Thursday, November 06, 2014

Book-A-Day 2014 #308: Void's Enigmatic Mansion, Vol. 1 by JiEun Ha & HeeEun Kim

We've talked about wishing stories before. We know how they work. We know that wishes are always bad things: sometimes thoughtless, sometimes heartfelt, sometimes cunning, sometimes cruel. Whatever the intention of the the wisher, the one granting the wish can twist it into the worst possible outcome. A wish story can be comedy or horror, but the message is always that old folk-tale lesson: don't wish.

So we know what to expect from the stylish and gorgeous manwha called Void's Enigmatic Mansion, Vol. 1: it's about a mysterious building, in some city somewhere vaguely Victorian, owned by a little-seen fellow named Void. That house is filled with apartments, each of which will turn out to be the home of a person who wants something. And so there will be wishes, and they will be bad.

This volume tells the complete story of one inhabitant and begins the story of a second; given that the building has seven stories and five or six of them are filled with apartments, there should be room to have at least another dozen or two horrible wishes, assuming two to four apartments per floor. The earnest young man Lavelle will clearly be important, and not as a wisher -- if I followed the implications correctly, wishes must be spoken clearly in his presence to come true. (And they're not entirely supernatural in their actions; the wisher has to actively make his wish come true.)

It's all creepy and atmospheric, but I wonder how long it can go on: there's going to have to be a different payoff for the third or fifth wish, or more details about Void and Lavelle, or this will get very old very quickly. The art is lovely -- full-color paintings by HeeEun Kim, who is also credited with adapting this (though from what, exactly, the book declines to say -- the "original" is credited to JiEun Ha) -- and that could keep interest running for a while longer. But, otherwise, I'm not seeing a strong basis for a continuing series here: it's a setup designed to send one message over and over again, which is only interesting if you're Western Union.

Book-A-Day 2014 Introduction and Index

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