The battle is in full swing now, with different factions fighting all over Central City. The Armstrongs are fighting a slew of "doll soldiers", the white homunculi soldiers that were supposed to fight for the Military High Command, but their incompleteness makes them savage and indiscriminate killing machines. Fullmetal and Colonel Mustang find each other while clearing out these soldiers in the tunnels below the city, and Envy is not far behind. The battle between Mustang and Envy threatens to destroy Mustang's humanity, but an unlikely ally brings him back from the edge. Just as General Armstrong's men secure each of the four gates leading to Central Command, King Bradley begins an assault on the main gate, having not perished in the attack on his train as all previously believed. While all this rages on throughout the multiple levels of Command, Hohenheim begins his assault on his oldest friend, the Dwarf in the Flask, who has some surprises of his own for Hohenheim.
The entire series has a frenetic build-up and is high-energy, but nothing that has come before compares with this final, epic battle. Arakawa has done such a thorough job throughout the series of building up each character that these fights are really edge-of-your-seat material. There are also so many different storylines being woven together, and the balance of characters to root for in each storyline is masterfully done. Since this volume focuses more on what's happening with the military, there isn't as much page-time for Edward and Al. Al, in fact, scoots off at the beginning with Dr. Marcoh and Yoki, fleeing Pride, and isn't seen again for the rest of the volume. As things wrap up, we'll probably see more of the brothers in the last two volumes, so it make sense that we're more involved with everyone else at this point.
Sara's Rating: 10/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12
Reviews of previous volumes in this series: vol 1, vol 2, vol 3, vol 4, vol 5, vol 6, vol 7, vol 8, vol 9, vol 10, vol 11, vol 12, vol 13, vol 14, vol 15
Publisher: VIZ Media
Publication Date: February 8, 2022
ISBN: 9781974700042 (Hardcover)
Tags: Rating: 10/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Action Adventure, VIZ Media
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