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You know... the coloring styles were so erratic among these graphic novels- it really helps with consistency of quality and style to remove the color completely. The line art is wonderful from beginning to end, and I've never liked the "Kings of the Broken Wheel" storyline so much before. Reading all four books together, straight through, really changes the nature, feel and pace of the story. Everything seems happen much more quickly. The motivations of the characters, in particular- Rayek, are much more understandable. Don't get me wrong- Rayek is still a jerk- but it's a lot clearer what is going on with him. He's facing some emotionally complex situations he can't handle... some of which are humiliating and disappointing... he's wrestling with his ego- and he's losing. If Rayek were another character, he would react differently... some might say 'normally'... but he's Rayek, so his reaction is over the top. Overall- having read this all together- I have to say... Rayek reminds me of a friend I grew up with. I met my best friend when I was maybe nine or ten. We were neighbors. I was the first girl who gave him the time of day- so naturally he developed a crush on me. He didn't get over that until we were both adults and he had a child. (It was a little awkward round his girlfriend.) He was the most interesting person I knew- but he was also very socially awkward- and he was rude and abrupt with people. At the same time, he was brilliant. The things he could do as a child were remarkable for an adult. Our parents didn't supervise us much together- we had free run of the neighborhood- and we did get into a lot of trouble. He moreso than I-- because he didn't seem to understand why boundaries existed, why some things were off limits, why some behaviors were dangerous, why you didn't say certain things to certain people. And yes, he was very egotistical- and insecure at the same time. He seemed, sometimes, to lack empathy, honestly. He grew up to be a scientist. Guess what? The guy had Asperger's. I didn't realize it until about five years ago. I just took him as he came. His dad finally mentioned it. Rayek seems very similar. He doesn't understand why some things are not okay to do- even if you can. He has trouble navigating complex social situations. He has a hard time seeing from anyone else's point of view. But he's a genius. Right? For what it's worth- I know not everyone with Aperger's is like this. This is just how my friend was. It just happens to be very similar to this character. I know some people on this forum have a lot more experience and better understanding of the autism spectrum than I do. I know these traits don't apply to everyone who is on that spectrum. I have another friend with Aperger's who is literally the nicest guy you could ever meet- just kind, considerate, and overtly conscientious- also kind of brilliant, incidentally, in his field of interest. Everyone is different. I guess my point is- I could see Rayek's flaws and strengths much more clearly in this volume- because it was continuous. It all made sense. Everyone else is pretty much reacting to him, with varying degrees of self control vs freak out