Review: Shotgun Boy, Bustin’ in With a BANG?!
**TRIGGER WARNING – The following content may not be suitable for young viewers. The following webcomic contains implied depictions of school shootings, gun violence, body horror, and other disturbing scenes. Reader discretion is advised. **
Isolated in the wilderness of the mountains, a school retreat becomes the perfect target for a grisly disaster.
By the darkening twilight, Gyunhwan, a high school student, makes a desperate escape from his abusive bullies. As he runs for the backwoods bordering the school retreat, he happens upon an abandoned shotgun and just enough shells for his heartless classmates.
By the looks of it, we can all guess how this will end.
However, an unexpected turn of events spells a drastically different type of tragedy for our bully victim Gyunhwan. What awaits him when he returns with arms to his school retreat?
His classmates, possessed by brain-eating monsters!!
SHOTGUN BOY…the newest webcomic written by Carnby Kim and illustrated by Hongpil has arrived.
Shotgun Boy marks Kim’s fourth webcomic featured on Webtoon and comes as a prequel to Sweet Home, arguably his most renowned work. Sweet Home follows a disparate group of personalities fighting human-turned-monsters in order to survive a post-apocalyptic world. Netflix has recently adapted the webcomic into a live-action original series.
Shotgun Boy vs. Sweet Home
So how does Shotgun Boy compare to Sweet Home? Following suit to its predecessor, Shotgun Boy takes on a similarly dark, horror-esque tone. Readers be forewarned: this story is not for the faint of heart! There are depictions of violence and other disturbing imagery, giving this comic a solid PG-13 rating (or up).
Although Shotgun Boy and Sweet Home are illustrated by different artists (Hongpil and Youngchan Hwang respectively), Hongpil pays homage to the original and keeps the style relatively cohesive. However, they also add slight twists that set Shotgun Boy apart.
Both comics employ muted color schemes, as expected for a horror manhwa. However, Shotgun Boy’s uses a palette primarily composed of blues and grays, whereas Sweet Home’s uses a palette primarily composed of browns and reds.
Sweet Home‘s color scheme casts the scenes in an eerie glow resembling dried blood. It sets a dire mood that is befitting to an ongoing apocalypse. By comparison, the cooler palette Hongpil uses in Shotgun Boy, sets a more foreboding, mysterious atmosphere. As this story takes place before the apocalypse, the shadowy atmosphere must build readers’ anticipation. While the red tones create a constant state of panic, the dark colors leave readers curiously unsettled; it plays with what is actually shown versus what is left lurking unseen. We’re not supposed to know what’s coming around the corner, but we want to find out. The more the shadows leave us wondering, the more our imaginations run wild with all the possibilities of what is to come.
My Impressions of Episodes 0-4
Right from the get-go, you can tell Kim is a master at suspense: he keeps his chapters short, but effective, ending at the point highest tension. He begins the webcomic with a particularly evocative and violent prologue that immediately catches the readers’ attention (and boy, does it work to set the tone for what is sure to come). The pacing of the next few chapters is quick; the story picks up in medias res, without much explanation to the MC’s backstory. Kim chooses to ‘show’ characterization rather than ‘tell’ it through lengthy exposition. This leaves room for readers to discover the characters’ full backstories over time through their actions and dialogue.
As of now, the story focuses on an entirely new cast of characters, although, it may make reference to Sweet Home‘s characters later on. It is still too early to fully determine the trajectory of the webcomic, but the beginning chapters suggest a potentially similar set up to Sweet Home: an odd crew of individuals fighting for survival. Gyunhwan likely will band together with a small group of classmates who’ve survived the monsters’ onslaught, battling for their lives within the area of their retreat’s encampment.
It will be interesting to see how the plot and character arcs play out. My hope is that the author will continue balancing character and story equally, developing characters in relation to each other whilst propelling the action forward. The first few chapters seem promising, and I believe, at the very least, we’re in for one entertaining ride. For those of you who are into the horror/thriller genre, I urge you to check this webcomic out!
Shotgun Boy updates every Wednesday on Webtoon. Currently, 0-5 Chapters can be accessed for free. For those who have Webtoon accounts, episodes 6-8 can be purchased at 5 coin per episode. Click HERE to read today!
I’ll catch y’all at the next review! Until then….back to binge-reading.
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T. Wu is a contributing writer at All Ages of Geek. You can follow T. @kata_the_clown on Instagram.