By Dustin Cabeal
S.O.S. is the second Mangatravellers title I’m reviewing today, but unlike the first review, I have a harder time calling S.O.S. a manga. Really, I would still rather just call everything comics since that’s what they are and I don’t see the point of using regional terms outside of said region, but that’s for another day.
The story for S.o.S. is a bit bonkers. An eccentric professor has a found an infinite power source, and so, of course, the world is fighting for it. It starts with one group coming to see the professor, and without showing credentials or truly establishing how they are, they’re given a demonstration of the device the professor has worked on. At some point, the janitor gets swept up into things, possible when the Ninjas arrive… or the Russians… or the Nazis. Yes, the fucking Nazis show up in full gear, and all of them start shooting up the college. The guys there to “save” the professor seem legit, but they also are taken down fairly easily leaving the janitor, the professor and his beautiful ex-KGB assistant to fend for themselves.
The nice thing about this story is that there’s so much action that it never slows down. I blew through this story because there was just that much action. The story needs some work. There were too many assumptions on the readers part, and it was never clear how all of these people found the professor at the same time. It was just, “Hey, fucking Ninjas, Commies, and Nazis…” Which, if you’re going to go bonkers and pair a bunch of bad guys in a story rivaling each other, it’s a good group to have. Just make sure that you explain a bit of how and why they’re there other than “endless power source.” Because at that point the entire world would be fighting each other for it and probably a smarter solution would be to create it for everyone before telling anyone. The dialogue also needed some work. There’s too many random jokes and people talking under their breath which broke the flow of the scene.
I’m torn on the artwork. On the one hand, there’s a lot of detail, and the action is decent. Some of the action sequences could have used a few more panels which I know is crazy to say. If you’ve read S.O.S., then you know that there’s a ton of action, but the flow was broken too often. On the other hand, I didn’t particularly fall in love with the designs of the characters. They’re alright, but I might need to spend some more time with them to like them. It was just a weird amalgamation of groups, and some of them looked good, and others looked really out of place.
S.O.S. grabbed my attention. I’m curious about the story and what will come next, but I do worry about the pacing and the dialogue. Those need to be tuned up a bit more, which is strange since it’s the same duo that wrote R.u.N. As it stands though, it’s worth a read. Either check out the first trade or read it online, link below.
Writers: Raphael Voutsidis and Kariofillis Christos Hatzopoulos
Artist: Edgy Ziane