Saturday, May 19, 2012

Manhwa Review: Ark Angels

Originally I wanted to have a post about the comics avaliable on Free Comic Book Day but decided that since A) it was already over a week later and B) I still can't figure out where the print copies I got went (I just had to move all my stuff again and it seems like those comics are what got lost this time) so it seemed a bit pointless. I will say however that I was pretty disappointed with the two I had to get online (my comic book store, which is now tiny, out of the way, and has absolutely nothing I want to buy, didn't have copies of them), Infernal Devices and Finding Gossameyer were both completely underwhelming, although when you only have FOUR pages it's kinda hard to make a good impression (I can't remember the last time the first four pages of a comic really made me want to read the rest, stuff like this and the JManga previews confuse me greatly). So instead you get the next installment in "random manhwa found at my library" and it's spelled correctly this time too!


Ark Angels by Sang-Sun Park

Summary: Shem, Hamu, and Japheth are three sisters who, when filling in for their father at a conference to discuss Earth’s future, were given the task to travel through time and save endangered animals (seen through their eyes as anthropomorphized animals) and turn back Earth’s doomsday clock. When not traveling they’ve transferred to a new school and one of Japheth’s classmates may not be what they seem…..

The Good: The three sisters were a bit more rounded than I expected, especially the main character Japheth, and there was just enough intrigue to keep me interested. The chapters that focused on rare animals dragged a bit but overall the volume was well-paced and I was curious enough that if I came across another volume I’d try it out as well, although not so curious I plan on actively seeking it out. It does seem to be completely published in the US and only runs three volumes and oddly enough that short length does make me more willing to read more of it, although it makes me wonder how basic the plot will become (or if it will stay as basic as it is) with such a short length.

The Bad: This manhaw reminds me an awful lot of Petshop of Horrors and, as I mentioned before, maybe if I hadn’t read so much of PoH first then I might have liked this better*. I doubt it though, PoH was interesting, could tell the same basic story over and over again before it lost it's luster, and had a polish that this series simply doesn't have. In the end I'd recommend Petshop of Horrors over this story and can't think of any situation where I would recommend this story at all.

The Art: The art feels rather standard and, well, exactly what you would expect for a series featuring anthropomorphized animals aimed at a female audience. I really liked the illustration on the cover with the soft watercolors and I wish the art had looked a little more like that (it wouldn’t have worked in watercolors the way it is, the panels are just too full and almost cluttered, but I can almost see it looking something like DOOR: ToiletGenie if the art had been tweaked some). As I find myself saying so often these days, nothing wrong with the art but I’ve just seen so much that looks like this that I want something a bit different.


Stronger than last week's title but still nothing worth writing home about. I do feel rather bad that it seems like I don't like manhwa at all but rather I just don't run across many titles that I like which makes me think that manhwa is very much like manga, there's a lot out there but not a lot that anyone person is going to like. Of course, if ones that nobody likes get published and nobody likes them then the publishing companies won't keep licensing them, a chicken and egg situation...



*on a funny note, this was an older Tokyopop release which had recommendations on other series by the editors including one for the author’s other series, Tarot Card CafĂ©, where the editor compared that to Petshop of Horrors, I guess that one had the shop part and this one had the magical animals part?

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