‘Made In Korea’ Review: Parents By Proxy

Every so often there comes a comic that manages to pique my interest almost instantly. A book that catches my eye before I’m even finished with the first panel, let alone the first page.

That’s the case with Made in Korea, a new six-issue limited series written by Jeremy Holt and George Shall.

The comic’s first panel features a look at the inside of an office building, layered with connected-yet-isolated cubicles and an eerie green lighting over it all. This building serves as one of two main locations in the issue. Soon after we’re whisked away to Conroe, Texas, our second location.

Both areas have a familiar look to them, a stuffy office building in the middle of a bustling Seoul, South Korea, and a simple home in the middle of suburban America. Perfect locales that give off exactly the kind of vibe you’d expect from a near-futuristic setting. Everything looks normal, but something is a little off.

As the comic progresses, we learn a little bit about our main protagonists. First, we have Kim Dong Chul, an office worker who seems to be on the brink of finally discovering… something. What that is isn’t explicitly stated, even when he seems to crack the code. Before we can find out exactly what it is Chul was working on, we move over to Conroe, Texas, where a “baby shower” of sorts reveals one of the big facets of this world: proxies.

These pseudo-humans serve as children for those who may otherwise may not be able to have one by other means. Again, the first issue of Made in Korea doesn’t explicitly reveal a whole bunch about the proxy children. We don’t know how they’re made or where they first came from, all we really know is that these highly advanced androids came from Chul’s company.

It’s at this point in the issue that we meet our other two main characters, Bill and Suelynn Evans. Unable to have children by conventional means, the pair decide to adopt a proxy they name Jesse. Worlds and stories collide when it’s revealed to the reader that Jesse was tampered with in some form or fashion by Chul two weeks before she was shipped to the Evans family.

Made in Korea #1 does a fine job of holding onto its cards instead of just laying them all out on the table. We don’t have all the answers yet, but that’s fine because this first issue gives us enough to work with.

It helps that the story is being told in such familiar settings as well. Though the presence of a science-fictional, “Terminator-type” story lurks just around the corner, for the time being, it’s wrapped up in a story about an unconventional family.

Made in Korea #1 might not seem too eventful, but it does its job as first issue. It lays the groundwork and promises more to come in the future. And I have to say, I’m excited to see where Holt and Shake take Chul, the Evans, and Jesse during the rest of this six-issue limited run.