Saturday, March 1, 2008

Archlord vol. 4 Impression

Archlord manga volume 4
Now we’re rolling with Archlord volume 4 from Tokyopop. The story picks up with Zian still battling the Lizards Captain, and not doing so well. He does manage to come out on top, thanks to Ugdrasil, but it’s as he flees, minus an eye-ball courtesy of ZIan, the captain grabs a little girl as hostage forcing the gypsy Estra, Arin and Ugdrasil to pursue him to their lair. Meanwhile Zian is lef to the care of (name???) who reveals and revels in the differences in male/female anatomy, funny stuff. So, healthy again Zian sets out to help his buddies who have made their way to the Lizard lair only to find every one of the beast slain by their so-called benefactor the Baron. The Lizards have been enslaving the gypsy folks to build an altar at the order of the Baron and as it’s now complete his two henchmen slaugher everyone, human and lizard alike. Estra is crushed to find her friends dead, but does not have time to grieve as they are attacked. A battle ensues, Ugdrasil does some damage, Arin learns of true inner power and the two baddies bite it just in time for the Baron to turn into one hell of a baddie himself. Enter Zian who of course goads on the pre-transformed Baron and then takes on the monster he becomes. He slaughers him showing a true beserker power that worries Ugdrasil. We’ve also got a big ol’ dragon waking up the beginning of the kings expedition, a new Orc chic named Gaiana as well as troubles for Ernan in the form of the Prince.

Volume 4 is heavy on action but does not sacrifice the humor. There are hilarious moments, bloody noses and misplaced awe mixed in with sword and magic battles any fantasy fan will love. The story is really getting good and the characters are showing more depth than expectetd. We know Zian is a good, a clod, but now we are seeing a darker side. Also, what about his heritage, that’s kinda fallen to the wayside now. There is a grand political story brewing also with Orcs becoming more involved. To the point, the story is ramping up big time on a personal, party level as well as a country wide, political level. All the story-telling is assisted along by the excellent art of Jin-Hwan Park. Park mixes humor with seriousness that is seamless. One moment Zian is picking his nose the next he’s a shaded beast hacking and slashing. The monster designs are also pleasant, in the mold of what fantasy fans expect. Volume 1 of Archlord got me excited and I’m not even an Archlord gamer. Volume 2 took a while to hit shelves and seemed over way to fast. With volume 3 we begin to see what this manga is capable of and with 4 it’s really coming to light what Archlord is all about. It’s a small party of adventures, each with their own traits mixing into a play for power that will consume nations. Good times indeed are ahead of Archlord fans.