Direction: Left to Right
by: Madeleine Rosca (Story & art), Honoel Ibardolaza (Colouring)
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Genre: Steampunk, Action, Adventure
Synopsis: Little Lucy Snow was supposed to attend a prestigious boarding school; however, a macabre twist of fate finds her enrolled instead at Miss Weaver’s Academy for the Scientifically Gifted and Ethically Unfettered, also known as Hollow Fields. Located on the outskirts of Nullsville and run by the insidious Engineers, the grim boarding school dedicates itself to raising the next generation of mad scientists and evil geniuses!
Classes include Live Taxidermy, Cross-Species Body Part Transplantation, and Killer Robot Construction. For her own survival, Lucy must master her lessons quickly. At the end of each week, the student with the lowest grades is sent to the old windmill for detention…and so far, no child has ever returned.
When this originally pop up in my email all I could think of was ‘ugh’. Why are you colourising someones work! If they’d wanted it to be in colour they’d have done it in colour from the start. What’s more Hollow Fields’ initial release was god damn perfect! Why mess with perfection I thought to myself.
So I have to admit I initially went into this review with nefarious thoughts in mind! I wanted to sit here and rip Seven Seas a new one for ruining a series I really liked. Thankfully my desires have been crushed, and I can honestly say that Honoel Ibardolaza did an amazing job with his colouring!
With the reissue of the series comes a set of new covers! I picked up this series when it was released as a complete omnibus and had the above cover, which I thought was amazing in and of itself. Yet I have to admit the new cover (see image 2 above) is even better, in both it’s cuteness, and it’s hints of eeriness.
Madeleine’s art is still as amazing as before, I find it to be a good blend of western and eastern, almost manga style but not quite. It makes for, in my opinion, one of the best art styles I’ve come across in OEL. Also, being honest here, Madeleine single handedly changed my opinion on OEL’s, as she proved hands down that they can be good, both in art and story, and are worth my time to read.
Below are some pages for you to see the art style yourself, but please note these come from the low quality PDF version I was provided to read, and are not a go good representation of the quality of the series!
Now lets talk story, since any manga worth it’s salt is going to have a good story!
Hollow Fields is no exception. The story follows Lucy Snow, a young girl kicked off to boarding school due to her folks being to busy…so busy they cant even take her to the school themselves. Naturally, as you’d expect, Lucy gets lost, and ends up in an odd place; an old hidden school. Wooed by the promise of a bath and dinner come on Lucy! You should have atleast demanded free WiFi as well!) she signs the contract and thus becomes a new student of Hollow Fields.
Slight problem though, Hollow Fields is not your normal school, it’s a school for budding mad scientists. What follows is Lucy trying (and hillariously failing) to fit in. Just as things are starting to look bad for our little md scientist wanna-be she’s saved, sort of, and a new adventure starts. Trying to escape, and rescue the other kids!
The story itself is actually really good and flows well. The only criticism I have is the same one I had back when I reviewed the complete edition, the story is two short. Three volumes is to short for this story, I would have liked to have seen four or five with more time spent on her life in the school. That said, the brevity in no way hinders the story.
Now lets talk the colouring, since that is the main reason for this rerelease. All I can say is that it’s blown me away with how well the colouring has been done. I think the sample pages above really speak volumes. Honoel has done a superb job in bring this black and white series to life. He’s brought a depth to the series you didn’t even realise was missing until it was there. The characters are more alive and vivacious than I ever thought possible.
what’s more impressive is that the colouring doesn’t have the ‘comic book’ feel to it that makes me hate comics so much. it’s alive, almost living breath colouring that has changed what was a near perfect series, into a perfect series.
I personally can’t wait to see the rest of the series come out in colour, I’m hoping they also do the one shot sequel! I also hope Seven Seas carry on with Honoel and colourise some of their other titles! I’d be all over those in a heart beat!
Tags: hollow fields, Honoel Ibardolaza, Madeleine Rosca, Madeline Rosca, manga, oel, Review, Ryu's Musings, Seven Seas Entertainment, steampunk