Hello there, allies, archenemies and, everyone in between! So last week, while I was contemplating on finishing my architectural plates and finding something to procrastinate with. I got a sudden urge to read romance once again. Thankfully, Maica @ The Sporadic Readercame to my rescue! THANKYEWWW MAIC *sobs*
This turned out to be my most favorite read of the year! I’ve been deprived of romance for far too long. Sadly, this is quite applicable with books and in my real life.
AMAZING ART STYLE COUPLED WITH SEAMLESS TRANSITIONING
It’s a sin to not appreciate the art style of a manhwa. It’s visually stunning and I really love how clean and seamless the transitions are which is often characteristically true for manhwas. I really love the artstyle and it reminded me so much of Cheese in the Trap (which is also amazing btw) Here are some of the sample clips!
EXPLORES THE COLLEGE EXPERIENCE IN A REALISTIC LIGHT
As a perpetually tired, indifferent, and chaotic college student, I can 100% say that this shows an accurate representation for the struggles, joys, and experience of college life. I seriously can’t enjoy mangas and manhwa that are focused on the high school experience anymore, maybe because it’s too cheesy and no longer resonates for me, which is why I was tearing up in joy when I started reading this. Not only that but it also doesn’t gloss over the struggles of college in general which makes it all the more realistic; it’s probably one of the manhwa’s strongest suits.
I also particularly love how it showed the usual setups in forming relationships in college, how they address their fears and stress academically in their own ways, and ultimately how you can see their growth and welp! regressions from time to time. College is a different playing field and it was really nice to see this kind of rep. I feel seen okay? This also hit me so hard in the right places because I’m graduating next year and I would definitely miss my college years, probably the best and worst formative years of my life (so far).
SHOWS HOW VULNERABLE OUR RELATIONSHIPS ARE NO MATTER HOW STRONG THE FOUNDATION IS
From college best friends, high school friends, upper class-men, and fellow college students, Our relationship is explored the different facets of yes you got it right!
R E L A T I O N S H I P S.
It doesn’t give a simplified version of friendships for example, rather it shows how we all have tendencies to regress and pinpoints the imperfections and struggles in maintaining one. There was a part where Gaeyoung’s relationship with a friend was close to breaking and how the process of mending their relationship was excruciating. I really cried in this part mainly because I also see parallels in my current relationship with my friends, it was so heartbreaking and validating to see at the same time. Like Gaeyoung, I don’t want to drift apart from my friends as well. (I’m also kind of tearing up while writing this) This really offers a nuanced depiction of relationships especially in friendships in all its facets.
ORGANICALLY DEVELOPS THE BEST FRIENDS TO LOVERS TROPE WITHOUT ANY SHORTCUTS
I’ve never read a perfect execution of this trope for quite some time. To be honest, I would really love to have this kind of trope play out in my real life but welp! WE CAN’T HAVE WHAT WE WANT ALWAYS.
Anyways, I really love how organic Woojin and Gaeyoung’s relationship developed into full bloom. Good thing I read this when it was already completed because if not, I would have been crazy mad on waiting for their relationship to progress. I also love the fact how this manhwa shows how ugly and laborious relationships can be. We get to see their POVs and pore over their decisions, laugh at their ridiculousness and naivety, cry out in pain for their stupid stupid stupid selves. *sighs*I love this manhwa so much and they will forever be my ideal vanilla couple! (Proud vanilla here as well! XD) . This is such a wholesome tale for my heart. If you love this trope as well, I guarantee you that you won’t be disappointed.
Title: The War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #1-3
Author: Greg Pak
Date Published: May 8, 2019
Synopsis: As Sindr, Immortal Queen of Muspelheim, and her legions of Fire Demons march on Asia, it’s time for a new band of heroes to unite to protect the Pacific Rim. Having brought together a ragtag team of heroes to defend the Earth from an alien invasion in the past, can Amadeus Cho reassemble his “protectors” — Shang-Chi, Silk and Jimmy Woo to save the world from incineration? And where is Kamala Khan? And just who are Crescent, Io and Luna Snow??? Featuring Marvel’s newest heroes from China, AERO and SWORD MASTER, and a mysterious new Filipino heroine named WAVE
Hello there allies, archenemies and, everyone in between! Today I’ll be doing my first graphic novel review here in my blog and New Agents of Atlas is the perfect fit for this! This also a major tick off for my Year of the Asian Reading Challenge; you can still join in as well!
If you haven’t gathered by now, this issue is set before and after the War of the Realms and while there are a lot of battles happening in this war simultaneously (i.e. outer space, other dimensions, battle at New York, etc.) this one highlighted the Asian heroes defending their own home turfs!
Finally a Filipino representation in Marvel!
There are new faces and old faces but what makes this so compelling is how we FINALLY get to see representation for Asians. For my part, I was very giddy when I found out that there was a Filipino Marvel superhero! It’s not every day that you get yourself represented in an international graphic novel. (Well, unless you’re white that is) I also love how unabashed the first issue is with a not-so-subtle-nod to the current conflict within the Philippines and China.
A diverse Asian cast with funny references to each one’s culture.
There are certain parts where we get to see the Asian superheroes gather together and bicker on FOOD. Yes, food and it’s such a funny and irrelevant part but it also reinforced the unique cultural traits of each Asian subgroup. There’s also an iconic scene with SPAM and it really cracked me up because I never thought that this was a recurring thing between Asian families.
We get to see a KPop sensation as a superhero as well here! There’s a LOT of introduction and at some point, I just can’t help but glow with all the love I feel having to see these superheroes. To punctuate the full “Asian-ness” of this graphic novel, the graphic design team is mostly Asians as well. HMMMYAZ.
Quick and half-baked transitions in terms of action
I salute this graphic novel for introducing an all Asian cast and I was definitely smitten. However, when I settle the Asian filter and looked closely at the storyline, it was pretty much all over the place. Partly because there was too much introduction of new characters and partly because of the urgency in the plot. If this was a little fleshed out more and have taken time to at least establish concrete relationship dynamics, I would have given it a 5-star rating. Maybe it’s understandable because the war was such a sudden drop that it made little room for further exploration, so there’s that.
All in all, this was a fun read for me mainly because of the representation but storywise this was just okay-ish for me. STILL HIGHLY RECOMMENDED THOUGH and I hope people will give this a chance so that we get to see better fleshed out Asian superheroes in the future!
Have you read the New Agents of Atlas as well? What did you think about it?
What’s your take on the diversity present in the graphic novel landscape?