had the same idea as it quickly pushed away from package delivering to fighting criminals. Still delivering bounties and punches are much the same.

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