Friday, February 22, 2008

King of Hell vol. 18 Impression

King of Hell volume 18 picks up with Majeh on the run, while he was still alive. With his father branded a traitor and his friends turned against him Majeh is at the end of his ropes. Weeks on the run under constant attack wears on a man, and when your sensei confronts you and delivers the news of why you are being hunted as well as news of your parents execution, well it can make one give up. This is exactly what happens but its Majeh sensei that spares him and instructs him to disappear, to learn to live by the sword. After this we cut back as Majeh and team continue their hunt for the Insane Hounds, and they happen upon the same bar with the same bandits that tricked the hounds. Moments before they arrive at the bar a mysterious hooded man arrives, beats the spit out of the bandits, ask for info then moves on his way (more on him in future volumes, that’s it for this one). Third time’s the charm for this pathetic groups of bandits and this time they think they can target these kids, until Dog beats them down, Majeh adds to the pounding until they finally give up the dirt on what happened to the Hounds, they try to trick Majeh with the same quicksand to which they just jump out of it and onto the entrance to the supposed Sa Gok Headquarters. Cut to the Insane Hounds, who are not dead, just lost. They come across some failed experiments, mutilated martial artist worked on by Book Sa Ryoung and the Sa Gok. First they run, and then the Hounds turn to confront the Sa Gok … head on. Back to Majeh at the entrance to Sa Gok Headquarters where they encounter two glorified doormen. Time to step up Chung Poong, and he does as he faces off against a massive enemy with skin of stone. Seems he’s lacking confidence to which Majeh cheers him on. As the fight continues the volume ends.

I love the art of Jae-Hwan Kim and it delivers yet again with fast paced action and a humor mixed in that I just adore. The adaptation by R.A. Jones is outstanding and when you throw in lines like “I saw it kid! Don’t get cocky!” you have to wonder how much Star Wars Jones is watching. This volume of King of Hell is a mixed bag as we get some flashback on Majeh, the continued search for the Insane Hounds, the Hounds journey as well as the beginning of a massive battle with glorified doormen. This is neither a transition volume, nor is it a full action epic, it’s as I said a mixture. Fans of the series will be very pleased as King of Hell keeps on going. For those new to the series you’re better off starting at least a few volumes earlier as the book does a great job recapping the story thus far. Solid art, story and pace … King of Hell is one must have book.

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