Direction: Right to Left
by: Sean Lam (Art) Thomas R. Hart (Story)
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Nobody has been inside Manhattan for the past three years, and with good reason. It’s become a place of wild, dark magic, where technology and the laws of science do not work. And it’s at war with the United States–a dark kingdom that seeks to spread across the river to the rest of the world, with armies of trolls, goblins, imps, ghouls and harpies gathering under the command of a dark sorcerer: Everett Winterthorn.
Isaac Silverberg is his former apprentice who is plucked from Death Row and given a final chance to redeem himself. The US Army gives him an offer he can’t refuse: his life, in exchange for the rescue of the New Jersey governor’s daughter, apparently kidnapped by Winterthorn’s minions and taken into the depths of the Magic Kingdom.
It’s a mission that can only be accomplished by the most powerful mage there is. Unfortunately for him, the government believes Isaac Silverberg is that man. In fact, they are quite sure of it. But is he…?
While i did sort of enjoy this volume, i have to admit that at times i found it confusing. Several time’s i felt it was missing pages from the volume since the characters would be saying something, then suddenly in the next page we’d be somewhere else.
I’ll be honest, i don’t think much of Sean Lam’s art. He most certainly has his moments, and i did like the designs of the monsters and Hope. However i found Isaac to be a bit of a strange looking character. I noticed over the course of the volume he went through several different designs. Usually manga-ka try to keep the general character designs the same throughout the volume. Lam however fails to do this, and as a result Isaac looks differently at times. Granted the changes aren’t huge, but they are noticeable.
Where Lam really did an excellent job was with the monsters. Initially i wasn’t to keen on them, but the more i read the more i liked. I initially felt they weren’t monster enough, but given the style of series this was,i realised the designs actually fit. I became rather fond of a couple of them, and was a little sad when they died.
I also found that the settings for the most part were really well done, though some of them felt a little to thick, as in the pen nib used to draw them was too thick. However on the flip side the settings and skylines we get treated to are really well done and look awesome.
I also really liked Hope and Lars, her little demon friend. Hope looked really good, her design fits her personality well. Unlike Isaac she doesn’t go through the changes so much, though there are some. I also found i liked her more than Isaac, who frankly i felt needed a swift kick in the arse.
One aspect of the art i found really frustrating however was the action lines. Lam couldn’t seem to draw an action scene without smothering it in action lines. While the lines are needed at times, i felt he over did it. At times it felt like there was more action lines than actual action.
The story, as i said, is a good story. I think it could have been an excellent story if Hart had spent a bit more time developing the how and why of things.
On the surface of it there’s nothing wrong, but as you continue to read the volume more and more little issues with what’s being said crop up. I found the sudden loss of dialogue to be really frustrating as well. At several point the story literally stops mid sentence, and then shifts focus leaving a huge “what the hell” feeling.
I also felt the ending was a huge let down, we get all this build up and then suddenly it’s all over with nothing really having happened. I was hoping, and expecting, a big confrontation between Isaac and Everett, instead we get a tea party and group hug. Sure it has to end that way, but you don’t go from a big build up to the group hug without any sort of confrontation, it’s anti-climactic.
Yet, i have to admit despite all of it’s flaws i did enjoy the volume. If you’ve got some spare cash l would say give it a whirl. However i would also recommend you read the online version of it first. Seven Seas have the entire volume up on their website in a low-res version, it’s a good way of seeing if it’s what you want without actually buying it.
They also released it in various other digital formats, such as the Kindle, Nook, and iTunes (for iPad/iPhone).