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Phantom
Ross Liversidge
Author: Ross Liversidge

Ross founded the UK Anime Network back in 1995, and following Andy Hanley's retirement has returned to the post of Editor-in-Chief in 2017. What an old man!

Phantom

Distributor
Tokyopop
Author/Artist
Lee & Cho
Price
£6.99

Phantom is one of those manga that I regard as a reason for those purists who deride Korean Manwha (manga influenced Korean comics) to shut the hell up. This is a great comic and frankly one of the best reads I've had in a while.

Phantom concerns the adventures of one "K", a cop who patrols in a giant mech very much in the Patlabor/Appleseed vein. As we join him in the first chapter he's chasing down a rogue mech piloted by a very attractive girl who just can't resist teasing him a little. Her dialogue with her backup tells us that K has been under surveillance for some time, and is a potential ally to this mysterious group. Sure enough, as events unfold, K is drawn into an organisation known as Athena and his anti-terrorist mandate is about to get a whole lot tougher...

The first thing that struck me when leafing through this was the obvious debt of gratitude this series owes to one Masamune Shirow. The style, setup and even the mechs owe a great deal to his Appleseed manga - the use of Greek mythology is classic Shirow, and if he isn't the master of anti-terrorist manga, I don't know who is.

By aping the master, Lee & Cho clearly have lofty ambitions, and so far, they're doing very well. The artwork is great - highly detailed, fast paced and expressive, it really does keep you reading from cover to cover. The plot itself is fairly formulaic, although a few nice touches to the narrative keep things lively.

K is a bit of a pillock, but most male manga leads are, and whilst the translation reads well, some of the characters do sound a little Hollywood at times.

With all that said, I enjoyed this book enormously, and will most certainly be tracking down the next volume as soon as Tokyopop see fit to release it.

7
Well structured and nicely drawn, this is a great Korean manwha and well worth your time.
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