July 25, 2011
YoungBin Kim / Hyun You – Yen Press – 2011 – 6 volumes
Hmm. On one hand, the story here made sense. Why Laon wasn’t collecting the rest of her tails herself, what happened to Young-You, and what all the other supernatural stuff was.
On the other hand, it was really condensed. The main “villain” for the series, Mago, is introduced and not explained very well, after not even having her name uttered once. The men behind the cult… their cause makes sense, and what they do makes sense, but to have all of that come up at once is a little much. It turns out that “order” and “chaos” have a lot to do with what’s been going on with the series, but as interesting as that is, it’s only sort of mentioned in passing as a label, and not really explained any further. That could’ve been very interesting.
But it’s not the most blatantly abridged story I’ve ever read. It probably would’ve done well with one, maybe two more volumes, but probably not more than that.
While the condensed story is a little hard to follow at first, it wasn’t bad. In fact, as I was reading it, yes, everything made a wonderful sort of sense, and it was a nice and truly epic conclusion to this series. Laon is a deity of sorts. The hwan are misunderstood. In a bizarrely surreal scene, Laon gets blown up to giant size and sits in the middle of downtown Seoul while the cult furthers their intentions.
The “order” and “chaos” affiliations, and what would’ve happened had everyone got what they wanted, were truly interesting. The way the story is told makes the “order” characters out to be the bad guys, but on the other hand, what the “good” guys want in this situation will destroy the world. As I said, the labels were quite interesting, and I do wish that there had been another volume or so to explore further.
The artwork stays fairly remarkable all the way through the end. The heavy outlines, high contrast, interesting character designs, and generally creepy way everything is drawn once again lend themselves to the dark conclusion. Someone in the comments mentioned that the artist drew the Tokyopop series Faeries’ Landing, and I was a big enough fan of the artwork here that I am finally going to check that series out. I’m so happy there’s more work available in English.
I don’t want to say too much more in order not to spoil it. The ending was good, though. While I did love the story and wonderful artwork, it’s probably not a series that will appeal to a lot of people outside the action genre. As big a fan as I am of stories based in folklore, this also isn’t really a series that can be enjoyed for its use of the nine-and-ten-tailed fox legends, since a lot of it reads more like boys’ comic action stuff written for the benefit of the series rather than real folklore. But it was a nice, quick read, and I was very satisfied with what it was. It was dark and demented in just the right ways, and it’s hard not to appreciate all the slightly weird touches it adds to everything. Plus, we really don’t get to see too many Korean boys’ comics in English, and I love it as an example of that.
This was a review copy provided by Yen Press.