Hard Boiled Angel Vol. #03 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: CPM Press
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 352
  • ISBN: 158664948-5
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Left to Right

Hard Boiled Angel Vol. #03

By Eduardo M. Chavez     August 10, 2005
Release Date: December 01, 2004

Hard Boiled Angel Vol.#03
© CPM Press

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Hyung Se Lee
Translated by:Huimahn Alex Choi & Soomin Lee
Adapted by:

What They Say

Detective Jiran Ha is hot on the trail of two serial murderers imbued with superhuman abilities. In order to stop them, she must find a way to mimic their abilities, but when the killers' motives come into question, she must choose between doing her duty and helping them on their quest of ridding the world of criminals.

The Review
According to HyungSe Lee, crime used to come in one color, now as humanity advances in different ways through science and a shrinking globalized society crime comes in many shades and some are not easy to label.

CPM's packaging is pretty good. They have packaged this title in a tall B6, oriented left-to-right (which is standard for manhwa). On the front cover there is a color image of the main character Ha JiRan with her bossums wrapped in bandages. The image is on a navy and orange background with a silohette of a person being shot behind her. The opposite cover features the orange silhouette of a fistfight placed above three violent panel images. Pretty interesting design.

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 nice extras. Besides their usual character intros and a short biography of Lee Hyung-se. There are also a few ads for the Nambul War Stories, Mythology of War and Armageddon.

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 fall into my taste, the designs are pretty unique and make for an interesting look especially for such a serious crime drama.

Lee's solid art also shows on the backgrounds and layout for this title. The background is often very detailed. With this being a crime manga getting to know the scene and how it will play in the story is important and 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. Really effective work.

SFX are all translated with subs. The retouch is pretty good, but I have to also say that Lee doesn't 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 don't read Korean) but the story flowed well and really kept me caught up in the story. I was a little disappointed that they decided to use Dollars instead of Won as the currency for this series, as it takes away some of the credibility to their translation.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Are people who murder in self-defense committing a crime? Should people who have no control over their actions be guilty if they do questionable acts? Are those who take justice into their own hands guilty if they are just doing what the justice system would do anyway? And what if you are the one committing these crimes and you know all you have done is wrong, but you know you have no choice? Do you stop or give in? The choice is not as simple as you might think.

The "criminals" in this story never had a choice.

Jong Woo Boo and Sang Sol Noh lost their ability to choose at the start of this volume. They really had no idea that would be the case. They lost control of their will in an instant, before they truly understood what they were getting into. Then from the point when they realized that happened, they have been testing the power will (or lack thereof). Their lives once moved by their uncontrollable needs are now motivated by their fears. Their fear of death, their fear of the loss of their manhood, their fear of being caught and the fear of what they have become as puppets is digging their graves with every new crime they commit. Yet they know they cannot stop under their own power. They do not have that luxury. Therefore, despite all of their fears and their awareness, they must continue to defy what they know is law.

Does that make them above the law?

Every move these two make is directly related to either planning a crime or committing a crime, but their survival depends on all of this. They obviously cannot go to the police, because what they have done already is criminal, moreover what they are going through is beyond belief. What court would listen to their case? Is there a jury that would believe known criminals under these circumstances? Is there any one that would not have these two pay equally for the crimes they committed?

Jiran Ha wishes to be their judge, jury and executioner. She would pardon them in all cases. But her time to rescue these men is limited. With every new crime in their spree the chance for survival decreases.

Wow just wow. Lee tests his readers' concepts of justice by creating a story so extreme it is unbelievable. At the same time, Lee understands that under the circumstances, if they were to ever come true, the law is not always perfect. It is blind at times, but there are times when it comes with prejudice or under the pressure of society and its moral beliefs. However, who is to determine what is wrong or right at times like these?

The "criminals" in this story knew what they were doing and they knew what they were doing was wrong. They knew they would either hang or die completing what they had to do. They simply had no choice.

In the eyes of the public, the eyes clouded by the anger over what was committed and clouded by fear of knowing people capable of committing such offenses are on the streets, they were guilty from the start. Anything outside of the fullest possible punishment for these crimes nothing would appease them. To the public, for the justice system to even allow this to occur was a crime on its own, therefore those accused had no chance before.

The justice system has its own perspective. It is supposed to be always blind. Its rulings might not always be correct, but they are to judge based on the facts they collect and not based on assumptions. Unfortunately, they are supported by the pubic. Yet those who follow the ideals of what justice is ideally based on might appear to be above the law.

Nothing is black or white and I guess this is another extension of what Lee-sensei calls the changing color of crime. What was once white is now blue, yellow, green or gray. Nothing is simple anymore and as the world becomes more complicated every story that can be told can be shared in different ways from different perspectives – good or bad, right or wrong and places in between. Moreover, Lee tries to put the readers into the story by having them make their decisions along the way. Guilty or not – it is up to the readers as well for they are now witnesses. Will they make the right choice? That is up to the reader to decide. The answer does not matter, getting there is what is important.

Great stuff, but too bad that CPM Press has not released a volume since the start of the year.


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