Priest Vol. #06 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, May 27, 2005
Release Date: Thursday, May 01, 2003
Translated by:Jessica Kim
What They Say
Belial Gabarre thought his faith was unbreakable. He was wrong. Everyone has a breaking point. When an agent of Temozarela corrupts Belial's own son, he loses faith, but rather than join Temozarela, he gives his soul to the Lord of Darkness himself in order to fight Temozarela. Belial creates Domas Poradas, a prison in which he binds himself and Temozarela for eternity - or so he hoped. Hundreds of years later Domas Poradas is discovered ... and a Pandora's box is opened in America's Old West.
Once again, another great Tokyopop original for this cover, which features a demonic-looking Ivan Isaacs praying in front of some sort of occult artifact. The logo is similar to the Korean version, although more refined, along the top of the cover. The back cover features an illustration of a vortex opening up high above the castle of St. Vertinez. The summary is written in a font that adds to the whole occult/gothic feel of the book. Great looking packaging and very appropriate for the series.
A couple interesting extras to note this time. There is an introduction this time done by Mike Carey, writer for Hellblazer and Lucifer. He offers some really great commentary on the story so far and really drives home why he loves this story. In the back of the book is a 10 page preview of another manwha from Tokyopop, King of Hell.
If you haven’t noticed yet, Min-Woo Hyung’s artwork and panel layouts are very cinematic. His panels feel bigger than the page they are printed on, giving the reader the feeling that this isn’t a book but rather a movie being played on a large screen. So far this cinematic feeling has mostly been with his action sequences. With this volume, I really liked seeing the same feeling being applied to the more horror and emotional moments that had no action at all. Very captivating stuff.
The one minor complaint I have with this volume is that I noticed that there were a lot of blank character artwork, nothing but an outline and white filling. It feels as though this is being passed off as a style or effect, but I found it to be more distracting as it was a little overused.
The SFX are left untouched and not translated. The SFX are very minimal and are so much a part of the artwork that I’m glad they are left as is. I never really felt like I need a translation, so the lack of English text was not a bother. I also really like the look of the Korean text in the scenes, so I’m glad they remain intact.
The dialogue is translated wonderfully, as it feels very rich and detailed. It is pretty heavy material, and it comes across without confusion and flows perfectly. The flow of story is very much wrapped up in mystery and is meant to keep the reader guessing from page to page, and the dialogue matches the intent. There is also some instances where Betheal and Ivan are speaking some undecipherable language that looks like Arabic, and it is kept intact. I did notice at least one grammar error where “IT” was supposed to be “IS”.
Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
For those of you looking for a break to catch your breath after the events that ended in volume 5, you better make it quick, because this volume of Priest will sock you right in the gut. Betheal has had his faith in God shattered, after God was unable to stop Temozarela from taking away the one thing in his life that he treasured. This all happened according to Temozarela’s plans, and now he asks Betheal to become the 12th disciple and complete the Circle of Sabbath. Betheal does accept his fate, but makes it known that he will now use his new found powers to not only spite God but also take his revenge on Temozarela. Betheal turns to the books on the heretics he once exterminated and comes across an ancient Belakian creation called Domas Poradas, where by binding his own soul, and becoming the devil Belial, to the tomb with Temozarela trapped inside, they both will be never heard from again.
At this point the story jumps back into the time where Ivan is explaining this story to the other priests of St. Vertinez. The revelation of this religious bomb has them rattled and they immediately want to confer with the Vatican on the matter. However, it seems as though Temozarela has had his plan set and in motion for a while now, and is currently using Father Piestro in order to keep driving Ivan into opening Domas Poradas. The conspiracy continues to build into the ultimate climax, where we find out the story behind Ivan’s thirst for revenge. By now we all know it dealt with Gena, but how this horrific story goes down is quite shocking and breathtaking. I could feel Ivan’s pain and now completely understand his state of mind from the first few books. The scene is pulled of with such cinematic grace and jaw-dropping visuals, that no matter how many times I read this sequence, it still leaves me huddled up on the floor writhing in agony along with Ivan.
While Ivan hasn’t fully transformed into his undead, reborn self yet, the background story has finally been filled in and I am amazed at this point in where this story has taken me. Ivan has been transformed from the undead, action hero in earlier volumes into a sympathetic, tragic, anti-hero. Belial is no longer the mysterious, faceless devil controlling Ivan, but another human who had his faith shattered and is also another tragic character. Temozarela is still a lunatic, but at least now his motivations are clear. The strong characterizations and time spent to flush out these three characters now has me completely wrapped up in this story.
Mike Carey’s introduction at the beginning of this volume really nails home at why Priest has become on of my all time favorite stories. Priest has gone from an over-the-top, cinematic action comic into a multi-layered fascinating story featuring tragic characters with real depth and flaws, all while offering intellectual discourse. The climax of Ivan’s background story is pulled off masterfully, as I knew from previous volumes what his source of vengeance was, but seeing it happen completely devastated me.
Now with the backgrounds of Ivan, Belial, and Temozarela flushed out, it makes this grand, epic battle between these three even more enjoyable. This volume is the pay off so far in the Priest series, elevating the story into something special. Fantastic reading here.
Mania Grade: A+
Art Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translatin Rating: A-
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Orientation: Left to Right