Banya: The explosive deliveryman

Spring has left me unsprung. Here’s a short, just-the-facts review. In the meantime, if you’re looking for some high-quality snark, check out Noah Berlatsky’s attacks on Jeffrey Brown, Art Spiegelman and art comics in general (h/t Mssrs Deppey and Mautner). Whether or not you agree (hey, I like Ware, Sacco and Brunetti), Berlatsky writes a fun hatchet-job. It’s schadenfreude for the masses!


Banya: The explosive deliveryman, Kim Young-Oh. Dark Horse, 2006. $12.95, 184 pages.

Two sides face one another on a battlefield, poised in a moment of silence. And then they attack, clashing furious and violent. Meanwhile a mysterious figure stands alone on an overlooking hill. Having surveyed the combat zone, he sneaks his way through and into the besieged castle at the centre of the conflict. He reaches the castle’s general just in time to save his life and introduce himself:

“I’m…fast, precise, secure. Someone with a delivery. I’m Banya of the postal service.”

Thus begins Banya, a fantasy adventure about couriers. What Kevin Costner’s The Postman did for the postal service in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Banya does for the postal service in fantasy-land. Ever wondered how Aragorn, son of Arathorn sent his Christmas cards to Bloznor, son of Throgden? Then this is the manhwa for you.

Although this high-concept is fun, it’s hamstrung by the generic fantasy setting here. The world of Banya reads as though cobbled together from a couple of old Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manuals. Giant dogs, sand worms, dragons, vicious orcs…sorry, “torren”…all show up in a vaguely medieval period. At least this fantasyland is oriental, so the soldiers and swordsmen are kitted out a little differently from what English-speakers are used to from fifty years of Lord of the Rings rip-offs.

Where Banya shines, however, is Young-Oh’s kinetic and detailed art. He shows his chops early on with a two-page splash of the battlefield, hundreds of soldiers in bloody combat. Young-Oh draws an especially nice forest, the trees narrow and barren, branches ramifying to infinity. He’s tapping into the same romantic idea of the forest as Gustave Dore or Caspar David Friedrich. Against dreamy gothic landscapes like the forest or desert, Young-Oh places his three young protagonists, Banya and his fellow couriers, wide-eyed and fresh-faced adolescents.

The first third of this volume is basically stage-setting, introducing the basic premise and our plucky young courier heroes. The rest of the volume features one specific delivery, which brings the couriers into conflict with some deadly ninja-assassin-soldier types. This plot is unresolved by the end of the volume (a slight 180 pages), making the overall experience a little unsatisfying.

Still, it’s fun and fast-paced. There are worse ways to spend your time.

Recommended? A visceral bit of genre entertainment well executed, if derivative and frustratingly incomplete.

IYL: Lord of the Rings or the general style it inspired of (I’m embarrassed even to type this phrase) “high fantasy” epics.


4 Responses to “Banya: The explosive deliveryman”

  1. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » Mar. 15, 2007: Naruto owns us all Says:

    […] Jones reviews Kim Young-Oh’s Banya: The Explosive Deliveryman. […]

  2. MangaBlog » Blog Archive » Ides of manga Says:

    […] Reviews: Active Anime’s Holly Ellingwood reviews vol. 3 of Oh My Goddess! and the stand-alone book The Day I Became a Butterfly. Down at the Mangamaniaccafe, Julie checks out vol. 1 of Vampire Knight. Connie reluctantly reads volumes 4 and 5 of Astro Boy at Slightly Biased Manga. And at Let’s You and Him Fight, Jones gives the treatment to Banya: The Explosive Deliveryman. […]

  3. How to get free battlefield 4 Says:

    Aw, this was a really good post. Spending some time and actual effort to generate a top
    notch article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and
    never seem to get anything done.

  4. Edgar Says:

    There are several reasons you may want to choose bigger breast implants,
    but before you do you should consider seriously all
    of the possible ways your choice may impact your life. Your chances for
    symmastia are slim, but know that most insurance does not cover breast augmentation
    revision surgeries, and so you will likely be paying out of pocket if you do need
    correctional surgery. The silicone gel will stay in its original shape,
    and the saline solution can be absorbed safely into the body.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: