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Attack on Titan, vol. 17, Hajime Isayama. Grade: B
Mikasa and Connie pull Eren out of the giant husk, and show the boy that he's finally been able to create a husk that doesn't dissipate when he discards it. The husk held up the ceiling and saved the rest of the team. But, Rod Reiss, as the super slug, has escaped to the surface and is on a beeline to the city wall. Everything else in the carry case was destroyed. As the team talks to him, Eren is shown to have the same lines on his face that Frieda did as the holder of Coordinate. The team gets to the cart carrying Hange. Zoe is in bad shape with his shoulder wound, but is still able to make plans. Historia mentions that it's her thoughts that Frieda had only wanted to protect her own family, while Grisha wanted to use the giants' powers to save the rest of mankind. That can't have been such a bad thing. Eren tries to use Coordinate to command the slug to stop, but it doesn't work. Additionally, Slug is at least twice the size of Gatekicker and is emitting so much heat and steam as to make it unapproachable.
(Eren makes a hardened husk.)
Refugees are allowed into the inner city walls in part as bait for Slug, in case it breaches the second wall. Soldiers and cannons are lined up at the top of the wall, and the battle begins. The cannon balls do hit Slug, but none of them reach the back of its neck where they would do actual permanent damage. Historia joins the team on the wall, saying that the city isn't going to accept a mere passive leader. Erwin starts phase two, which consists of mounting grappling guns to wheeled carts packed with explosives. Slug reaches the wall and stands up, triggering a panic among the citizens. Eren turns into Toothy. Slug props itself up against the wall with its hands. The carts are launched at Slug, blowing up both wrists. It's "face" is brought down to wall top level, and Toothy shoves a big net holding more explosives into its "mouth". That explodes and launches the critical part of Rod Reiss into the air. The Special team uses their grappling hooks and jetpacks to chase after the lump, but it's Historia that delivers the killing blow, triggering another explosion. She lands safely on a cart filled with supplies, then stands up and announces to the bystanders that she is Historia Reiss, the true queen of the city.
(Slug crawls to the city walls.)
The scene changes to a flashback when Wally, Rod's older brother, had turned into a rogue giant to capture the mass killer Kenny "the Knife" Ackerman. Wally decides to spare Kenny's life in return for becoming his bodyguard/hitman. Kenny became a member of the city's council, and in his free time tracked his younger sister, Keshel, to a brothel in one of the underground towns. She'd died of disease a couple days earlier, leaving a very emaciated child behind, named "Levi, just Levi". Kenny allowed Levi to follow him around as he did his dirty work, and the child grew stronger and became extremely good with a knife himself. In their world, only the strong survive, and both of them were strong. Eventually, Wally got old and Frieda ate him to take over the family legacy. Kenny became the leader of his own dirty jobs police squad, gaining followers that believed in his tactics. Now, Kenny is sitting at the edge of the forest close to the Reiss church, dying from his injuries and severe burns received from Slug. He wonders what Wally would say to him now. Levi finds his uncle, who gives him the syringe kit he'd stolen from Rod's carry case. Levi wants answers about the Ackerman bloodline, and about why Kenny had saved him, but it's too late because the old man is dead now. (Kenny does say that Levi's mother was simply his younger sister.)
(Kenny locates Keshel, and finds her only child starving to death in a corner.)
Historia is crowned Queen, and the city accepts her. Later, she and the Special team go out to a farm, where they're abused by a bunch of spoiled children. Historia asks if Eren really wants to kill Reiner and Bertolt that badly, and he says that there's just no other choice but to kill them. Mikasa comes up, angry at how friendly Historia has gotten with Eren and disrupts the conversation. The city starts returning to normal, with Levi and Erwin helping Historia plan up a government. Eren, meanwhile, uses his "harden" powers to create a shell at the hole of one wall that can be used as part of a pile driver weapon. One of the Scouts stands in the hole to lure giants in one at a time, and the pile driver is dropped on the back of its neck to kill it permanently. It's the perfect weapon - wiping out giants with no danger at all to the human operators.
(All Hail Queen whatsername!)
The new city leaders discuss what to do with the spare syringe kit, questioning whether they can trust anyone that could possibly use it to turn themselves into an uncontrollable rogue, and Levi says he'll guard it. His team is also to prepare for a trip to the building that Grisha used, to find out what Eren's key will unlock. In the barracks lunchroom, Eren realizes that there's someone he needs to talk to, to see if he can get some answers - the sadistic drill instructor Keith Shadis. Elsewhere, in part of the ruins near Wall Maria, the Simian rogue finishes pounding the Armor rogue into paste. Simian turns into a tall, sinewy, blond bearded guy with glasses. He tells Bertolt to care for Reiner, and that pretty soon they're going to go rescue Annie.
Summary: Lots of exposition. We get backstory on Kenny and Levi, and how Kenny was recruited to work for Wally Reiss. Historia becomes the new queen, and the city begins its long-awaited housecleaning. Plus, we finally see the Simian rogue's human operator. This has to mean only one thing - there's more Carnage in the future.