Posted: 26 May 2014 09:00 AM PDT
A Malaysian-made tale of aliens and ancient secrets.
AS the nation has developed, so too has our local comics scene expanded and improved in recent years. After finishing Meant For Each Other (MFEO), I now believe that that local comics can be compared favourably to more internationally-known Japanese manga.
MFEO is a comedy-adventure drawn by Lu Wun Khang, who uses the pen name Zint in all his works. The artist/writer, known for stories like the Under 18 series, The Adventures Of Kroit and 2 Dudes, has more than 20 titles under his belt.
His latest work deals with extraterrestrial beings who invade Earth in search of an ancient power. Malaysian locations like the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the jungles of Sarawak figure prominently in the story.
In brief, MFEO revolves around a 17-year-old boy named Feroz who unsuspectingly swallows an "inkrip", the energy source of his newfound alien pet called Zouk. Feroz is joined by his friends, Amri and Isma, who coincidentally meet other alien beings similar to Zouk, from the planet Tation.
These beings are on a quest: to find the Mazazon, a power that will enable its wielder to rule Tation. They are constantly under attack from other alien beings that also seek it, only for evil purposes.
As the group closes in on the prize, it discovers an ancient secret that has been lost in time, just waiting to be uncovered.
With so much drama in the plot, the comic is gripping and a delight to read.
Posted: 26 May 2014 09:00 AM PDT
Step into the realm of divine and supernatural entities with the 'King of Thieves'.
ONCE again, another fantastic comic by local talent Zint.
This is the story of a thief named Kroit who calls himself the "King of Thieves". One unfortunate day, he is arrested and thrown in prison where he meets a mystical creature named Sagittarius Ecronomicon Frelia, who takes on the form of a flower.
Kroit discovers that Frelia was cursed, turned into a flower – a talking flower at that – and sent to Earth.
Frelia only seeks to return to his homeland, the magical city of Sorga Loka, which is in an alternate universe. He requires a human spirit to travel from Earth to Sorga Loka, and eventually uses Kroit as his "host" – fusing himself to Kroit's left arm, also to prevent Kroit from bailing on him.
The fully coloured comic takes readers into the realm of divine and supernatural entities. Along the way, they meet allies like King Doros and Stinky, who help them in their effort to reach Sorga Loka.
For them to get there, however, they must navigate the depths of the abyss called Dark Village, a hellish place filled with creatures that feed on human spirits; venture through the dense jungles of the Shadow Forest; and cross the Lava Canyon (the same says it all). In each place, they face strange creatures that seem to have it in for them.
While the plot keeps things interesting, the timeline seems to be somewhat inconsistent as the story begins in the Middle Ages and ends in an era that looks a lot like the 21st century.
It's also worth noting that humour is a major element in the comic and even the plot revolves around it. There is a running joke throughout the story in which Kroit is continually mugged for money and he retaliates by claiming that he is the real king of thieves.
Visit gemparkstarz.com for more titles. Comics by Zint can be purchased at major bookstores in Malaysia.
Posted: 26 May 2014 09:00 AM PDT
Another tale of the undead ... only these ones aren't zombies.
IN the sleepy mid-western American town of Wausau, Wisconsin, something strange is happening. A mysterious event known as "Revival Day" has brought the recently deceased back to life.
Dubbed "revivers" or "revitalised citizens", the newly risen dead are not mindless zombies like those fromThe Walking Dead. In fact, they still act and behave like normal people, just as they were before they died.
Some of these revivers take the experience well and just continue with their lives, though others can't come to grips with it and their state of mind is affected.
Complications arise as the living are forced to live side by side with the revivers, and it is not long before protagonist Dana Cypress, a local cop, is called into action to investigate strange events that have shaken up the community.
Each issue of Revival is structured like an episode of a TV show with multi-layered stories that follow different characters.
Apart from Dana, Revival follows the exploits of her younger sister Em who, we discover by the end of the first issue, is also a reviver.
The book also provides a third point of view from the perspective of reporter May Tao, who is determined to uncover the truth behind the event.
Like an episode of The X-Files, the story skilfully balances the elements of mystery, horror and drama that pull all the different characters together.
It certainly is interesting to see the characters debate the implications of a world where people who die don't stay dead.
Even the US Government gets in on the action, imposing a quarantine on the town. It makes for a tense situation as both the living and the revivers have to get along within this confined area.
To be honest, artist Mike Norton's art style is not as realistic or gritty as it should be to match the serious tone of the story. It is a shame that Jenny Frison's beautiful, eye-catching cover art is not echoed in the book's interiors.
On the plus side, Norton's art does successfully capture the look and feel of rural America showing the snow-covered, open expanses of the farmlands and backwoods of Wisconsin.
And he does give ample variety to the characters, from their style of dressing to their facial expressions when talking or reacting to danger.
Sure, the first issue is rather slow-moving as the story builds the suspense before the reader's first encounter with a reviver.
But once you get past it and move on to the second and third book, Revival successfully hooks you and keeps you reading to see what happens next.
Be warned, though, that Revival is not for young readers; there is a lot of strong language and some brutal violence.
Having said that, Revival Vol 1: You're Among Friends serves as a great trade paperback that collects the first five issues of the series and serves as the perfect gateway into this world of supernatural mystery.
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