Monday, March 15, 2010

Maximum Ride 1 adapted by Narae Lee

Published in 2009.

Fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride knows what it's like to soar above the world. She and all the members of her "flock" - Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman, and Angel - are just like ordinary kids, except they have wings and can fly! It may seem like a dream come true to some, but for the flock its more like a living nightmare when the mysterious lab known as the "School" turns up and kidnaps their youngest member. Now it's up to Max to organize a rescue, but will help come in time? (book back blurb)

This was my first manga book and it will probably be my last (except for the Labyrinth ones, I'm still seriously considering getting those). First, can someone please tell me how 'manga' is pronounced? I keep saying it like the Italian word for 'eat.' I've also pronounced pilates like pee-lats because I'd never heard it pronounced before. Can someone help me out here?

The thing is, I don't know what's normal for manga and what isn't. It's not like reading a comic book/graphic novel. I like comics. I enjoy them. But this was just weird. For instance, is it normal to have a characters actions spelled out around them (like when a character was shaking, 'shake' was actually written around the character)? I just found that annoying.

I also found the drawings really distracting, probably because they were really detracting from the plot, which was hard to follow because there were more drawings than plot-related words. I had a hard time catching onto the plot because I felt it was buried under the pictures. Every once in a while I'd grasp hold of it and like what I was reading but then I'd lose it again. It'd just get buried underneath all the busy artwork, which I don't even really like. I've always been kind of freaked out by manga-style drawings (way too angular) so that didn't help the book's cause any.

This was another BEA random grab that has taught me to be way more selective about the books I nab this time around. I just saw 'James Patterson' and pretty colors and yoink! Not again.

In all honesty, I can't tell if I liked the story. From what I've gathered of the plot it's not bad. It doesn't sound too much like my thing to read but I've heard good reviews of it. But I'll have to read the actual novels to really find out. So consider this review based purely on the manga aspect of it and not on James Patterson's work. It's safe to say I'm not a manga fan and I won't be picking it up again any time soon (unless it's Labyrinth, I might just suck it up for that). I'll leave this one to the real manga fans out there.


WilowRaven said...

I've never really been a big fan of manga either but I think the elements you noticed are normal. I don't pronounce it 'mangia' (the Italian word for eat) but rather like 'mango' but with an 'a' sound instead of an 'o' sound. I have no idea if I'm right though!

Oh - and you have to give The Labyrinth menga series a try!! If you're a fan of the movie I think you will like it. I personally can't wait for the 4th and final book to come out sometime this summer I believe.

April (BooksandWine) said...

I like manga, and well, the spelling of the action isn't normal for manga. I wouldn't judge all manga based on this one.

I have a copy of this exact book but have yet to read it, but I've read the actual book it was based on, Maximum Ride and I just wasn't that impressed, so maybe the story line could be a big part of the manga not being so great.

And I want to read/obtain the Labyrinth mangas too, I think they'd make a nice edition to my book collection :-)

Stormy said...

Manga (marn-ga is probably the closest to typing out how it's pronounced) can take a bit of getting used to, particularly if it's just something that's been thrown at you or dropped in your lap.

The spelling out of actions, it really depends on the artist's style - there does tend to be a larger amount of spelt-out actions/sound-effects than in western comics, but usually they aren't distracting (again, a YMMV thing, depending on how used you are to the medium).

But what I really came here to say is this: be careful what you wish for when it comes to the Labyrinth manga. The cover art is lovely, gorgeous even. The interior art, not so much. It's rather static, at times looks rather cheap, almost...noobish.

The story are mixed when it comes to this. It was approved by the Henson company, so it is the official sequel, but in truth there are probably some "spiritual successors" that feel closer to the tone of the original than this does.

I've only read the first two...and for my 2c, it's ok. It's not the most brilliant thing ever, and to be honest, I kind of prefer of prefer Holly Bell's comic ( - again, art is not something that's going to blow you away, but it's at least cute (check out the goblin with the, ah, "hat") and somehow feels more like Labyrinth, which was after all...really a story about very few characters. The official manga - not to spoil much, brings up politics and a neighbouring kingdom and other such things.

...sorry, I'm rambling.

ralfast said...

Manga is all the rage now a days (there is a Twilight, I'll stop now). It is different from some of the Western norms although a lot of American comic book artist have adopted the visual aspect of Japanese comics/animation (big eyes, sweeping motion).

The reason why you find them in graphic novel form is that in Japan, Manga is published mostly in magazines form with several artist publishing in the same magazine, so when sold outside the U.S. it's easier to compile them a certain number of issues in one book.

Just go over the manga section in your local big books store and check it out. They cover a wide variety of subjects, although Yaoi (gay romance) is all the rage these days.

Here is a link that can help:

ralfast said...

Oh, and if you want to understand those funny effects you see in the pages, here is another link:

Donna said...

Ramble on, Stormy! Ramble on!

And thanks for the clarifications, everyone! Still hasn't totally turned me off of the Labyrinth manga!

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