The Infernal Devices Manga #1
Artwork: HyeKyung Baek
Received from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
A manga-adaption to the prequel of Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, The Infernal Devices
is the story of Tessa Gray, a sixteen-year-old American girl traveling
alone to Victorian London who runs afoul of the city's sordid
supernatural underworld. Rescued by the Shadowhunters of the London
Institute, Tessa quickly finds herself caught up in an intrigue that may
very well destroy her new friends - including the two enigmatic young
men, Jem and Will, who have taken her under their wing...
This review is going to be a small departure from my typical reviews as The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel is my first foray into manga, and the experience was such an intriguingly distinctive one from simply reading black and white text on a page that it seemed necessary to present my thoughts in a slightly different way. First and foremost, it took a bit of time for me to settle into a format where what is drawn is every bit as important and carries as much weight as what is actually written, the expressions on the faces of Will, Jem and Tessa communicating the emotional element of the story and proving the old adage of pictures being worth a thousand words to be in many ways true.
The artwork by Hyekyung Baek is beautiful, the exaggerated size of the eyes often drawing my gaze and holding it captive, my mind churning out possibility after possibility of all that’s being said through their expressiveness that’s not actually written in the dialog box next to them. My one wish for the illustrations is with regard to Will (pictured on the cover), I’d hoped his trademark sarcasm and wit might play out a little more in the features of his face – the lift of a sardonic brow here or a smirk there in the delivery of his infamous one-liners – but to my slight disappointment his face remained rather stoic throughout aside from the aforementioned ocular embellishment.
I had worried going into this graphic novel that it would be difficult to keep track of who was talking given the facial features of the characters themselves are fairly similar across the board – large eyes, small pixie noses, and an abundance of hair on their heads – but I quickly found there to be little issue in this department, each individual easily distinguishable and recognizable throughout. The only confusion for me came during action sequences, many times the telltale sound effects like “thwack”, “swoosh” and “bam” not providing all that much clarity as to what exactly was taking place. Was someone being punched? Is something on fire? Did someone just die? Without any specific descriptions, the fight scenes often left me blinking, struggling to remember the details of the novel itself to help guide me through.
Though I prefer the character depth and intimacy created in the novel to the more superficial relaying of key events in the manga, it was still a joy to read and certainly a new and entertaining way to spend time in an utterly fascinating world. I certainly look forward to continuing with this series, as there’s something mesmerizing about seeing beloved characters presented in another dimension – their illustrated faces as much fun to study as Cassandra Clare’s words are to imagine.
*It should be noted that I have absolutely no basis for comparison with this rating as this is my first manga, so I went with a 4/5 strictly based on entertainment value alone:)