Author: Yi DongEun
Manhwa-ga: Yu Chung
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: May 2008
Synopsis: “When Tublerun overhears the reason for Verna’s desperate need for cash, he sets out for the North Pole to join GIA’s treasure hunt and win the prize money. But the hunt’s been rigged so that no one gets out alive! Even those who somehow manage to survive will have to contend with a bloodthirsty Chroma. Without Verna or Lorel to aid him, will Tublerun be able to make it out in one piece?”
After overhearing Verna’s need for money to help support a hospitalized friend, Tublerun runs away to join in a dangerous contest. Numerous people looking to win the monetary prize showed up for the competition, only to find themselves against seemingly undefeatable life forms. Without his friends there to support him, Tublerun finds himself petrified and reliant on the strangers around him, strangers who see each other as threats for the goal.
There were a lot of neat elements to explore in this third volume of Freaks: Legend of the Nonblonds. While my entry into this series begins with this volume three, I was able to read the story with little difficulty. While some elements I didn’t fully understand due to not having read volumes one and two, they only served to pique my interest.
Tublerun is a really interesting main character, one who possesses confidence (but not in inexplicable abundance), and the honest portrayal of his fear made him refreshing to read about, not to mention his strange powers. His rival-of-sorts, Ecliptor is quite an enigma, falling into the gray area of good-guy/bad guy. His connection to Tublerun is something that the series seems to be building to with anticipation and I look forward to a full explanation, be it from future or past volumes.
Yu Chung’s artwork is really attractive and works wonderfully with the content it presents to readers. It has a shonen-style look with solid drawings and eye-catching action sequences. I enjoyed how consistently the characters were drawn and the diversity of their designs. There were some nice panel choices as well, giving the book a great sense of pacing which changes relevant to what’s happening at any given time.
One little quip I had was the artwork used on the back cover. It seems cut and pasted with little time and effort onto the green background, causing white spots that look missed and uneven static around the image. This may be the fault of Yen Press or the artist, I don’t know myself.
There were a few issues with the printing here with some gutter problems that cut off certain aspects of the art. It never seemed to interfere too much however, unlike some of Yen Press’s other books, so I didn’t find it caused any real difficulty while reading. However an aspect I did find odd was the occasional speech bubble, which was very large, but had small typed font cramped up at the top. It seemed like a sort of preparation for page cut off, but with none to noticeably speak of, it just made the placement of the words seem awkward.
Overall, Yen Press did another nice translation job with no notable issues with the interior writing itself. The combination of paper and binding made the book a nice weight with easy to turn pages.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I sat down to read Freak but I was really pleasantly surprised. I loved reading this book: the pacing, artwork, fast-paced action scenes and characters who clearly have a lot of unexplained elements to them, made me turn the pages eagerly. While only joining in on this interesting tale three books in, I’ve already been hooked and look forward to getting my hands on another volume.