Monday, July 19, 2010

Review: It Takes A Wizard

It Takes A Wizard (Gomanga) is an American OEL manga. How was this manga? I have no idea how to put it nicely.

For one, there are some interesting concepts behind the story. However, it is not well executed. The story begins with a mission briefing and we are introduced to the protagonist, Isaac Silverberg who is as generic as anyone can get with manga designs. In fact, all human characters are generically designed (although competently drawn), and one dimensional in characterization. Who is the Midnight King? Not important, because the comic will tell you little about him. May be he is supposed to be mysterious? There are better ways of executing mystery than this.

Now I explain further why the work can be seen as amateurish. Firstly, the story is set in a region of America that has been devastated by the Midnight King and his fantastical creatures. So it is post-apocalyptic all around. I have no idea whose decision it was to clutter panels with so many objects. This amount of detail and objects may be good for comics with colour, but for black and white manga with art lines that vary little in thickness, it is not very pleasing. Look at Bone in black and white, and you won’t see such cluttering in panels as often, especially in action sequences.

So may be the writer of this manga has put more effort to developing themes and such. In chapter five, there is one half page panel where Isaac is told by another character that death all around him. The panel's background is filled (cluttered) with plants, roots, and water flowing. In the focus of this panel is water flowing. I am unable to find any reference to water being a symbol of death. All I know is water symbolizes life in Japan, wisdom in Taoism, purity in Christianity and so on. Water as a symbol of death and destruction, none. Not even through google. So may be the writer had some idea in his head that is unfathomable to educated audiences. May be the story is superficial, and there is no need to read deeply at all.

The manga, with a great concept behind it, is marred by a story not well developed, and panels that, though figures and objects are nicely drawn, are sometimes too cluttered and thus visually irritating.

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