From one hell into another, Luffy jumps from the prison cells of Impel Down into the great war! The strongest pirate of the seas, Whitebeard, has come to claim Ace back before the marines execute him! Will justice prevail? As Donflamingo says, whoever wins becomes justice…
Volume 57 is another chaotic collection of chapters, this time showcasing the great war. Many new characters are introduced to beef up the battle numbers and clashes are going off on every page, double spreads plentiful to show off the explosive battlefield. It has the feeling of war, and tactics are abound as the marines try to outsmart the pirates rushing forwards. Unlike the Impel Down escape however, the manic action isn’t quite so entertaining. Pages upon pages of big named characters shows the scale of battle, but doesn’t lead to satisfying conclusions. We keep rushing off to see more battles and it just doesn’t flow too well.
The war isn’t without merit though. Whitebeard showcasing his quake powers is an incredible moment, as is Luffy and his prison friends falling into battle. The rest though is just bang after bang. It looks like a lot is going on, but the pace is crawling. In one volume only one fatal blow on a character is truly landing and little ground is covered. Top it off with less than stellar back stories involving a giant risking his life because Ace made him a hat, then you have One Piece pumping out content of varying quality. With characters we’ve never met before leading the charge for the first half of the volume, it is hard to root for any of the new guys who’ve just popped into the story. Whitebeard’s crew is cool and all, but it isn’t till Luffy appears that the excitement truly picks up.
Volume 57 succeeds in showing scale, but lacks in the usual depth, flow and variety the series typically gives out. War is hell, and a lot of double spreads.