Adults, teens; adult-level philosophy
In 1921, a mountain-climbing party led by the British Colonel
Howard-Bury attempts to scale Mt. Everest, but the native sherpas
are frightened away by Metch Kangmi, the "Repugnant Snowman,"
and the climb fails. Back in London, the news is brought to reporter
Tobey [the only name given as far as I could tell], who writes
a sensational article that sneers at the existence of the creature,
incidentally renaming the monster "Abominable Snowman."
Some time later, an angry retired explorer takes Tobey to task
for his skepticism. Intrigued, Tobey starts doing research on
the creature and comes to believe that it might exist. When offered
a chance to join another expedition up the slopes of Mt. Everest,
he eagerly joins.
The expedition comes to a tragic end, however, when an avalanche
tumbles down upon the party. Tobey escapes the worst of the avalanche
but breaks his leg; and while lying there, he is confronted by
a part of Metch Kangmi. Terrified, he shoots one in the head,
then passes out. He wakens in a lamasery, being tended by Buddhist
monks. As he recovers, he witnesses funeral rites for a monk
who has a bullet hole in his head. As they cover the dead monk
with gold and place him in a room filled with other preserved
monks, Tobey sees one with his own face. The sight plunges him
When he awakens, he tells the monks what he saw, but they
deny that anyone has died. Confused, Tobey demands to leave.
However, every time he approaches the lamasery exit, he finds
some reason to turn back. What is the mysterious hold that the
monks and the lamasery have on Tobey, and how are they connected
with the Metch Kangmi? (I bet you can guess.)
The name "Milo Manara" filled me with excitement when
I discovered this book on a remainder shelf. I love his work!
However, Snowman was a big disappointment in both art
and story--possibly the latter unduly influenced the former.
Most of the details of the story were predictable well in advance.
The effect of the Metch Kangmi on Tibetians (both sherpas and
bandits) is shown too many times. The story stops dead in places
to expound upon Eastern mysticism, which is not my favorite subject
to begin with. I got a feeling it wasn't Milo Manara's favorite,
either; although the full-color art is certainly competent and
beautiful, it seemed curiously lifeless compared to the work
he did in such books as Dies Irae and An Author in
Search of Six Characters. Of course, he was illustrating
his own stories in those books. Still, his few pages in Breakthrough
had more life in them than in the entire Snowman. Finally,
some of the lettering (especially that in the funeral and nightmare
sequences) is extremely hard to read.
This book would be a very minor part of a general collection
of European graphic novels. Its audience primarily consists of
Manara completists and devotees of Eastern philosophy.