Ang Morion book 1: Seraphim (wan mananita) [frances luna III illustration firm]

I spent this morning at the memorial park, and part of that was spent going over the Ang Morion compilation. Unlike Gwapoman, Ang Morion is one of the things I just tried the first part of. So having this compilation is a nice thing to me.

Serafin Malinao (based on a real man of the same name, Wan’s lolo), inherited a necklace with a large gem, called a Mutya, from his namesake grandfather. Over the course of his young life he has been suddenly losing consciousness after doing something awesome, powers inherent to someone who bears the Mutya. Now that he is 23 and about to inherit his father’s business, a kidnapping and a death force him to take up his lolo’s costume, mask, and former responsibility as a unique Bayan Knight: the Morion. He has to quickly learn what the Mutya is capable of, where it came from, and the other powerful beings that have similar gems in their possession.

I totally agree with the introduction and the afterwords given: the concept of Ang Morion is remarkably novel without being pretentious. Wan Maninita simply used a part of his heritage, and did it well, leading to a superhero that is unique and definitely Pinoy. Why get a costume made when you already have one in storage, just needing modification, when it totally stands for what you want it to mean: sacrifice, a lifetime choice, a act of penitence, a life of service.

The execution of this novel concept is good without being pretentious either. Sef acts completely like you expect an average, if somewhat well-to-do, Pinoy with a good heart will act. Which means: sometimes he acts too quickly and too carelessly, but ultimately good wins in the end. I also loved it how he was completely Pinoy in how he faced a trio of fallen angels, no less, without batting an eyebrow. The dialogue also betrays the author’s roots, as he has a good command of written Tagalog, of the rather deeper, less kanto-style, more probinsyano and less Manila kind. This leads to a work with occasional missteps in spelling but flows well in its conversations and banters.

The art is one of the better examples of being distinctly Pinoy, even if his roots come from the Sacred Mountain school of comic-ing. Sure the Morion is muscle-bound, but Sef is typical in his being fit but not heavily muscular. His style takes more from the classic komiks-style, just with a modern twist to it. The paneling is also conservatively rectangular with moments of heavy action. Occasionally boring, at points dynamic, generally smooth.

On the whole Ang Morion is a series to follow, whether you follow the Bayan Knights or not. It’s the tale of a confused but practical superhero, with strengths ready for full harnessing.

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