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Jack Frost, Vols. 7 – 9

Welcome and apologies for this slightly belated weekly review! This week I’ll be taking a look a the Yen Press release of Jack Frost, Vols. 7 – 9, but first, a few bits of pieces that caught my attention this past week.

 

 

And now, onto this weeks review of Jack Frost, Vols. 7 – 9!

Jack Frost, Vol. 8Jack Frost, Vols. 7 – 9
By JonHo Ko
Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)

About five years ago I read and reviewed the first volume of Jack Frost for the now defunct Manga Recon. At the time I was taken by the slick artwork and intense action scenes, but not much else. After all that time I’ve finally returned to the series with Jack Frost, Vols. 7 – 9. After so long and so many volumes, surely things have improved and the story’s developed nicely! For those who don’t know, Jack Frost tells the tale of a world between worlds known as Amityville. Here souls leave the karmic cycle and take part in the struggle for a being known as Mirror Image. This time around it’s young Noh-Ah, and her guardian in this strange afterlife has been the violent and enigmatic man known as Jack Frost.

Initially I thought these volumes might be a nice jumping on point, or a nice point to return to the series. Jack Frost, Vol. 7 starts off with a very angry Noh-Ah flexing her powers and demanding that Jack Frost tell her what happened to her father, and from there readers find themselves trapped in a three volume flashback! During this extended sequence we’re treated to events that lead up to the birth of Noh-Ah and that set status quo for Amityville at the beginning of the series. Unfortunately, not having read the intervening volumes there are several characters and items that are clearly supposed to be important, but ultimately mean nothing to me. These volumes are clearly meant to be full of revelations, but only half of them clicked with me as a returning reader. The story it tells focuses on Jack the Ripper and his struggle against everyone and everything as he attempts to defend the previous Mirror Image in Amityville. Sadly much of this arcs importance hinges on a burgeoning romance between the two, and there’s absolutely no chemistry between them. The Mirror Image is a blank slate, virtually without personality beyond a tragic past. She’s incredibly passive to the point that she feels less like a character and more like a device to move the plot along. Jack the Ripper fairs a little better, coming off as someone who’s trapped between forces he can’t control and only wanting to be done with it all.

Page from Jack Frost, Vol. 7
JonHo Ko’s art is pretty slick. Everyone’s got sharp, angular features and their designs look like they’re trying their hardest to look like fashion models, while dressing and looking like fashion models. The action scenes are ok, and at first glance they look very impressive. Ko does a nice job at depicting motion and impact, but sadly this often comes at the expense of clarity and actual panel to panel flow. The panels are often a cluttered array of speed lines, impact lines, rubble and more in an attempt to distract from it’s lack of flow or story telling. I had also forgotten just how incredibly violent this series was. Limbs and heads go flying on multiple occasions, and people are impaled, run through and otherwise hacked to bits repeatedly. The women are almost entirely designed with an eye towards the sexy, femme fatale cliche, with up skirt panty shots liberally scattered throughout to satisfy those fan service needs.

While Jack Frost, Vols. 7 – 9 form a clearly key arc for the series as a whole, the volumes lack any real hook for newcomers or returning readers. The characters are still fairly flat and one note, but the series’ art is slick and impressive looking enough to warrant a flip through. In the end, it really feels like Jack Frost is coasting on it’s mixture of ultra violence and fan service.

Jack Frost, Vols. 7 – 9 is available now from Yen Press.

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