Pipedream Pull List Extra: Treatment Seoul #1 & #2 (Madefire)

Dave Gibbons futuristic motion book franchise unleashes another brutal instalment with Treatment Seoul, and sees yet another group risk their lives for TV audiences. But will this incarnation be ratings success or face cancellation from the airwaves?

Treatment Seoul (Madefire)Publisher: Madefire
Writer: Robbie Morrison
Artist: Denis Cowan, John Floyd
Price: Free via the Madefire app

Treatment Seoul follows the story of Tsunami Kim, a former South Korean intelligence agent, who, after escaping from a North Korean prison camp and subsequently being fired from her job, becomes the newest star of Treatment as the show enters it’s new series. Her first televised mission; to lead her new team and prevent a North Korean monster drone from destroying the city. A task which Kim finds may tie in, indirectly, to her time as a prisoner.

Much like the other installments, this series of Treatment follows a group of professional bad asses as they use their skills to put down threats for not only their country’s safety but also it’s entertainment. The title also, once again, displays incredible visuals making the most of Madefire’s motion book engine which gives it the look and feel of an animated movie rather than comic book. Unfortunately, Treatment Seoul lacks some of the depth of previous offerings and so struggles in comparison.

Robbie Morrison, who also supplied the script for prior entries Treatment Mexico and Treatment Tokyo, offers up a fairly pedestrian and run of the mill concept for this series as Kim and her new team struggle to get on in the face of certain danger. This kind of familiar plot would be fine, but the characters do not feel sufficiently fleshed out enough during the first two issues to make them compelling or compassionate.

Also, unlike previous entries which focused on more ‘realistic’ criminals, this series of Treatment sees a more fantastical antagonist in the shape of a giant robot spider-creature, which takes away some of the more grounded elements that made the series work.

Of course, the writing isn’t all that makes up Treatment Seoul, and although the art goes some of the way towards making up for the relative lack of story it doesn’t make the book shine. Denis Cowan and John Floyd’s work is very solid and evokes the best of Dave Gibbons himself with some great action set pieces in the second episode. However when compared to the work of Kinman Chan in Tokyo or Gibbons himself, it lacks that unique feel to make it stand out from the crowd.

pd_review3“Treatment Seoul is one of the most consistently strong Madefire titles, however, Seoul doesn’t really manage to continue that. With a less engrossing story and fairly conservative art it fails to live up the high standards set by it’s predecessors like Mexico or  Tokyo. Overall it’s still a strong franchise and we hope future episodes return to the high standard we have come to expect.”