Today I’m going to review a Korean webtoon I read on the Spottoon platform, Impulse, written and drawn by Minyong Chung (also spelled Min-Yong Jung on the site?) and translated into English by Kyunghwa Lee. It’s a bit of a dystopian Earth sci-fi, which you all know I’m always a fan of, so sit back and let me tell you about it :D
Like I said, Impulse is part dystopian fiction, part sci-fi. Basically, strange meteorites have been falling to Earth over the past decade, causing plenty of destruction and mayhem. The governments have gotten really good at anti-meteorite ships and missile launchers on top of buildings, though, allowing people to live mostly normal lives.
Unfortunately, as you might be able to predict, this isn’t always sufficient to prevent meteorites from getting though.
When our protagonists are caught in a meteorite landing, they are severely injured, but wake up completely healed, and as they soon find out, with strange new powers.
The story then follows the kids as they try to learn more about their new powers, while dealing with suspicious classmates, terrified city officials and mysterious scientists. Saying more than that would be too much in the way of spoilers ;)
How I Found It:
Like I mentioned earlier, Impulse is one of the Korean webtoons that Spottoon is translating and bringing to the English speaking audience. As part of my backstage pass into Spottoon’s launch they asked me to pick a couple comics to review, and Impulse seemed the coolest to me ;) If you go over to the Spottoon site you can make a free account and read about 10 episodes for free. As more post, they may end up with a $0.99 price tag each issue to support the creators.
What I Like About It:
Impulse, to me, has a lot of good stuff going for it. It’s a dystopian near future with cool sci-fi elements, a genre you know I’m going to love. The setting, premise and plot are intriguing and well written. I could have written the review after just reading a couple episodes, but I wanted to read every episode available to me. The cast of characters is developed well, each with decent amount of real depth and a variety of personalities, backstories, and motivations. And the art is high quality, and visually interesting. Really quite enjoyable.
Things I Think Could Be Better:
I only have 2 real complaints about Impulse. One is the lettering, specifically balloon placement and how sound effects are shown.
Here you can see that the balloons don’t have any tails to indicate who is talking. You can get an idea based on context and trying to get to know the characters, but this sort of problems crops up a couple of times. Also, sometimes the balloon placement on the page can make the order they’re meant to be read in difficult to figure out correctly. Just things to be aware about.
Sound effects are treated a little inconsistently in Impulse. Sometimes they are normal, outside of balloons, different fonts, etc. Sometimes they get their own balloon, complete with tails pointing to the object making the noise. Either way is fine, but the inconsistency on how sound effects are presented it bothersome visually.
Part of my issues with balloons and sound effects may be related to the other issue of translation. For the most part, the English translation is fine. Very rarely (if at all) did some dialogue or words not make sense. It was quite common, though, for the translation to be JUST off enough to obviously not be how a native speaker would phrase something, distracting me from the story at hand. Sometimes balloon size and placement were obviously not designed with the English words and sentences in mind.
Most of that is understandable, as the webtoon was originally in Korean. I do think that the translation could be improved by having a second translator along with Lee. Maybe a native English speaker who also speaks Korean, who could help make sure that the English chosen is more natural and fluent.
Impulse is a well made and enjoyable story. The art is good, the characters are deep, and the plot is intriguing. The translation is adequate, but could be improved, as well as some lettering inconsistencies. Overall, I recommend Impulse to anyone who’s a fan of dystopian sci-fi, and look forward to season 2.
Remember, you can read several episodes of Impulse now, for free, over on Spottoon!