Snow, vol. 1

The dreaded Warmongers are burning their way across the galaxy and nothing is going to stand in their way. Their latest creation, the Ghost of Destruction, is a weapon of such terrifying power that whole planets crumble when it is unleashed. One lone world called Hub has managed to survive, mainly because it is located out on the remote backwater end of the galaxy, far from any other planets. The inhabitants are a mismatched jumble of pirates, loners, gangsters, and thieves the perfect place for a scarred refugee named Snow. He’s come to Hub to hide, but when he finds himself mixed up with Katarina, a Robin Hood-style thief, and her gang, the Crows, Snow must decide if he is going to fight to save the group which has taken him in and the world on which they live.

I had high hopes for Luthi’s first book. The cover is terrific and there is far too little really good comic science fiction. Unfortunately after I finished reading Snow, I realized that there is still far too little good comic science fiction. It’s not that Snow is bad, but it just isn’t enough and it is too much all at the same time. Luthi falls into the trap which seems common to a lot of original English-language manga: he tells too much too soon. So much is revealed in book one that I have no reason to hanker for book two. If Luthi had teased us with elements of what he reveals, if he had allowed us to see parts of his characters, but never the whole, then we would be eager to know more and ready to read the next book. But because too much is revealed too soon, little time is taken for character development. By the end of the book I didn’t feel I knew Snow or Katarina any better than I did when I started reading, even though I knew more about them.

On top of that, Luthi’s cartoonish style of art is jarring in connection with his more serious story. I could never decide if the tale was meant to be funny, ironic, or adventurous. In the end, I’m not sure if the problem lies with a new, inexperienced manga-ka or if the problem lies with Tokyopop’s widely spaced release schedule for OEL manga. With a year or more between volumes, maybe Luthi was just worried that a second volume might never come, so he felt he needed to tell all the important elements of his story in volume one. An optional purchase for libraries where OEL manga circulates well.

Snow, vol. 1
By Morgan Luthi
ISBN: 9781598167436
Tokyopop, 2006