Peigenz Vol. #01A (Mania.com)
By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Friday, September 24, 2004
Release Date: Thursday, July 01, 2004
Writer/Artist:Suh Gwong-hyun/Park Sung-woo
Translated by:Je-wa Jeong
What They Say
Jay Berell is the typical shy high school girl, daydreaming about her perfect man when all of a sudden her world is turned upside down by an encounter with evil. A mysterious group of people known as Peigenz save her and she finds herself inducted into the organization as one of its members. Join Jay as she rediscovers herself and learns that she is a gifted marksman among other things. What is Peigenz? Where do her powers come from? Who are the people who attacked her? Find out in Peigenz Volume 1!
The packaging for this series is pretty simple but still nice not much has changed from the first printing but it was already a sharp looking title. ComicsOne and Infinity Studios present this in a B6, in left-to-right format. The front cover has main character Jay Berell ready for action - gun and shoes in hand (??) - on a picture of New York City. The image is a little misleading since Jay has yet to have worn that outfit, and worse, never goes into action with her shoes off (I'll go into more detail about that later.) The opposite cover has a random image of a super-deformed character, lord knows whom, giving the peace sign. Very strange.
I have seen three different logos for this title around the net. The first is in Korean, while the other two were in English. One has the title spelled "Pagans" in what appears to be cutout lettering, the other, which is on this cover, is spelled Peigenz in verdana font. Really simple but I guess the weird spelling makes it cool. The printing is pretty good. If I were to compare it with other ComicsOne titles, it is definitely better than most.
The printing quality has improved from the first pressing, which is surprising as the first press was pretty good looking already. There are no extras, but there is a description for volume two (which for some reason has the lead male's name as "Feilong" instead of Pairon. Don't know why this was not fixed.) followed by ads for: Maniac Road and ComicsOne.com.
I love Park-sensei's art. Long sharp lines with sometimes have a slightly sketchy feel. Park tends to keep main characters really simple, no striking features or intricate costumes. While Park's supporting cast will often have great detail in their facial expressions and physical characteristics. Park also does a good job transitioning characters to SD. The characters keep a general look while their faces mainly bug out into cute or funny expressions. One thing that I noticed was Park's obsession with bare feet. In NOW Park's characters are often barefoot or randomly taking their shoes off, expect more of the same here actually for some reason Jay even has her shoes in her hand on the cover for some reason.
With all the action, Park often ends up ignoring background art in most of panels. Unfortunately, with the setting being so important to this series I found that really frustrating. The layout on the other hand is pretty fancy and keeps up the action very well.
The translation reads much improved from the first volume. Issues with typos and syntax that were present in the first volume have been taken care of and names appear to finally found some consistency.
SFX are really nice. SFX are subbed with translations that are smaller than the original to preserve Park's nice art. With all of the action in this series, seeing small subs is a perfect way to keep readers into the art and not frustrated by clutter.
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Life has been tough for Jay Berrell. Recently she has been spending her free time in a hospital bed with a broken leg, while her friends have fun in high school. Instead of trying for records on the track, she wishes for the day when her cast comes off. Instead of dating or hanging out with her friends, she gets to see people living freely from her window and she gets to see her best friend fall in love with the guy she had a crush on. If only someone out there were to take her out of this place, to a place where her daydreams could become reality. That may never happen to Jay in this town. In the New York City of today, dreams are often nightmares and most people do not wish for nightmares to come true. But they seem to quite a bit in NOA. And they will for Jay today.
On July 7, 2001, the United States government created a new city in what was New York City. It was created to control the poor, the social outcasts, and the immigrants in a centralized location to suppress these populations passively. Unfortunately because of the tremendous population in the Necropolis of America (NOA) corporations, black market dealers and criminals flourished and the region has been in chaos as it has been considered the nation's waste dump. Crime and poverty is the norm in NOA, but recently there has been an influx of a new type of criminal. Within this suffering population emerged a new type of being; one that the government did not plan on containing in NOA. Humans with extraordinary abilities started to cause havoc using their strengths to take advantage of the lawlessness of the region. These mutants eventually began to organize into crime syndicates rendering the local public security forces useless. To counter this new threat a new law enforcement force was created - a mutant team called the Peigenz.
Today Jay will meet the Peigenz and she will experience the tremendous power of these mutants. On the surface they have no distinguishing features, unlike the famous mutants of stories like the X-men. Some of them would appear to be really nice and friendly, like her friends at school. However, like the rest of society there are good-natured mutants and then there are evil mutants who have decided to use their abilities against society. The Peigenz are a group that has decided to fight those who choose to do wrong. Their motives as individuals have not been explained, but as a group they have been very effective in the prevention further destruction and mayhem. But as Jay finds out, sometimes even if the Peigenz are protecting the peace they will to occasionally be as violent and cold as those they are sent to capture.
Religious leaders, politicos and mutants they are all present in Peigenz but for what reason I have no clue. After reading the first chapter, I thought this title was going to take on a religious feel. The title would start to make sense after seeing priests fighting within a church. Then the chapter came to an end and it started on a random tangent about politics and New York City. But then for a brief segment it went back to the religious theme before moving on to the introduction of the main cast and the early stages of a plot. Now that start could have been a plot device by Suh-sensei. It might be a flashback leading to something set up in the future, but the way it was presented only confused me. I am not sure if it was awkward foreshadowing, but there was a point where there appeared to be a character introduction but the character was later given a different name. The name of the organization she (I am assuming it is the same character from the introduction) joins is spelled differently, but is a homonym. More bad spelling or are these characters not one and the same. The whole start just got me off on the wrong foot, and after the "drama" Suh moves into strictly action. The action is very entertaining. It has a mixture of martial arts and urban street violence and with the setting being New York characters are of different backgrounds and races which I thought was better than some American works (film, TV...). The mutant element really spiced up the fighting techniques, as characters had unique defenses and abilities - bullet proof skin, increased speed, supernatural weaponry... - raised the tension up a bit and made the action scenes fantastic as well as exciting.
As the first title from Infinity Studios, Peigenz is a pretty safe choice. Park Sung-woo's art is pretty nice and with NOW having a good following choosing this title should be an easy choice. Unfortunately, this title is suffering from poor direction and writing. If this title where only an action title, I would have enjoyed it more, but with every little attempted plot device I was left disappointed and confused. With this being the first volume of this series there is plenty of time for this series to develop, and with the fun cast and concept this series could become one of the better action titles out there. Right now I will have to settle with fun action, great art and awkward drama. Two out of three is not bad.
Mania Grade: C+
Art Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Infinity Studios LLC
Orientation: Right to Left