While I applaud what Netcomics is trying to do with their Manhwa Novella Collection (showcase manhwa stories from prominent Korean comic authors/illustrators), I was disappointed by the first volume. Lee’s work is stilted and awkward, even though this book didn’t have the painful translation problems like some other Netcomics titles. None of the stories are developed or plotted well. The first story recounts a girl who plays a cruel trick on a boy with amnesia, the second story shows a girl dared to kiss a naive boy she sees in a cafe, and the third follows a girl who fights with a stranger and then finds out he’s her new math teacher. The romance is thrown in at the end, so it is completely unbelievable and the plots often drift away in the finales, as if Lee wasn’t sure how to wrap things up. While the character portraits spread throughout the book can be interesting and do show some personality, the characters drawn within these three stories are flatter than the paper they’re printed on. They barely change expression, except for opening their mouths wide in shock, and their eyes never show any thoughts or feelings. In a field where other artists can convey whole sentences just by drawing the expression in one eye, Lee’s characters’ paper doll qualities are even more glaring. A (mostly off screen) rape scene, some alcohol use, and a smattering of language make this title for older teens, but don’t waste your money or time. There’s better shojo out there.
Lie to Me
By Youngran Lee