No. 9: Trace

By Yeong-Hun Go

Serialized on Daum

trace 1

Genres: Manhwa, Action, Drama, Sci-fi, Superpower, (Supernatural), (Romance)

Status: Completed

Synopsis:

The story set in the contemporary South Korea. Some 30 years ago, unidentified creatures appeared out of nowhere and have attacked people. They have caused massive destruction wherever they go. The monsters are called “Trouble”, and get the world have fallen into chaos. Along with the first appearance of the “Troubles”, some number of humans were born with or acquired supernatural abilities. These mutants called “Trace” are the only ones who can fight off the “Trouble”. The “Trace” are also considered freaks and generally shunned by the community because some of them misused the powers for their own interest.

The plot revolves around two main characters. Sah Gang-kwon, a high school student born as a “Trace” who attempts to hide his ability. The other is Kim Yun-Seong, who acquired his “Trace” abilities during his early 30s. Soon after the acquisition, his wife and daughter were taken away from him for experimental purposes.
(Source: Wikipedia)

Three cheers for yet another webtoon on the manga countdown!

Only looking at the synopsis, there is nothing impressive about the setting of this manhwa. To tell you the truth, a few chapters into the story, this is exactly what I thought, too. How wrong I was!

At first, it seems like the main protagonist of this story would be a high school student, a norm for manga and manhwa alike. However, only after a few chapters, the narration switches to a middle-aged married man, which captured my attention immediately. The story only gets better from there. Readers slowly gather bits and pieces along with our confused main protagonists, information which helped our middle-aged father to make a daring rescue plan.

Things only get more surprising from there. Then, comes our (secret) 3rd main character, a person whom previously readers would dislike with all possibility. With the magical power of Korean drama, this arc is turned into an extremely emotion-rich, tears-filled episode. By the end of the arc, I guarantee that readers will come to like the main character.

If all this still doesn’t convince you to read this, consider the genres I tagged Trace with: Action, Drama, Romance, Sci-fi, Superpower, and Supernatural. How can one piece of work fits all these genres together, especially drama, sci-fi, and supernatural. And I tell you, the author did, superbly, with grace, and weaved a fantastic multi-perspective story full of twists and turns that mind-f*cks your brain. So yes, if you are the type of reader that enjoys complexity of characters and plot, this should be reason enough for an all-nighter (seriously, that’s what I did).

Finally, I should comment a little bit about the art. I have read in people’s reviews that they loved the art. Personally, I actually dislike the art in Trace. My best attempt at describing the art style would be that the author draw lines thick and hard. For example, the face is drawn with straighter lines than usual. Another feature is that people are drawn more appropriate to real life (i.e. a middle-aged person would have wrinkles on his face).

here is a picture that accurately reflect the author's art style at its worst

here is a picture that accurately reflect the author’s art style at its worst (or not)

Note: It took me a long time to decide whether or not to put “tragedy” as one of the genres, and I decided against it. The reason being, obviously, the story doesn’t end in tragedy! Nevertheless, there are quite a big amount of tragic material in this story.


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