Sunbi has inherited a respected legacy – all the women in her family are shamans, working to negotiate harmony between the human and spirit worlds. Sunbi’s own mother is rumored to have gone mad from too much power, and when she died and her father left for Seoul, Sunbi was left to grow up under her grandmother Okboon’s care. At first, Sunbi loves the magic only the women in her family can see – the roguish Dokebi, or trickster spirits, and the great dragon spirit that grants plentiful fishing. Most people of her village, no matter how much they believe in the spirits, know the rumors about her mother and treat Sunbi as a freak. She quickly learns to hide away her power, but the damage is done and she reaches her teen years increasingly isolated. “Normal” people find her aloof and she in turn cannot tolerate those who think she’s a magical menace waiting to be provoked. This first volume contrasts the warm memories of Sunbi’s time with her grandmother with her stark present living with a distant father and his new wife and step-daughter. The art is expressive, especially showing Sunbi and Okboon’s exhileration in performing their craft, and the summoned creatures are majestic and vivid. Korean manhwa publisher Netcomics still hits a few bumps in the translation with a couple of awkward word choices, but this title is by far the best from them so far. The gentle unfolding of the story accentuates the feelings of family, duty, and identity at the heart of this tale, and this beginning hints tantalizingly at a lot more to come.
Dokebi Bride, vol. 1