Priest Vol. #02 (Mania.com)

By:Jarred Pine
Review Date: Thursday, March 17, 2005
Release Date: Sunday, September 01, 2002



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Min-Woo Hyung
Translated by:Seung-Ah Lee
Adapted by:

What They Say
Welcome to Saint Baldlas. Population: dwindling. This frontier town is one of the 12 sacred sites that seal the fallen archangel Temozarela in darkness. Now the seal is about to be broken. Demonic preacher Jarbilong has made Saint Baldlas his home, and has desecrated the land and poisoned the citizens in preparation for his master's return. The only man who has the power to stop him is Ivan Isaacs, a priest who sold his soul to the devil Belial for the power to fight Temozarela. When Ivan comes to town at high noon, heads will roll.



The Review
Packaging:
The cover is an original piece of artwork from Tokyopop which is quite impressive. The artwork is a haunting illustration of Ivan, strangling the Giger-esque looking Jarbilong all while being caressed by a ghostly image of Gina. This cover looks much better than the original release and is an appropriate depiction of the contents of this volume. The logo is similar to the Korean version, just a bit more refined and of different color, along the top of the cover. The back cover features a beautiful illustration of a burning St. Baldlas with a background image of the Circle of the Unholy Sabbath. The summary is written in a font that adds to the whole occult/gothic feel of the book.

The print job is of excellent quality, especially when considering the large amount of dark tones. There is no fading or bleeding. The volume header features the Circle of the Unholy Sabbath and there are chapter headers featuring character artwork. There are no extras. A solid packaging job by Tokyopop again.

Art:
Hyung’s artwork continues to be very refreshing and fantastic. The sketchy designs add a sense of realism to the characters while giving them the gritty and raw feel that fits the story and setting perfectly. There is a lot of detail put into each design that makes the characters stand out on their own.

The panel work and action art continues to be breathtaking. The action scenes are violent and completely engrossing. The way Hyung plans out each action scene is clear and concise allowing me to hear and feel all the elements.

Text/SFX:
The adaptation and translation team for Tokyopop continue to really impress me in this volume. The dialogue is really rich and filled with Biblical rhetoric, Latin prayers, and a strange unknown language spoken by Ivan during his spell incantation scene with a voodoo doll. I can’t imagine this would be an easy title to translate. I also really like the different font styles used for Ivan, Belial, and Jarbilong. In a world where humans are possessed by devils or some other beings, it helps separate just who is speaking and makes the scene that much easier to understand.

The SFX are left untouched and not translated. There’s not a lot of SFX so I never really felt that I was needing a translation and I’m glad they left the SFX untouched since it really helps convey Hyung’s artistic style. There was one spelling error as “better” was spelled “batter”.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
We pick up once again in the same spot as the beginning of volume 1, with Ivan walking into St. Baldlas to take on the 11th disciple of Temozarela, Jarbilong. The townspeople have been turned into the undead and follow the commands of Jarbilong, who is preparing the town for a bloodbath in order to fulfill the orders sent out by Temozarela. Ivan tries to stop this from happening by shooting and slicing every undead soldier that gets in his way, and he won’t stop until Jarbilong is dead.

This part of the story is one that is hard to understand unless you are aware of future events and the history of this battle between Ivan and the Disciples of Temozarela. There is a lot of speech about some great epic war going on, but it opens up a whole barrel full of questions and doesn’t give many answers. Without any background information, this really just feels like a battle that is drug out a bit further than it needs to be. However, this battle is quite an important event, even if it is not apparent reading it the first time through.

This volume does succeed in setting the stage for the reader in getting a grasp on how violent, dark, and desolate the world of Priest is. In fact, while reading this I felt much like Lizzie, who is watching all the events unfold in front of her eyes while she sits on the sidelines. She is confused but strangely engrossed, unable to really grasp what’s going but understands the horrifying gravity of the situation. She can’t help but sit still and watch the beginning of this epic battle unfold.

Comments
Hyung takes a risk with this volume of Priest as he places his readers in the midst of an epic battle without any history or understanding of its purpose. Because of the lack of perspective, the events in this volume could possibly feel a bit long-winded to the uninformed reader. Hyung manages to keep my attention by conveying a sense of shock and awe with the intense action scenes and rich dialogue. I genuinely want to know the answers to the questions that are brought up, mostly due to the great character Ivan Isaacs. It is interesting to see Ivan Isaacs, who has no soul but fights for his free will, go up against another priest who is completely possessed and really has no free will at all. The action is fast and pretty violent, which seems to be the main selling point of this volume. Very recommended.



Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translatin Rating: A-
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 176
ISBN: 1-59182-009-X
Size: B6
Orientation: Left to Right