Manga Bible #4: Traitors, Kings, and the Big Break

Manga Bible #4: Traitors, Kings, and the Big Break (2008)
by Zondervan
160 Pages - Black and White [ Biblical / Comedy ]

Writer - Young Shin Lee
Artist - Jung Sun Hwang

Publisher summary: In book four of the manga Bible, we see the waning days of King David's dynasty through the rule of Solomon and the division of Israel from Judah. When the corrupted Solomon dies, the line of Judah's kings goes from bad to worse. When the evil King Ahab finally confronts the prophet Elijah on Mt. Carmel, Baals' prophets are destroyed. God takes Elijah to heaven in a flaming chariot. Elisha, his successor, ministers to the good King Joash and Israel and Judah both rediscover their commitments to the Lord.

Reviewer: UC Pseudonym | Contact | 31 August 2008

Strangely enough, the erratic and rushed style of this series actually works fairly well for the period of the separated kingdoms. The rise and fall of kings really was about that hectic, so it doesn’t seem much more scattered than the biblical account. Actually, if everyone was required to read one volume of Manga Bible, I’d recommend this one: it’s a period of history that few people seem to understand on the large scale.

It begins with the life of Solomon, which is surprisingly short given his status as the last king of unified Israel. After that comes the break and the many brief events that come after it, which really feel much the same as the overall tone of the work. But I have to say, it’s nice to see the temple covered in just a single diagram…

There were a few odd traits in this volume as well. The “Egyptian Daily” includes a photograph that suggests modern Israel – but I suppose I won’t speculate about the potential political motives behind that. Elisha’s bears are fully retained, which could have used some context. However, I have to admit I fell for the initial sight gag involving the golden calves at Dan and Bethel.

Curiously, Elijah’s exit from the mortal coil is our first two-page spread, also the first attempt at making things seem impressive. Here the art style doesn’t work terribly well and I doubt it will create any sense of majesty (though it certainly does dwarf the regular panels). That’s actually part of the difficulty with this series: it is all flippant jokes, no sense of the majesty or drama contained within the biblical narrative.

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