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Raiders Volume 2

Now that the terror of their first meeting has subsided, Irel begins to wonder if his fear of Lamia is unfounded. Despite her troubling diet, she doesn’t seem to relish the experience of gnawing Irel’s flesh any more than he does. Both share a common goal: to uncover the mysteries surrounding the blood of Christ. If they work together, they might be able to find the answers they seek. But traveling as a pair might only serve to make a bigger target for even greater terrors…

By: JinJun Park
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Horror
Price: $10.99

Volume 2 of Raiders tried to introduce more plot and less zombie munching with a government conspiracy, some actual tomb raiding, and an attempt at character development.  Unfortunately, it’s all just too little, too late.

This volume picks up right where volume 1 left off, with the massive fight in the middle of London.  The four-way battle is short-lived though, and ends with a realignment of several of the main players.  Lamia and Irel are working together now, with Clarion joining them. Irel has decided he would rather Lamia munch on him than on innocent bystanders. They continue the search for the chrism bottles. Detective Chris and Grace team up to go after them, while running from some secret government agency who wants Dr. Langhem’s work and notes.

I still can’t see where, or if, this story has a direction.  This second volume gets our small team of adventurers together with Irel, Lamia and Clarion teaming up.  But instead of taking any time to explain who they are fighting against, a new obstacle is introduced.  The government seems to have taken an interest in Professor Langhem’s research, under the pretense of “national security”, and is collecting it all, killing anyone who might have seen Irel along the way, and that includes Grace, the Professor’s daughter.  Really?  Isn’t the crazy priest and his organization (that no doubt has something to do with the Catholic Church) with a basement full of supernatural creatures enough of a villain?  Is a government conspiracy and coverup really necessary?  The last thing this story needs is another villain we know nothing about.

There was at least some attempt at character development in this volume. Irel and Lamia do come to an understanding, of sorts.  It’s better see them on more equal footing now, than just Irel being Lamia Happy Meal, with their sniping at each other, but the implications that they might become more don’t impress me.  I still have no sympathy for Lamia and her situation.

Clarion, on the other hand, became much more likable in this volume. Her background is explained by another character. In just four panels, she becomes more interesting and sympathetic.  The things she does with Irel suddenly make sense, and it’s easy to feel for her and her situation. I don’t think this is anything great that Park did.  It just that there hasn’t been any real development of any, that to actually get some is thrilling.

I was almost tricked into believing that this story would actually fulfill the promise of its opening chapters.  In the last chapter, Irel, Lamia and Clarion actually do some searching for the chrism bottles, and it was starting to look promising.  Maybe there would be some raiding in Raiders, but, it didn’t last long.  I wonder if anyone will comment about the last few panels.

I wasn’t going to read this volume, but decided to take a chance and see if it had improved. I should have followed my original instincts. If it felt like the title had a real direction, and wasn’t just a series of scenes stuck together, I might be more forgiving. But as it stand now, Raiders will not be raiding any more of my time.

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Lori Henderson is managing editor for Manga Village. She also has a personal manga blog at Manga Xanadu and a personal blog at Fangirl Xanadu. She also contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog. As the mother of two teen daughters, she needs all the escape she can get, which reading and writing about manga gives her.

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