Jack Frost Volume 1
By JinHo Ko
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Older Teen
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Any high schooler on a nerve-wracking first day at a new school is apt to lose his or her head a little. But in Noh-A’s case, she literally does! When she wakes up in one piece with a little help from a mysterious doctor, Noh-A quickly realizes that nothing is as it seems at Amityville High, where paranormal creatures battle for supremacy. Caught in the crossfire, Noh-A may have to rely on the unlikely (and possibly unreliable) aid of the most sinister student at Amityville…the deadly Jack Frost!
By all outward appearances, this title looks to be a pale shadow of the horror manga Hellsing. Cracking open the book doesn’t do much to alter that appearance. There is lots of action and decapitation, but not much in actual plot.
This first volume pretty much serves one purpose; to introduce the characters and show what an awesome fighter Jack is. It doesn’t do much else, though it seems to try and hint there ‘s going to be a plot. Eventually. The first character introduced is No-A, a seemingly normal girl, starting her first day at a new high school. Only, she turns out to be not so normal. Within the first few pages, she get her head cut off, but she doesn’t die. She appears to be immortal, and her blood has healing properties. Jack Frost, the top, and apparently only other student at North District, is the school’s fighter, and is undefeated. He protects No-A, only to the extent that he sees her as a tool. Helmina is the Head of the North District. She looks like Ingram from Hellsing, right down to the hair and glasses, but is dressed like a dominatrix. Jin is the school nurse, with little emotion or personality. The final regular character at North District is Hansen, former Guidance Councilor of the West District who joins the North because of Helmina.
What don’t we learn about the world of Jack Frost? We’re told No-A is the “mirror image”, but not what that is or why it’s important beyond her “powers”. We have no idea what or were Amityville is or why the districts are fighting so hard to destroy each other.
What we do learn is that Jack likes to fight. A lot. He’s like a poor-man’s Alucard. He is the best at what he does. He comes off as some kind of monster with abilities beyond anyone else in Amityville. Everything he does is a means to an end, mainly to get into fights. He’s even got the toothy smile and long coat. Though he tries, he doesn’t come off anywhere near as cool as Alucard. We also learn that No-A is easy to decapitate. It doesn’t seem to phase her in the slightest that she’s dead, or that her head’s getting chopped off every other chapter. By the end it’s almost a ho-hum experience.
There is some humor to this title. When No-A finds out she is the “mirror image”, she starts thinking she going to be like some magical girl with special powers and a costume. She is disappointed to find out otherwise. Hansen’s final defeat is humorous as well, as he basically surrenders to Helmina because she’s a voluptuous, domineering, blond . He says he’ll defeat her by licking her to death. Starting with her toes. That scene was at least worth a snort.
There is some fan service, but it’s at least spread out. No-A’s body, after decapitation, usually ends up in some compromising position, mostly with her backside up for all the world to see. Helmina and Jin are drawn with large breasts (not just big, large), and Helmina walks around in a teddy, fishnets and filmy robe. It’s not over whelming, but it’s enough to bother me.
The art is adequate, but is a little too “toony.” This title is supposed to be a horror title, but the art doesn’t fit what should be a dark and menacing setting. The lighter moments in the volume come off too light, making the more horrific scenes seem campy.
This first volume of Jack Frost ultimately comes off as all action and no direction. It tries to capture what’s cool about Hellsing while asserting its own personality, but fails at both. While this title isn’t bad, it isn’t great either. For good horror action, you’re better off with Hellsing than this wannabe.