Nambul: War Stories Vol. #03 - 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: 264
  • ISBN: 158664975-2
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Left to Right

Nambul: War Stories Vol. #03

By Mike Dungan     April 17, 2005
Release Date: January 05, 2005


Nambul: War Stories Vol.#03
© CPM Press


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Hyun Se Lee
Translated by:Soojung Christine Han
Adapted by:

What They Say
The Brand of Auschwitz. The ramifications of Korea's war against Japan are felt closer to home as Korean citizens living in Japan are branded as "outsiders." Forced to wear identifying armbands, these people are ostracized by the Japanese populace and are forced into Korean ghettos. The segregation takes a turn for the worse as Koreans are herded onto trains and sent to war camps. All the while, Koreans and Japanese armed forced wage all-out war against each other on land, sea and air. How long before the rest of the world enters the political bloodbath?

The Review
Packaging:
As with previous volumes, this one reflects the military nature of the story. The cover image shows a battle scene as Korean F-4 and F-15 fighters bomb a Japanese battleship. The back cover has an image from the story of nightstick-wielding Japanese police beating on unarmed Korean civilians. Everything is in a monotone brown. Inside are six pages of character introductions and a story synopsis to bring the reader up to date. Both the front and back inside covers feature a two page spread of Korean high school gang members fighting Japanese police.

Artwork:
Hyun Se Lee's art continues to impress. The Osamu Tekuza/Sergio Arragones-like cartoonishness complements the more serious sections of the story. Much like Tezuka, Se Lee isn't afraid to break the spell with some clownishness when the story needs a lift. The more dramatic scenes are cleanly rendered with strong linework and heavy contrast of light and dark.

Text/SFX:
The change in translator doesn't seem to have affected the story. The dialogue still flows with commendable smoothness. The rare narrated sections sound a bit melodramatic, but that seems to be how Se Lee wrote it, rather than a function of the translation or adaptation. The sound effects are all translated directly on the page. It doesn't intrude excessively on the art and is a great help to understanding what we're seeing.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the war between Japan and Korea heats up in Southeast Asia, the Oh family deals with more personal issues. Uhmji Chae finds herself between the police colleague who is protecting her from the institutionalized discrimination directed at all people of Korean descent, and Hae-Sung Oh, the younger brother of the man she once loved, and a wanted murderer. Yusung Oh is struggling with his job and his Japanese wife. Ri Hae Oh finds herself having to deal with admitting she's Korean to her Japanese boyfriend, the first nice guy she's ever dated. Life-changing decisions are made in the face of the Japanese government's decision to first brand everyone of Korean descent with a large "K" button they are forced to wear, and then finally rounding all Koreans up and forcing them into detention camps. Meanwhile, the war seems to be going surprisingly well for the Koreans, but the Korean president knows it's only a matter of time before Japan starts to take charge. A final full-scale battle is decided on while they have the advantage.

Comments
As a political thriller and military war story, Nambul is beginning to walk on shaky ground. The author is demonizing the Japanese by this point, making them do everything exactly as Nazi Germany did 60 years earlier (at the time of its original publication.) The family drama works very well, but the rest reads false. It's difficult to believe that Japan would repeat the same mistakes of Nazi Germany right down to making Koreans wear an identifying brand. Despite Japan's economic power, it's hard to believe the rest of the world wouldn't get involved in the war or become outraged at the idea of concentration camps. The author admitted in the first volumes that this story was a way for him to work out the anger he felt at both Japanese disdain for Korea, and Korean complacency with the situation. Unfortunately, while this may all be very cathartic for Se Lee, it is beginning to lose any connection with a believable reality at this point.

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