Mythology of the Heavens Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: CPM Press
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 322
  • ISBN: 1-58664910-8
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Left to Right

Mythology of the Heavens Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     June 24, 2005
Release Date: January 01, 2005


Mythology of the Heavens Vol.#01
© CPM Press


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Hyun-Se Lee
Translated by:HuiMan Alex Choi and Soomin Lee
Adapted by:

What They Say
God created man... and that's when the trouble started.

Life is hard in the forests and mountains of the ancient world. Tribes of primordial humans make war with each other, and violence of all kinds is how the strong survive. The Land of Chin is a prosperous, wealthy country, but with success comes corruption.

When SOJEON visits the GODDESS TAEMO to beg for power, she prophesizes his death at the hands of his son. A murderous rampage follows, a SoJeon murders his many children in a violent bloodbath. However, one son miraculously survives, and is taken under the wing of a bizarre human/wolf hybrid named BANGO, how has his own blueprint for how to raise the unfortunate child.

The ERA of CONFLICT is upon us!

The Review
Packaging:
CPM's packaging is pretty good. They have packaged this title in a wideban tall B6, oriented left-to-right (which is standard for manhwa). On the front cover there is a image a child sitting on a pile of skulls. The image looks pretty ominous with its heavy shading and creepy yellow eyes. The opposite cover features a black and white image of Bango and his adopted sun sitting together to the right of the volume description. 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, there are also a few ads for the Nambul War Stories, Armageddon and Black Jack.

Artwork:
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.

Lee's solid art also shows on the backgrounds and layout for this title. The background is often very detailed. With this being historical fantasy getting to know the landscape and scenery and how the culture in this story lives in it 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 drama by occasionally making scenes look a little misleading. Really effective work.

SFX/Text:
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 kinda wish they had some translation notes though, for this story is filled with details on tribes and old legend. If they could have had notes on these tribes or the origins of these stories, I would have found this series even easier to read.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Since the beginning of time, there have always been two worlds on Earth - Heaven and humanity. While humanity constantly destroyed itself through greed, lust and envy, the heavens watched all of this grateful of their position above humanity and its problems. Those in the heavens have always known they were given the luxury to live in relative peace and freedom. They have long forgotten how blessed they have been to be the benefactors of a social class structure. This era might be coming to an end and if that were to happen, the future of mankind will be in danger.

Amongst the tribes of ancient humanity people suffer. They struggle to grow crops. They need to hunt. They must defend themselves against other tribes looking for power, wealth and resources. The lives of most are hard. People do not take much for granted and believe that everything has a reason and extraordinary deeds will go rewarded. Some have taken this idea to mean they can kill, rape, pillage and plunder and still be rewarded on top of all of that. There are those who believe they will be rewarded for their wrongdoings as long the ends justify the means.

SoJeon saw his tribe be destroyed at the hands of those who were blessed with strength and resources. He saw that their power gave these men the ability expand their territory, their wealth and the ability to reproduce to maintain the numbers for their growing tribe. SoJeon sacrificed his own to prevent that from happening under his control. He took a chance to through away his humanity and take on the gods in order to be granted power in the present. The future is meaningless to him. He thought he could handle that when it comes. So when he thought he was finally blessed, he actually began the process that will lead to his own horrific destruction.

Comments
There are those who say those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it. Well in Lee's Mythology of the Heavens the past is chronically coming back to haunt the present. But as Lee knows humanity is not immune to concepts like lust, greed, gluttony and envy. The characters in his manhwa are simply human and even if they know better their downfalls will eventually come back against them. Everyone, from human to god suffers. The results vary, obviously. To the poor the luxurious lives of the rich seem to be much better than theirs. At the same time, even the rich is not free of their problems. Even the gods who are propped up by life itself can be betrayed by those who are willing to lose anything for power, greed, lust.... Those who wish to be like gods themselves can destroy the reason to have gods at all, destroying a balance that has existed since the beginning of life itself.

Lee-sensei tries to show the downfalls of humanity that has been repeated throughout the ages. I have to say I was rather confused about where he was going with this considering how he started off with ancient Egypt before moving to China and Eastern Asia. There are parallels don’t get me wrong and the way he mixes in how pyramids like mountains can symbolize places that get humanity closer to the heavens. Heh! At the same time it moves on to interesting mythology that is actually quite universal. I wonder if Lee thought about modern times much when creating this story because this is relevant to the time when this was written and even more so now.

If I have any qualms about MotH it has to be that the manga is not very memorable right now. The start is all over the place, covering too much history in too little time. Once we do meet members of the cast, they just keep on coming. New tribes, new characters, new subplots and not much gets much attention. I get the impression that this will all eventually come together for something grand in scope, but right now I was slightly lost and not too enthusiastic. There was too much work to get every detail and that is great but it is not what I really want from my manga right now. Hopefully, that will be resolved soon. Hopefully, CPM can resolve their manga problems soon, as well.

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