The Brothers Elric move to the Unforgiving North!
Edward and Alphonse Elric have discovered that the ruler of the country and military is actually a homunculus, and plans to aid the others in a plot to use the entire country's population to create the ultimate philosopher's stone, though their plot might be even more sinister than that. The dark forces that be need Ed and Al alive, so they allow them to continue searching for a way to restore their bodies. Ed realizes that the only hope to combat their powerful enemies lies in the alchemy of the country of Xing, and the only person they know who can perform it has moved North with the homicidal Scar. The brothers follow their trail, where they encounter the harsh weather and military of the Northern forces.
This volume was a bit more of afterthought to what had happened in Volume 15. There's some action strewn throughout, but most of it just spews back what had happened in the past few volumes of the manga. It is interesting to see more of the fictional country of Amestris, as well as the different cultures of the military and where it's stationed. The development of Scar as a character with more motive and drive is also reassuring that the series end is well worth it.
The artwork, as always, is engaging and fast paced. When there is action in this volume, you can feel it on the page and in your chest, your eyes darting from panel to panel.
So far the series hasn't completely teetered off since I started it, and I am aware that I joined the FMA party a bit late. But, as they say, better late than never.