Banya The Explosive Delivery Man
Artist: Housui Yamazaki
Publisher: Dark Horse Manhwa
Graphic-novel enthusiasts never had it so good. The manga boom of recent times, which has led to a number of classic titles from Japan being released internationally, is in turn fostering interest (and consequently, growth) in other nascent comic-book markets, such as Korea. One of the first Korean manhwa to be given a US release is this delightful fantasy title, translated by Derek Kirk Kim (who incidentally is a well-known figure in the US comic scene) and his mother Taesoon Kang, and published by Dark Horse.
The delivery men in the Gaya Desert Post Office run a thriving operation in a fantastic world where a widespread war rages between humans and monsters called Torren. These workers are the ultimate work-for-hire employees – ”˜fast, precise, secure’ being their motto, they deliver anything anywhere for the right price and Banya is the craftiest, most resourceful one of them. The introductory chapter showcases this perfectly, as Banya works his way through waves of monstrous Torren as they lay siege to a fort, overtakes them and manages to deliver his message to the fort’s general. And then accepts an offer for express message delivery back through the same army he just waded through.
Kim Young-Oh crafts a tale with just the right combination of fantasy, action and humour to whet your appetite and leave you craving for more. The man is equally masterful at dialogues and situational humour as he is in drawing detailed, sprawling desert landscapes. Over the subsequent chapters in the volume, we are introduced to the supporting cast, the cute Mei and the trusty sidekick Kong ”“ and a storyline that involves a mysterious wounded man and a band of sinister pursuers. So far so good, but I am guessing it will be another couple of volumes before we get to figure out if Banya is all froth and fury, or if Kim Young-Oh has a deeper story to tell.