The epic Buddha series continues with volume three, Devadatta. In it, Siddhartha teams up with Dhepa, the monk who burnt out his eye in the previous book, and Assaji, the runt of a poor family who try and attach him to the two reluctant monks to reduce the number of mouths they have to feed.
Dhepa’s religious style is markedly different to Siddhartha’s attitudes: he believes that holiness is achieved through torturous personal ordeals that could easily leave a monk dead; while Siddhartha loves life and suspects that the path to enlightenment comes through looking after yourself so you can continue your honest and helpful path through a full and fulfilled life. We also see the early history of Devadatta – the son of Bandaka who terrorised Siddartha through the first two volumes – who is cast out from his home and suckled by wolves, giving him a very unique perspective on life and survival.
Tezuka’s use of characters is stunning, building a pantheon of supporting parts as he charts a way through Siddhatha’s life. The artistic style may appear simplistic at first but it soon disappears as the story and the artistry of its telling take hold. His detailed backgrounds, like any good view, are often worth pausing over to fully drink them in.
We feel that the series really hits a stride with this book, gaining significant pace and urging the reader forward through the pages. It also goes to prove that comics about religious icons can be as accessible and fascinating as comics covering the fictional genres more commonly associated with the medium.
Other titles in the Buddha series:
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Other books by Osamu Tezuka:
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