Merchants of Death, Volume 8 of the Barefoot Gen series, is the weakest in the series, so far. New characters and plot points are thrown in at this late stage just to create new tension and it's really not necessary. I want resolution to the story that has been built up to this point. I'm not going to develop a heart for some conveniently-placed character thrown into the mix. I barely know enough about some of those who have made appearances in the last few volumes and I'd like to have their stories resolved before even thinking about anybody new. Not only are the new characters a distraction, but Volume 8 meanders quite a bit. The author seemingly was trying to address everything that happened in the years following the bombing and, for the sake of the story, some things were probably best omitted. Though I like this series overall, I can't think of anything that happened in this volume that was absolutely necessary.