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Mark of the Succubus, Volume 1 by Ashly…
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Mark of the Succubus, Volume 1

by Ashly Raiti

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i liked the artwork a lot: very definitely drawn, with a lot of expression and characterization - for that reason though, more obviously owing a lot to American comics. the whole succubus-in-training thing is cute, but the high school setting's kinda banal (unless, i suppose, the reader's of that age), and not a whole lot happens. the teacher incubus and the enslaved imp are interesting characters, though, and Maeve's pleasant but bland excursion into human life suddenly sours at the end when her registered victim turns out to be the boy she's getting to be friends with. so this series does have possibilities, but it's really too early to tell whether it will realize any of them when the story progresses. it's not bad, but on the surface the story doesn't look to be reaching for anything very original either. #1 of any manga, though, isn't necessarily where the reader finds out where the artists plan to take it. ( )
  macha | Jun 15, 2012 |
The best thing I can say about this book is that it's Not That Bad. It could have been worse.

The male characters are generally drawn pretty well, and the older women look OK. But for some reason, the female lead Maeve is drawn much more 'anime' than the rest. Her eyes are bigger, her hair more cartoon-like...and she's a chubby little succubus-in-training. She might be cute but she's definitely not sexy or seductive...I guess that would be the 'in-training' part?

Other than the fact that she looks out of place, Maeve is an alright heroine. Most of the characters seem underdeveloped, since we don't really learn all that much about them, but they have a strong start for a first volume. The series goes on up 'til at least Volume 3 and I wouldn't mind reading it if it came around. But it's definitely not something I would go out of my way to find. ( )
  makaiju | Apr 2, 2010 |
This review was originally written for the website ListerX.com, which is now defunct. It can also be found on my blog, The Graphic Librarian.

Cover
For the most part, the cover nicely conveys the overall style of this ameri-manga. The lacy borders and stone-worked title give the cover a decidedly gothic feel . Although at first the lace feels like a bit much, it compliments Maeve's eyes and lips nicely. I found myself especially enjoying the painterly aspect of both Maeve and Aiden's characters. It carries a stronger visual impact for me than cell-coloring does. However the decision to use seemingly generic clips from the story as a background weakens what could have been an amazing cover. I think it's due to the painterly aspects that I find myself wishing for a real background instead. Nevertheless, this cover does exactly what it's supposed to - giving an excellent sense of the story and drawing your eye to it on the shelf. On the back, the same dark, gothic feeling still exists, but you also get a sense of this story's sense of humor, as well - mostly due to the chibis of Maeve and her teacher, Veril, having a bit of fun in what appear to be bumper cars.

Artwork
Detailed yet simple - sketchy, yet smooth. Although that description may sound oxymoronic those words describe this ameri-manga's art style perfectly. The lines are crisp and clean, but the shading has a wonderfully refreshing sketchiness to it. It's not something I see a lot in regular manga, but I really love the artistic effect it creates. The contrast of the smooth lines and sketchy shading really appeals to me. The backgrounds follow the same pattern of simplicity vs. complexity. Sometimes they're incredibly detailed and other times almost completely bare, yet the artists always manages to use just the right amount of detail necessary for each particular scene. Another thing I really like about this artist's style is the ease with which she seems to draw facial expressions. Whatever the characters are feeling, no matter what their mood may be, it's conveyed with rhythm and clarity. Body proportions are given the same attention to detail as everything else - excellent. Honestly, this art has literally blown me away. In fact the only thing that might be construed as a complaint would be my slight dislike of Maeve's fashion sense while in the human world. However, I think this may be the artist's way of reminding the reader that no matter how normal Maeve may look, she's very much a stranger in a strange land.

Plot
**Possible Spoilers Warning**

It was really hard for me to figure out how best to go about describing how I felt about this first volume. The plot is almost as much of any oxymoron as the artwork is. It doesn't seem like much happens in this volume and yet when I stop and look back on it, it's obvious that a great deal happened in regards to setting up the plot for future volumes. Without all of the information fed to the reader in V.01, the following volumes would most likely make no sense whatsoever. So, while it seems like not much has happened when this volume ends, that's actually far from the truth. The story quickly introduces you to all of the major players. First we meet Aiden Landis, his best friend Devin Wilshire, and Aiden's girlfriend Sandra - all of them typical, every day high school students (although Sandra seems a bit more shallow and superficial than most.) Next we meet Maeve, a succubus-in-training, and Veril, an incubus who is also her friend and tutor. Maeve is making final preparations before making her first journey into the human world, and Veril (acting very much like a doting father) is assisting her with the arrangements. Finally we're introduced to Sylne, a very powerful succubus with her own personal agenda, and an imp named Junael who's been unwillingly enslaved to do Sylne's every bidding. She immediately orders him to follow Maeve to the human world and keep an eye on her - presumably to catch her in a mistake.

Once the introductions are out of the way the story opens on Maeve's first day of high school. Almost immediately she meets Aiden and the two quickly become friends, much to the dismay of Sandra and the delight of Devin, who's always thought his friend deserved much better. Things pass quickly from this point as Veril helps Maeve study for her upcoming succubus exam, and Devin tries to convince Aiden that Maeve is a worthy girlfriend candidate (despite her somewhat odd quirks.) Of course, Maeve being what she is, the fun can't last forever and the pressures to ace her exam are mounting. But even if she passes, will Maeve have what it takes to claim her first victim? And what will happen if she doesn't?

Extras
Two mini comic strips at the end - one focusing on Maeve as a kitten and the other on Devin. . . being Devin. ;-)

Content Warnings
Language = Yes; it's not profuse, but it IS there.

Violence = Very mild stuff - no blood or gore.

Nudity = No - just some suggestive clothing.

Sexual Situations = Well, the whole idea of incubi & succubi has sexual connotations, but, no, there's nothing blatantly sexual in this volume.

Ratings
Cover - 8/10 - Eye-catching, with very few flaws.

Artwork - 9/10 - Almost perfect. However, based on what others have said, you'll probably either really like or really hate this style. Obviously, I loved it!

Plot - 7/10 - Somewhat slow and predictable, but the characters are fun and the story seems very well-planned. I expect the pace will pick up in future volumes.

Overall - 8/10 - A very promising first volume. While the slow pace may bother some, the enjoyable banter between characters keeps things fun & the artwork grabs your attention and doesn't let go. ( )
  purpledragon42 | Jan 2, 2007 |
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Meet Aiden, your average high school student, whose life is about to be complicated by succubus-in-training, Maeve, who is sent to the human world to hone her skills of seduction.

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