Family Comic Friday: A Review of The Mannamong
Welcome to a new year and new round of Family Comic Friday. This week we review an indy comic series that recently had its first set of stories collected in both trade paperback and digital formats. Set in an alternate world where magic and myth are real, a young girl discovers that there’s more to the folk stories told to her by her mother in Michael Adam Lengyel’s The Mannamong.
Story and art by Michael Adam Lengyel
Published by: Self Published
Kali Teal is near death with a terrible fever at the beginning of this series. On a very stormy night, her mother attempts to rush her to a hospital. But flooding causes the pair to take shelter in a cave.
Trying to calm her daughter, Kali’s mother tells her of the legend of Mannamong. The Mannamong are elemental sprites that maintain balance and order for Mother Nature over the earth. As Kali’s temperature spikes, she dreams that she has visited the realm of these mythic guardians and that her fever was due to plagued by a rogue Mannamong empowered with by flame and fire.
When Kali awakens, her fever is broken and she is miraculously healed. Of course, the fever wasn’t really because of a fire elemental. Mannamongs are the thing of fairytale. That is until Kali comes face-to-face with the very Mannamong that was sickening her in her dream!
Now Kali has a choice: does the rat out the fire imp to his kindlings or will she go on the Mannamong’s promised journey into spirit realm?
The Mannamong is one of those series that must be experienced to fully enjoyed. I fear I didn’t give such a great description of the first issue. But, I kinda felt the same way when I first read the official synopsis of the book. But I am so glad I stuck with it, because the story itself is really good.
I really enjoyed the borrowed culture aspect of this dynamic series. It incorporates legends from many different cultures and beliefs. But the biggest influence appears to be of various Native American tribes.
You can really see the Native American influence in the artwork. When Kali’s mother tells of the origin of the Mannamong, the legend’s imagery looks Mayan or Aztec. Plus in future issues, there’s a shaman-type character that looks like Dances With Wolves’ Graham Greene in a mid-West style leather jacket.
The artwork varies somewhat when in the realm of the Mannamong. Fans of Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh will enjoy these scenes as the elementals look like they were designed for an Anime-type battle series. Very creative and colorful throughout are these Mannamong.
A couple of elements to this series may put up a red flag or two for parents or guardians. First, that shaman character I mentioned earlier. He smokes and that may offend some. It didn’t bother me, but I understand that representations of smoking in young adult material is considered taboo these days.
The main factor that may not be suitable for all-ages is the initial bonding of Kali to the Mannamong. There is a touch of The Exorcist here, as Kali’s illness could be considered a sort of demonic possession. There’s also a lot of magic and supernatural aspects to this series and may not be suitable in households that frown upon that sort of thing.
As with all my Family Comic Friday reviews, I don’t tell adults that a child shouldn’t read a book because of certain elements. I base my score on the quality of the art, editing and storytelling. But I do inform of parts of the book that might not be suitable for all as I feel that parents need to be fully informed about the reading material of their children.
If Harry Potter or The Last Airbender are franchises deemed off-limits due to age or religion, then The Mannamong is going to be on that list. But if Mom and Dad are Potterheads along with little Billy and Suzy, then you are going to love The Mannamong. And though this book is geared for readers around 8-12, this is a series full of wonder and magic that can be enjoyed by adults as well!
For more Family Comic Friday and other reviews, check out my blog: Madman with a Book!
Explore the World of the Mannamong
The worlds of myth and reality combine in the Mannamong. If you or the young reader in your life has read it, give us a short review in the comments section below.