Bleach by Tite Kubo 3.5 stars(amazon)

Sometimes I wonder if contact with spirits from the beyond is the manga equivalent of developing superpowers after a horrible encounter with radioactivity. It certainly seems like a convenient way for a teenager to encounter a life-changing event. Bleach is the story of Ichigo Kurosaki, a teenage boy who has always been able to see ghosts. He’s mischevious and doesn’t mind fighting, but he does step in to help people who can’t defend themselves. The story opens with Ichigo beathing up some bullies who were knocking over an offering by the grave of a little girl. The girl’s spirit was not happy about her grave being desecrated. He returns home to his family and sees that he’s being haunted by a new spirit, a girl dressed like a samurai and carrying a sword. Her name is Rukia and she is a soul reaper, someone who is charged with vanquishing evil spirits.

When evil spirits attack the family, Rukia decides to lend Ichigo some of her power so he can help defend his house. Something goes wrong and Ichigo gets all of Rukia’s power, transforming him into a soul reaper. Rukia sticks around, pretending to be a normal high school student as she tries to make Ichigo act like a proper soul reaper. Bleach combines action and humor as Ichigo attempts to adjust to his new powers.