Author: KwangHyn Seo
Manhwa-ga: JinHo Ko
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: June 2008
Synopsis: “As the studio erupts in chaoe over Ho Go’s new comic, one of his former students – Ga In – appears at the door! Da-Il, who ends up sharing his room with boss’s former protege, wakes p in the middle of the night to find his guest in the grip of a huge monster! Under attack himself, Da-Il is thrown into a stragic story from Ga-In’s past, where discovers that Mu-Huk can’t always save him and even superpowers have their limits.”
A lot more of the story’s key elements made much more sense to me here in the second volume of Croquis Pop. While the manhwa-ga, Ho Go, and his students make a fuss over his new comic starring themselves. the group are greeted with a surprise guest, an old student named Ga-In. It’s into the past of Ga-In that Da-Il finds himself next, the ‘Dead Zone’ which reflects the strong emotions of a person manifested into a place. Or atleast that seems to be the simpliest way I can figure it, much more concise than my confuddled thoughts after finishing the first book.
This book is split fairly evenly in half between Da-Il interacting with a younger Ga-In and an old friend in art school, and the ghost/fighter dude Mu-Huk duking it out with who, or what, is apparently a ghost born from the emotion of Leonardo DiVinci’s Last Supper painting. The segregation worked in the book’s favour, as the fight scenes remained free of the over-complicated system in place when Da-Il and Mu-Huk fight together. I found the portions of the book dedicated to Da-Il in this Dead Zone artschool with Ga-In to be the highlight of the book, an entertaining though ultimately bittersweet tale that packs a real punch.
JinHo Ko’s art style is also growing on me, and on itself it seems, with some better paced panels and an overall consistant looking piece of work. The characters are pretty distinct and easy to tell apart, which is good in a cast that seems to be steadily growing. The action scenes are well rendered, full of dramatic beatdowns, cut-ups and ‘how’d he do that?!’s. I enjoyed how the art style changed to comedic effect when suitable as well, offering up some pretty funny scenes. On the flipside, the artist is easily able to switch over the mood of the art to match the story, from energetic to emotional, which is good for a series that seems to have a new twist around each corner.
Ultimately I really enjoyed this second book of Croquis Pop. The first volume left me unsure if I liked it or not but I think this second book gave it that extra help it needed to earn its way to my ‘to read’ pile. Truth be told, I’m not looking forward to inevitable fight scenes after volume one left me so confused, but I have hopes that what I liked about this one will prevail as a continued defining force of a series that won’t just rely on awkward battle systems and muscle-bound smackdowns to give it its kick. Now looking forward to volume three!