ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Made In Korea,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Made in Korea Volume 1 Review

Content Warning: Made In Korea Volume 1 contains a sequence involving a school shooting. 

Made In Korea Volume 1 is published by Image Comics, written by Jeremy Holt, with art by George Schall, and letters by Adam Wollet. In the not-too-distant future, robotic individuals referred to as proxies have become available for consumers to purchase. These proxies come in a wide variety of styles and functions, with one popular model being designed to look and act like a child. While not possessing true intelligence, these models serve to fill the role of a child for couples who cannot have a child naturally. Until Bill and Suelynn Evans are sent a model with some special modifications.

One of science fiction’s most popular subjects has always been artificial intelligence and what its impact will be on humanity. While the topic is well-covered and generally leads to calamitous results, Made In Korea Volume 1 focuses its story on a rather different question about artificial intelligence(A.I.). It asks how humanity would impact it, rather than the other way around.

When Bill and Suelynn unpack their new proxy child Jesse, they become parents in a far truer sense of the word than they ever could’ve expected. But, when their child reads hundreds of books a day and begins asking deep questions within a week of being activated, the journey quickly goes from difficult to perilous for the young A.I. From the struggles to comprehend why things are different for her than those who seem just like her to handling the manipulations and prejudices some bear towards her, Jesse’s journey through Made In Korea Volume 1 is both emotional and interesting.

While there are some interesting and at times tragic moments that get explored through this story, my biggest complaint with Made In Korea Volume 1 is the general lack of focus in the narrative. While the main character is Jesse, what we are supposed to take away from Jesse’s experiences is unclear at best. There are bad things that happen, along with good, but there doesn’t seem to be any actual solid point to this story. As I set the story down I was left with the overriding feeling of “What’s the point?”. And maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s just a thought exercise about how an A.I. child would experience life? Whatever the case, the wrap-up of the story left me feeling unsatisfied with the overall tale.

While the overarching story of Made In Korea Volume 1 ultimately fell flat for me, I did enjoy the various characters that populate the story. From the rapidly evolving Jesse to her family and others she comes to know, writer Holt manages to keep all the cast grounded firmly in reality. At no point did I struggle to believe these personalities could exist. As unfortunate as that is in some cases.

The straightforward art style utilized by Schall throughout this book helps to reinforce the grounded feeling of the story’s narrative, despite its science-fiction premise. The emotions of the cast are delivered with clarity to the reader. This is especially true in the book’s most intense sequences when the story hits particularly hard.

Wrapping up the presentation here is Wollet’s lettering. The story is presented through a clear and easy-to-read style whose simplicity feels perfectly at home with the book’s art.

When all is said and done, Made In Korea Volume 1 delivers an emotional story that is engaging until the ending petters out. While it doesn’t feel like it neither asks clearly defined questions or offers any answers, it nonetheless provides some curious thoughts about what a new A.I. may experience in our world.

Made In Korea Volume 1 is available wherever comics are sold January 26th.


Made in Korea Volume 1
3.5/10

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Made In Korea Volume 1 delivers an emotional story that is engaging until the ending petters out. While it doesn’t feel like it neither asks clearly defined questions or offers any answers, it nonetheless provides some curious thoughts about what a new A.I. may experience in our world.