I read a lot of books on Buddhism (I even write some), but, alas, very few have pictures. This elegant (if one is allowed to use such an adjective to describe a graphic novel) series from Vertical of course goes way beyond "pictures." It tells the story of the Buddha and, in effect, the society he came from, through the expansive envisioning of Tezuka, The Man of La Manga. (Sorry, couldn't resist the pun. In case you don't know, "manga" means "graphic novel" in Japanese, and Tezuka really is The Man, having pretty well created the genre). So it's not about a text with pictures, it's about telling the story of the Buddha as a *vision*, rather than as a collection of words. It works.
Seriously, volume two carries on the dual track of intriguing characters who illustrate overarching themes, bringing them to life in a way that mere text almost never does. These are not scholarly books, by any means, but they depict the cultural milieu from which the Buddha and Buddhism arose. We haven't yet gotten to where Tezuka lets the Buddha expound the dharma, but, if he follows his established pattern, he's going to get things pretty straight.
I'm really looking forward to future volumes this series and think a whole range of others will soon be waiting with me.