Manga Village

Raiders Volume 1

March 26, 2010

Irel Clark is a professor’s assistant whose latest find is the “Holy Grail” for members of his profession — literally!  But when it turns out that some decidedly unholy individuals are also after the blood of Christ, Irel must drink from the chrism bottle he’s recovered to save his own life.  Immortality leaves something to be desired, though, when undead cannibals walk the earth in constant need of human flesh, and Irel’s newly immortal body is nothing short of an all-you-can-eat buffet!

By: JinJun Park
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Horror
Price: $10.99

Zombies don’t always make a story better.  What starts out looking like a roller coaster action adventure in the vein of Tomb Raider instead becomes an all-you-can-eat buffet, and not in a good way.  A lack of likable characters make the directions the story may be going in less than interesting.

This title starts out deceptively cool.  Professor Langhem and his assistant Irel are trying to get past several armed guards around an old church.  They are searching for the Holy Grail, but what Irel finds is a chrism bottle.  The first two chapters of the volume follow the heist and subsequent escape, but then completely loses all momentum (and coolness) after Irel drinks from the chrism bottle.  He becomes immortal.  This might have been cool if Irel didn’t then become the buffet to the Zombie Lamia, who was also searching for the chrism bottle with the Blood of Christ.

After the action of the first two chapters, this title becomes more about the characters.  It’s too bad they aren’t more interesting or even likable.  Irel, our hero, starts out acting like a man of action with his fancy moves and shotgun with a sight scope.  But then he becomes meek as a mouse after he’s captured by Lamia.  He just accepts being chained in her shack for her to gnaw on every time she needs healing.  His change is a real disappointment.  Lamia appears to be the villain at first.  She a zombie, cursed to never die for sins she committed in the past.  Now she’s searching for the Blood of Christ so she can become human again, and end her endless suffering.  I think we’re supposed to feel sorry for Lamia predicament, but she doesn’t make it easy.  With her indiscriminate killing and nomming on Irel, there’s not much to like about her.

Clarion, on the other hand, seems much more sympathetic.  She’s a young girl, early teens maybe, and appears to be a zombie too, though not the same as Lamia.  At least she doesn’t eat anybody.  She doesn’t get treated very well by her “boss”, so Irel’s kindness to her touches her and makes the one with the most potential.  Then there’s Detective Chris. He’s latched onto Irel and Professor Langhem’s case.  He’s excited to have found a case with signs of a zombie and cannibalism being involved.  He’s really creepy and disturbing.  Most of these people represent some faction that wants the Blood of Christ for their own reason, though what all of theme are hasn’t been revealed yet, but with characters like these to follow, I don’t know if I really care either.

The art is very dark.  JinJun uses a lot of heavy black lines, which looks bad when there isn’t a lot of detail to fill in around them.  Speed lines in the action scenes are used way too much.  They make the panels look cluttered and the action too confusing to follow.  It’s all very sloppy looking and rushed.  It wasn’t pleasant to look at all.

All of that said, Raiders does have some potential.  If it can get away from the zombie-eating body parts and show some actual plot it might actually go somewhere.  At least I think there’s a plot in there somewhere.  So far it’s just been a bunch of seemingly random scenes put together.  I’d really like for this title to fulfill the promise of the first two chapters, but so far, it’s not looking good.

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