Writer/Illustrator: Heo Gin Gae (@HGG_427)
WHAT IS IT?
Immortal Days is a buddy cop, noir-drama set in the distant future, where two mortals must traverse their way through a dangerous world that thrives on crime and violence.
Think Mirror’s Edge meets X-Men (with just a dash of The Purge).
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
After discovering the cure for mortality, humanity's violent and selfish nature is amplified. Cautious and kind-hearted Myeol wants to find a job that’s safe and easy, but when a Troubleshooter named Phill accidentally tosses a bomb on his head, Myeol is sent on a wild chase through the city. In mere moments, his once quiet, simple life is overrun with violent individuals, terrorism, and death cults.
Phill and Myeol discover they share a common ailment: they are both mortals. Persistent and egotistical, Phill offers the young man a job, one that the desperately broke Myeol simply cannot afford to turn down. With death waiting around every corner, they must learn to trust and rely on one another if they plan on making it to clock-out time alive.
Heo Gin Gae is a brilliant storyteller, in both the artistic and written sense. There’s a familiarity to the setting and narrative that is reinvigorated by subverting expectations that typically come alongside stories of similar ilk. It feels nostalgic and new all at once.
The focus on humanity, the questioning of ethics and what it means to be mortal brings a normally chaotic genre back to a more grounded state during the moments of respite between Phill and Myeol.
The use of dark humor adds a comedic tone to what would be an otherwise intense and pessimistic story, and does so in a way that does not feel misplaced or break the pacing of the story.
The black-and-white artwork is stunning and feels as if it would be right at home in a mid-2000s Shonen Jump magazine. It is accented by well-placed pops of color (i.e. Myeol’s jacket, Phill’s tie), as well as full-color illustrations for character introductions, to balance out the grayscale.
It’s a beautifully illustrated webtoon* that has flow and movement to the designs and anatomy, as well as vivid expressions which adds to the sense of urgency and risk the main duo experience while out on the job.
The characters vary in their ethnicities and it is done in a tasteful way that represents diversity in a distinct and respectful manner. It enhances the authenticity of the setting and the realism of the character design even while being grounded in a more traditional manhwa** art style.
The good cop/bad cop dynamic plays well in a story that questions the morals of how one treats humanity when the repercussions of your actions are minimized. Phill’s pessimistic and sometimes lackadaisical viewpoint that all immortals are monsters is heavily fought by Myeol’s desire to believe that humanity is good and deserves to be respected. This back-and-forth offers a depth to their banter and raises the stakes for their actions.
At the end of most episodes, the creator includes an endnote (usually in mini-comic form) that helps expound on the lore and world-building without weighing down the main story with over-exposition. It helps clear up some questions that may arise in the episode and breathes life into the world in a small-scale way.
Unlike many webtoons that have a core duo it focuses on, they made sure that the supporting cast was well-rounded and had plenty of opportunities to take center stage. Repeat appearances allow for the minor characters to feel big and have an actual impact in the story. They vary in ethnicities, body types, sexual orientations, and gender identities, which helps the world feel fleshed out.
Phill is a classic movie buff; a lot of his code names and references are from popular movies. Film fans will have a blast looking for the various easter eggs throughout the story (especially fans of the Cornetto trilogy).
Each new chapter is kicked off by a full-color cover that is stylized to look like a movie poster. It shows the reader what to expect in the upcoming episodes in a minimalistic way that could easily be framed outside of a theater (it’s another way the creator has capitalized on a love of cinema to flesh out their series).
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
CW: Drug, alcohol, and tobacco usage, language, heavy topics that might be uncomfortable for some readers, and graphic violence (due to the fact humans are immortal, they tend to be brutal with the violence since they’ll inevitably heal, akin to Deadpool or Wolverine, but the imagery can get pretty intense).
The death cult in the story is focused on returning humanity back to how it was before immortality was achieved. Their main method of attempting this is ritual is “suicide.” Though this plot point is not frequently focused on, the cult does shift the narrative quite a bit and the content can be a bit distressing (though never graphic).
The speech bubbles have tiny tails and at times it can be hard to tell which character is speaking without looking closely. It’s a clean, minimalistic style choice but it can make it hard to discern who the speech bubble belongs to (especially on heavily textured backgrounds).
Chapter six has a strange grammatical issue; the words immortal and mortal both miss their Ts whenever the word is in quotations, reading immoral and moral. This is isolated to this chapter.
There are some inconsistencies in the chapter qualities and lengths after the conclusion of the first season. Some chapters do not have as many episodes and aren’t as detailed (mostly in the character designs, it typically switches to a more comedic styling which is frequently used in the earlier chapters, so it is not an abrupt change). This is not unexpected with a weekly webtoon that has surpassed 130 chapters.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Eye-catching artwork and a sense of action that harkens back to the early days of anime on Adult Swim, Immortal Days is a fast-paced, high-intensity series that perfectly balances dark humor with sharp fight sequences and an air of mystery. With its sci-fi and noir-influenced narrative, the futuristic world is both captivating and tangible. The parkour elements are fluid and are portrayed with a believable sense of motion, while the battles oftentimes feel as though they were ripped straight out of John Wick, and the detective/courier aspect resonates with vibes akin to Blade Runner and Premium Rush. The main duo is charming, with polar opposite dynamics that bounce off of each other naturally, and their good cop/bad cop nature takes center stage during every job they stumble upon.
Over eighty chapters are free to read on Lezhin’s site, which is a rare treat and great for the binge-worthy nature of the series (I personally read the first eighty-nine chapters in one sitting). Season one wrapped with a hundred and eight chapters and continued full speed ahead into season two without a break; this massive series shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. With its sprawling world, perfectly paced lore, and unforgettable characters, Immortal Days is the perfect addition to any action or sci-fi fanatic’s library.
HOW DO I READ IT?
The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.
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*Webtoon - term for digital comics that originated in Korea, created specifically for scrolling on mobile devices
**Manhwa - traditional Korean print comics