Nambul: War Stories Vol. #02 -

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Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: CPM Press
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 280
  • ISBN: 158664944-2
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Left to Right

Nambul: War Stories Vol. #02

By Mike Dungan     December 01, 2004
Release Date: November 01, 2004

Nambul: War Stories Vol.#02
© CPM Press

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Hyun Se Lee
Translated by:Chul-Hyun Ahn
Adapted by:

What They Say
Nietzsche Lives, for God is Dead. Political tensions reach the boiling point as the first shots of world conflict are fired. The streets are filled with panic as Korean citizens are herded into camps and slaughtered. Alliances between neighboring countries are forged as the world readies itself for a massive clash. In the midst of the chaos, Hae-Sung becomes a fugitive from both the law and Yakuza after the high-profile political murder of a Japanese businessman. The only help he can get is from a friend on the police force, but will she do her job and turn him in?

The Review
The Review: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the Middle East in the midst of another Gulf War, the world is facing an oil shortage. Japan, which imports 99% of it's oil from the Middle East, is hard hit. An ambitious group of military officers and government officials decide to take over a portion of Indonesia in order to obtain the oil fields for Japan. Hideous crimes are committed and Japan goes to war to defend it's nationals in Indonesia. Other countries, including Korea, which legally operates the oil fields, go to war against Japan.

In the middle of this world stage is Hae-Sung. He's a Korean national born and raised in Japan. He's a violent gang-leader, and he's just been captured on film killing a Yakuza boss. His older brother is a successful and wealthy financial genius, married to a Japanese woman. Between the two of them is Uhmji. She too is a Korean national born and raised in Japan. Se was in love with Hae-Sung's brother, but rejected by him. Hae-Sung has always loved her, but was always the bad brother and could never do anything about it. Now that he's on the run from the law, he goes to her for help. The only problem is that she's a police woman, and she's now dating a Japanese police detective.

When the detective finds him, he has to escape and go on the run again. He manages to find a safe place with a few of his gang-members, but with the increasing anti-Korean hostility in Japan, it isn't long before Japanese gangs come for them.

Hyun Se Lee, one of the greats of Korean Manhwa, continues to explore the hostility that lies beneath the surface of Japanese-Korean relations. Lee deftly draws together political intrique and family drama to create a story that reads smoothly and all too quickly. There are some cliched characters used more as a plot device, which can leave the reader feeling a bit manipulated at times. The art is cartoonish with occassionally ugly character designs, as if Sergio Arragones was drawing Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy. However, they also seem surprisinly real. The use of heavy blacks and thick lines gives it a feel somewhat similar to Frank Miller.

The art reproduction is about on par for CPM. The art looks a bit too dark and some moiring of screentoning is evident. Although no editor or English adaptor is listed, the story reads smoothly without any awkwardness in dialogue. There is an author's foreward, as well as character profiles and a plot summary to bring readers up to speed. Nearly all sound effects are translated and printed on the page next to or over the Korean writing. It works well, as it's not terribly intrusive and allows the reader to understand what's going on without resorting to an index in the back of the book, or ignoring the sound effects all together. The front cover is soldier in combat gear against a dark blue background, and the back cover features the famous photo of American GIs hoisting the US flag over Iwo Jima during World War II, but modified with the Korean flag in it's place.

Nambul: War Stories is a provocative look at racial prejudice and nationalism seen through the eyes of a disaffected punk. For a reader looking for something different in a political or war drama, this just might be the book for them.


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