Off*Beat, Volume 2

Off*Beat, Volume 2Creator: Jen Lee Quick
Publisher: Chromatic Press
ISBN: 9780991946617
Released: May 2013
Original release: 2006

The first two volumes of Jen Lee Quick’s graphic novel series Off*Beat were originally published by Tokyopop as part of its line of original English-language manga. A third volume was planned but never released by Tokyopop and Off*Beat sadly went out of print. I enjoyed the series and so was trilled when Chromatic Press brought Off*Beat back in a new edition with additional bonus content that previously hadn’t been released. The long-awaited third volume began serialization in Chromatic Press’ Sparkler Monthly as well. Off*Beat, Volume 2 was first released in 2006 while the Chromatic Press edition was released in 2013. By this point I have read the first two volumes of Off*Beat several times. My fondness for the series seems to only grow with each re-reading. I love the characters in all of their delightful awkwardness and I enjoy Quick’s sense of humor and the series’ drama a great deal. Off*Beat is a series that makes me happy to read and I’m even happier that it’s back in print so that more people can have a chance to enjoy it.

Tory has developed a bit of an obsession with his new next door neighbor Colin who moved in under strange circumstances. Intensely curious about the mysterious young man, Tory even managed to convince his mother to allow him to transfer to Colin’s high school so that he could learn more about him. (Of course, that wasn’t the reason that he gave her.) Colin is fairly introverted and isn’t really out to make friends but Tory did find a way to get closer to him by offering his services as a physics tutor. The extra attention that Colin receives from Tory hasn’t gone unnoticed. Although Colin has started to open up to Tory, he questions the other young man’s motives. Tory tries to pass off his always being around as a mere coincidence and says that he’s simply interested in becoming friends. But he is also interested in uncovering more information about “The Gaia Project,” a top-secret program that Colin has some sort of connection to. Unfortunately, Tory’s prying is about to get him into some trouble, just as he was beginning to figure out his relationship with Colin.

Most of Off*Beat, Volume 2 follows Tory’s perspective of events, but portions are also seen from Colin’s point of view as well as from those of Tory’s mother, their friend and neighbor Paul, and Tory’s classmate Mandy. Although I like all of the characters and enjoy the realism of their connections, one of my favorite parts of Off*Beat is the slow, natural development of Tory and Colin’s relationship. Tory’s interest may have begun out of mere curiosity, but Colin has become very important to him. Tory hasn’t quite realized it himself yet, but his friends and family (and the readers) can tell he has a crush. And it’s absolutely adorable. Quick captures perfectly the teenage awkwardness of a potential romance. Tory is almost constantly flustered and even Colin has begun to wonder confusedly why they seem to be drawn to each other. However, their relationship began under dubious circumstances at best. In addition to navigating the normal challenges of a budding romance, they will also have to deal with the fact that it all started because Tory was spying on Colin.

In part because of that, Tory is understandably under a fair amount of stress, something that exhibits itself through his dreams and his propensity for flights of fantasy. This is just one example of some of the excellent characterization in Off*Beat. Tory and Colin and all of the others have their good points and their bad, making them well-rounded characters with believable relationships. There is a fair amount of humor in their interactions and sarcasm is a common way that they communicate, which amuses me tremendously. Off*Beat also has an air of mystery about it. Both Colin an Tory have secrets that they’re keeping from each other and the enigma of Gaia Project is looming ever larger over the series. Quick has been slowly revealing more and more about the project, and about Colin, but there are still plenty of questions left to be answered. On top of that, Off*Beat, Volume 2 ends on one heck of a cliffhanger. I’m so glad that now, almost a decade after the series first began, that the conclusion will finally be revealed. I can’t wait to see how everything is resolved in the final volume. I truly love Off*Beat.


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Comments

  1. Spot on review. Im really interested in hearing your thoughts on Vol 3!!!

    • Ash Brown says:

      Thanks! I’ll definitely be reviewing volume three when it’s released. I already have it on preorder. ^_^

Trackbacks

  1. […] and look forward to reading more. The second review posted last week was of Jen Lee Quick’s Off*Beat, Volume 2. The third volume in the series will be released soon, so I decided to revisit the previous volume […]

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