It's a slow week for new manga, but there is one standout volume coming out this Wednesday and a couple of others that are worth a look.
Let's start with the good stuff: Volume 2 of Wandering Son, a coming-of-age story about a boy who wants to dress like a girl and a girl who wants to live as a boy. Both protagonists must deal not only with their own conflicted feelings but with the reactions of those around them. This is a quiet story that focuses on the emotional life of the characters—unlike most gender-bender manga, the situation is not played for laughs, although the story does have its lighter moments. I picked volume 1 of this series as one of my best manga of 2011, and I'm really looking forward to volume 2.
Also worth a look: Vol. 6 of Vampire Hunter D, the manga adaptation of Hideyuki Kikuchi's tales of the struggle between humans and vampires in a post-apocalyptic world. This series has been around for a while, but if you're not up to speed on it, check out Digital's website eManga.com, which is streaming vols. 1 through 5 for free until January 8.
It's omnibus season at Kodansha Comics, with vol. 3 of the Negima omnibus and vol. 2 of the Love Hina omnibus, both from Ken Akamatsu, coming out this week. Not an Akamatsu fan? Then save your pennies for vol. 3 of Monster Hunter Orage, the game-based manga by Fairy Tail creator Hiro Mashima.
Dark Horse has vol. 40 of Oh My Goddess. In this volume, the trio of goddesses, Belldandy, Urd, and Skuld, drag Keichi off to Hell to fight some demons.
Since it's a slow week, let's wrap up with one we missed a few weeks ago: Vol. 18 of xxxHOLiC, the next-to-last volume of CLAMP's stunningly drawn series. Almost all of Del Rey's manga line was brought into the Kodansha Comics imprint a while ago, but this series has remained as a Del Rey title and doesn't show up on the Kodansha website, which is why I missed it. But it's a solid series and, frankly, deserves better, so if you see it, grab it.