Pandemonium (Curtis)

    (Curtis, 2002)
™ and © Curtis

Curtis Comics has announced an ambitious slate of manhwa (Korean comics) titles, including fantasy, science fiction, horror, action, and extreme sports: a clever move, since most current manga titles skew heavily toward female-skewing romantic comedies. Their first release, Pandemonium, won’t get any points for originality (it reads like a derivative crossbreed of Evil Dead and Doom), the art relies too much on graytones and heavily applied inks, and having a writer with a better grasp of English doing the translation wouldn’t hurt, either.

Still, it never gets bogged down in soap opera or B-plots; it follows the action, moving with a videogame player’s grace, and features an attractive female lead who’s actually smart enough to cover her breasts when going into battle. The only thing really wrong with this comic book is, except for the hero’s name, it’s painfully short on background details. As to who she is and what she’s fighting and why: For that you have to go to the publisher’s website — not exactly the best way to start a new comic book.

— S.A. Bennett

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