Ruler of the Land Vol. #02 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, July 22, 2004
Release Date: Saturday, May 01, 2004
Writer/Artist:(Story) Jeon Keuk-Jin (Art) Yang Jae-Hyun
Translated by:Jason An
What They Say
Bi-Kwang and Hwa-Rin are still on an expedition to find Hwa-Rin's grandfather, but their journey is interrupted when they are forced to fight Sang Pil "Gold Cobra" and his men for guardianship of the Sword of the Flowers. The two are outnumbered, and Sang Pil walks away the victor and possessor of the sword. Bi-Kwang and Hwa-Rin's journey now becomes a desperate pursuit of Sang Pil and the Sword of the Flowers.
It won't be easy, because Sang Pil is no longer their sole rival?another group is after the sword. Master Yoo, Sang Pil's superior and a man with more strength and intelligence than his young pupil, has enlisted the help of the Black Serpents, a gang that is sure to hold the sword before the end of this tale...
The Review: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Bi-Kwang Han is a swordsman and martial artist with an overactive libido, but not the common sense to actually score with the women. Hwa-Rin is a very beautiful young woman travelling in disguise as a man, as she searches for her missing grandfather, Geum-Hwang, the leader of the establishment faction. Hwa-Rin carries a sword called the Sword of Flowers which is more important to her than her own life. Master Yoo, a very handsome, powerful and manipulative man, has hired the powerful assassin Sang-Pil "Gold Cobra" Jin to retrieve the sword for him. He does so, but decides to keep it for himself for personal reasons. Surprisingly, considering his reputation as a murderer, they are honorable ones. Yoo is not surprised by Gold Cobra's treachery, and hires the beautiful Shi-Yun, leader of the Black Serpents, to kill the Gold Cobra for him. It turns out she has a history with Gold cobra that goes back ten years, and she is only too happy to take on the job. Meanwhile, Bi-Kwang and Hwa-Rin, both having been severely injured when the Sword of Flowers was taken from them, attempt to strike a deal with Gold Cobra that will get them through Master Yoo's tightening circle of fighters.
The second volume continues where the first left off, with more fighting. More time is spent with the characters, which helps to flesh them out a bit. Sang-Pil "Gold Cobra" Jin appears to be more than just a bloodthirsty killer, and his story makes the overall story stronger. The art is as compentent as the first volume, with strong black linework and fast-flowing fight scenes. Some of the character's expressions can be a little odd looking at times, though.
The front cover is an image of Bi-Kwang sitting, as Hwa-Rin stands behind him with her arm around his shoulder. The back cover has no text, instead having an image of Bi-Kwang and Hwa-Rin in winter robes, though Hwa-Rin's is open, revealing an impressive amount of skin. The sound effects are all translated into English and printed right next to the Korean sfx. The art reproduction is acceptable, with only a small amount of moiring in the screentones. There are no translator's notes this time, though there are two pages at the front of the book introducing the major characters and their relationship with each other.
The Ruler of the Land is solidly written and illustrated. The story has improved with the introduction of Sang-Pil Jin and Shi-Yun, and the action continues at a break-neck pace. Fans of martial-arts manwha should find this an enjoyable book.
Mania Grade: B-
Art Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: ADV Manga
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