Sunday, December 26, 2010

Vermonia volume 1 and 2 Impression

Four youths destined for greatness, the battle to retake Vermonia begins

The big boys such as Viz and Tokyopop, even Bandai have most of the major manga titles but once in a while a smaller studio pops up and delivers a quality tale that gives readers solid, non-big boy titles. YOYO is this company, a group of artist who wanted to create a new type of manga. The results so far is Vermonia and if volume 1 and 2 are any indication these creative minds are headed in a solid direction. This tale of four youths destined for greatness reminds me of Ronin Warriors or the old animated Dungeons & Dragons. What do these first two volumes offer in terms of the overall package, the art, story and layout? Let’s take a look.

Vermonia volume 1: Quest for the Silver Tiger – Childhood friends Mel, Doug, Naomi and Jim may have their own earthly issues but they are about to be drawn into a grand battle which will determine the fate of not only earth but all existence. Being the daughter of the mayor puts extreme pressure on Mel to quit the band and be an upstanding young citizen, but it’s this which causes her to fight with Naomi and makes her an easy target for General Uro’s forces. General Uro is on the verge of conquering Vermonia, home of Queen Frasinella and center of all that is. To keep total control from Uro the queen sends her four most trusted ministers away to guard the secrets of Vermonia. These four are foretold to be reborn and it’s within the four friends from Earth where this will take place. Uro knows this and not only traps the four ministers but also tries to abduct the friends succeeding in getting Mel. The other three are transported by the just hatched squelp to the Turtle Realm to find the ministers and fulfill their destiny. First up is Doug and he must free Raitetsu to gain his true power. With the help of a local princess the journey begins.

Whew, sorry about such a long summary but gotta cover the basic backstory which is fairly solid if lacking in a bit of detail. What the story does it setup with nicely printed, color pages is the background of Vermonia, the war with Uro and the destiny of the four ministers and four heroes. Readers don’t have to worry about the action starting as the background is set not just for Vermonia but also the four heroes, that they love to skate, play in a band and have normal teenage issues. Readers go feet first into this pool of action with the hatching of the squelp (just who do you think he is) and journey to the Turtle Realm. They need assistance and must change themselves to succeed, something Doug does in … well I won’t ruin that but the characters grow and change even in this first volume. The story gets to the point but it’s not overly complicated and is a great fantasy read.

The art in volume 1 is solid, not spectacular but very solid and retains a more manwha style, something closer to Korea or China than Japanese manga. The characters are the focus of this tale as the backgrounds are overall plain is not non-existent. The colored pages, book sleeve and use of color on page ends makes the reader feel like they have a very prestigious manga in their hands, which they do. Impressive first volume but what does volume 2 offer?

Vermonia volume 2: Call of the Winged Panther – With Naomi turning to stone it’s on Doug’s shoulders to free Raitetsu and gain the power needed to help his friends. The battle is won but only due to the heart of an enemy. Mel remains in her prison helpless to watch as her friends fight and when the next battle begins its Jim’s turn to find Suiran and gain his power. As the heroes triumph they also learn of the tribes of the Turtle Realm, how the four ministers were captured and they also learn about the fate of their guide’s twin brother. The world around them continues to take shape and their foes get stronger but these kids are more than up to the challenge.

The story progresses with the same solid art as seen in volume 1. The pacing is well done as more background is revealed making the Turtle Realm and Vermonia seem more real. First Doug then Jim and of course next has to be Naomi right? The story is deep enough that a few mysteries are to be revealed but it’s knowing where the story is going that makes the journey fun. 

Tales of destiny, trials and challenges date back to the oldest tales in every culture. Heroes taking on the seemingly impossible to become kings, gods, heroes, legends … it’s a reality and formula that works and works well. Vermonia, in its first two volumes, is setting up to join the long line of hero manga that fans love and which become anime. My reference to Ronin Warriors especially shows off the potential of Vermonia where first one hero gains power followed by the others before a final showdown. I cannot wait to see how Vermonia turns out and highly recommend the same to fans looking for something new; an adventure with action but short on violence mixed with solid art and a great looking published package.

1 comment:

  1. Vermonia is a really good book to read because it as all the excitment and adventures in store for you as it will get interesting, to see whats happening next. So I like to give it 10 out of 10 seens it is that good.