Luffy barely manages to escape Monet's ice trap, but just gets himself trapped in the depths of the basement below the labs. Namiand the rest catch up with Chopper. He's been trying to stop the kids from eating anymore of the drugged candy with the help of a young girl named Mocha, but the arrival of Monet could spell trouble for everyone. Vergo is finally out for the kill on Trafalgar Law, but Smoker arrives for revenge against the traitor to the Marines.
With a main protagonist such as Luffy, it can be really hard to tell if he's a complete moron or a savant genius. Here he is surrounded by 10 layers of what is described as nearly impenetrable walls of snow, but he figures out at the last second that he's standing on one layer of a weak floor. Sure, breaking through doesn't make his situation much better, but is was a case of quick thinking that saved his rubbery skin. It's still consistent for the character when he's shown these sparks of inspiration throughout the series. It was against Arlong, Eneru, and even when he figured out how to beat Crocodile in their climatic battle in Alabasta.
It's nice to get a better view of what Monet's powers are based on. Just as we've seen variations of the same power in Ace and Sakazuki. We now have something similar in Monet's and Kuzan. Maybe it's the nature of the power, but Monet reminds me a lot of Kuzan. It's so hard to tell if they are friend or foe, and where does their allegiance truly belong. However, that's the sort of thing that I believe makes them so fascinating to follow. It appears that Monet has been helping Law from the shadows, but she can't be too overt or Doflamingo will somehow bring about her death. Seeing how she comes flying into the infamous Biscuit's Room. I'm wondering if we'll be seeing a Monet versus Nami fight. The girl on girl battles seems to be the standard in this series.
This chapter brings to light a rather tired shonen cliche. It's the gimmick of having your main protagonist either sidetracked or caught in some trap. We're seeing it right now in BLEACH. Luffy freed himself from Monet's trap to stall/killl him, but only wound up in a deeper hole - literally. I don't think for a second he's going to be in there for long. I can understand why it's done. It prevents your readers from wondering what keeping him from showing up. It just feels a bit contrive at this point that you always have to shackle your lead down just to give the side characters more time to take the spotlight or for the hero's dramatic return to save the day.
I'm a bit undecided about the fight we get in this chapter between Trafalgar Law and Vergo. It's really short, but it has just enough give and take to keep my interest. Not to mention that we finally get a look at Law without his trademark puffy hat. That's bonus point material right there. Having Smoker coming in is almost validating one of my earlier suspicions about this arc. There are so many heroes with so few villains. It seems as if they are going to have to share baddies to fight in some unlikely tag teams.
It's surprising given how little actually happened in this chapter that it was so entertaining. It's built up of enough fun moments, action, or drama that it never feels flat. Each fight manages to have a good cliffhanger that makes me look forward to next week. Now that we're getting into the action. It feels as if the pacing is really hitting a steady stride. I just hope that things pick up while Luffy is down and out.