Remember my Captain Nemo review? Remember how I mentioned that technically it’s not a manga because it was created by Americans? Well, put that review to rest. Sunn isn’t even on that level. Somehow, it manages to be less of a manga than Captain Nemo. Most likely because it’s so obviously a Western comic book. Nothing about this atrocity says “I am a manga. You will enjoy reading me.” Really, at least Captain Nemo tricked me into thinking it was a manga. Kids will know that this isn’t a manga. But if you claim that you’re really a manga, sure! I’ll review you as such!
Actually, my dad was the one who was supposed to review this. I found a nice little note in the book asking him to review this. My dad never got around to reviewing it (or reading it, as far as I can tell), so I figured “I have a blog. I’ll review it!”
This was drawn by Kevin Lau (who, as far as I can tell is Asian, so that may make this more authentic. Except, you know, that means nothing); Alex Nino (who seems to be kind of a legend in comics. I don’t really know any details); and Nathan Massengill (who’s also somewhat famous, but he’s not even on the cover). Steven A. Roman wrote this tale, and I’m left wondering why anyone needs three artists and one writer. I don’t know which one drew this, but look at the cover at the top of this page. This red lumpy man does not say “hey kids, I’m an authentic manga!” No, it says “this is how my artist(s) thought manga characters look! You can tell I’m a manga character because I’m holding a glowing orb with a Japanese letter in it!”
Plot: In a world of superheroes (or just two since that’s how many we ever see), Carson Walker aspires to be a mangaka, but his father wishes for him to follow in his footsteps and become a superhero. But when his father is nearly killed by a generic manga villain (I say generic because it’s just a samurai), Carson must rise up to defeat Bakemono and the evil forces that be! …Yeah, that’s it. Nothing special, really. It wouldn’t be so bad if this plot wasn’t done so many times before!
The plot isn’t the worst part. No, the part I despise is the dialogue boxes. You know, the helpful little boxes that tell you the location, time, or explain a word/translation. Yeah, they don’t use them for these minor details. No, they use them to explain inner conflicts! Because I really needed to know what was going through his mind when he was arguing with his mother. Also, some dialogue makes no sense. In one scene, a roof starts caving in. One woman remarks, “We’re gonna be crushed!”, while another corrects her by saying, “You’re wrong… we’re going to die…” …You’re BOTH right. Why was this line necessary?
As I’ve mentioned, the art is all wrong. Sunn himself looks way too much like a Western superhero, and the only characters who look remotely mangaish are female, but even then that’s a stretch. Despite that, some of the art is just ugly. One scene has a guy with a completely distorted face for no reason other than bad art.
Now yes, “manga” does mean “comics”. However, when you look for manga in the library, do you ask “where is the comic section” or “where is the manga section”? Neither. Most libraries don’t carry either. What I’m trying to say is “if you claim your company is ‘ibooks manga’, make a story about a kid who aspires to draw manga, use manga terms (or Japanese words that I’ve never seen in manga), and label the title as ‘Graphic Novel/Manga’… maybe put a little effort into making this look like a manga!” Seriously, Captain Nemo was far more enjoyable! In fact, ignore that review’s Overall Opinion! Read it, just as long as you don’t read Sunn!
Overall Opinion: Just another comic book. It can never deserve the title of manga.
Rating: Two thumbs down, One And A Half Stars, and a D-.