Armageddon Vol. #02 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: CPM Press
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 202
  • ISBN: 158664943-0
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Left to Right

Armageddon Vol. #02

By Eduardo M. Chavez     May 12, 2005
Release Date: January 12, 2005

Armageddon Vol.#02
© CPM Press

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Hyun Se Lee
Translated by:Jisu Kim and Chris Livaccari
Adapted by:

What They Say
The fate of the Earth Undecided!

HE-SUNG OH is a run-of-the-mill high school student determined to find out why he is the target of mysterious alien assassins. Helping him on his journey is MARI JANG, mysterious transfer student with strange powers. Together, these two students start to unravel the mysteries of the origin of sentiment life of Earth, a futuristic war between superhuman races, and He-Sung's role that will determine the future of the planet!

The action never stops in this latest chapter of Hyun Se Lee's millennia-spanning sci-fi epic!

The Review
CPM's cover art continues to remind me of Heavy Metal for some reason. Presented in a tall B6, oriented left-to-right (which is standard for manhwa), this volume has a color image of Mari Jang in full body armor, holding a sword above her head. She appears to be stuck inside the mouth of a giant something, and her outfit is showing a lot of skin. The image is a little disorienting but I like the eighties feel to it. The opposite cover has a piece of character art, a black and white action piece of He-Sung Oh in his futuristic battle suit positioned to the right of a long volume description.

Inside the printing is okay. This title does not use a lot of screen tone, so it is a little tough to tell, but the inking looks sharp and the alignment is great. CPM Press has also included a few minor extras. Besides a batch of ads - Nambul War Stories, the Sword of Shibito, Zzim and Masca - CPM included a short biography of Hyung Se Lee and character intros.

Lee-sensei's artwork reminds me of a few of my favorite mangaka. Tezuka Osamu comes to mind when looking at the facial expressions and cartoonish feel that these characters have when they are not acting hard. In close ups, I am reminded of Saitou Takawo's (Golgo 13) stoic faces and powerful but simple eyes. While neither falls into my taste, the designs are unique and make for an interesting look. Something that caught my eye was the unique use of different pen nibs he uses for shading and texture. It is really obvious on the lead characters hair, but in some fine detailing, it seriously makes his line work stand out. His lines give his characters a blocky look, and like in many Monkey Punch manga, the lack of heavy use of ink makes them look one-dimensional. His mecha designs are cheesy spoofs of Gundams, with each head available in the 80's present.

Lee's solid art also shows on the backgrounds and layout for this title. Background art often very detailed. With this being a sci-fi title, getting to know Lee’s unique world and how it will play in the story is important. Lee-sensei does a good job presenting the dark world his characters are in. The layout gives readers good sense of perspective and actually is active in the mystery by occasionally making scenes look a little misleading. At times, especially in the futuristic scenes, his art resembles Matsumoto Leiji works (similar mechanical designs for space fleets and their engine structures). Then there are moments when the ships themselves look as if they came out of a Star Trek film. Overall, it is really effective work.

SFX are all translated with subs. The retouch is pretty good, but I have to also say that Lee does not use a lot of SFX either so that might have helped as well. CPM uses subs that are about the same size as the original SFX so in some scenes, they could be covering up art, but CPM avoided that in most of their panels. The translation really reads well. It continues to be one of the better translations I have read from CPM recently. I do not have the original to compare with (and I do not know how to read Korean) but the story flowed well and really kept me caught up in the story.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Up to 6.5 million years ago, Project Delta was going according to plan. Dinosaurs had become the dominant life form on Earth, and they were poised to eventually rule this planet much like humans would millions of years later. However, light-years away a tragedy would occur that would end the age of the dinosaurs prematurely, opening the era of the mammal that has lasted ever since. Project Delta was not abandoned though, it was just changed and the time for it to start up anew will begin when we meet He-Sung Oh.

The evolution of mammals took millions of years to get to point where mankind would dominate the planet. In a matter of thousands of years, humanity's curiosity would bring forth advances in math and science. The mysteries of the universe were quickly being solved. The people of Mu and Atlantis had developed in similar yet separate ways. They used their achievements to create great civilizations, however their science was also the reason they destroyed each other. Power had corrupted these two civilizations, and their war pushed the development of humanity back years.

From what was left of these two continents came two other groups of people. One is the humanity we all know. We are the children of this group and we believe we are the most advanced society on Earth. We have fought wars, lived through plagues and survived natural disasters. Our science is developing at a rapid rate as well. Nevertheless, our science has yet to inform us that there is another group of humans that are leaps ahead of us are sharing this planet with us.

The people of ELKA are the direct descendents of the peace loving Mu. When their continent was destroyed ages ago, some of the Mu escaped to Antarctica and they created their new world isolated under the ice and water. They stayed there alone developing their own world with a collective soul nurturing science for peace. ELKA have watched over the rest of Earth for millennia but the time for them come out is now. They have risked their peace to defend the planet and to call upon help of a young man - an under-average Korean teen, He-Sung Ho.

An under-average teen that has seen this and more in his dreams!

If one were to consider all of the wars and disasters that have occurred in the past and all of the tragedies that still happen everyday, it is logical to expect the same in the future. Lee-sensei is aware of this, so he does not sugarcoat the cruelty of humanity at all. He goes to the legends of the past and writes about a species that almost destroyed itself. He writes about a society based on class with priorities towards personal gain and appearances. His future is hopeful, but even that is threatened. To Lee the future is dependent on the actions of the present. Even those whom we might consider insignificant can contribute in great ways. It makes a sense that history is much more than the people we see in the history books, it is equally about everyone (some stories are just not told and Lee is taking time to give some average person a chance to be a hero).

Tough to recommend a title that might be cancelled, but Armageddon was setting up to be a sci-fi keeper. I am always surprised by how Lee-sensei is able to adapt to every genre. He can do crime drama, fantasy or sci-fi without much effort. Corny cheesy humor, interesting detailed background, practical mechanical designs and complex characters. The time-space theory the story works off is fun, but needs to be fleshed out some more. But looking for problems just proves how much fun this title was so far. Lets hope CPM is able to come back and finish this series off.


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