10, 20, and 30 2 by Morim Kang: A-

From the back cover:
Life changes come faster than anyone expects in the second installment of Morim Kang’s unorthodox family saga. Widow Krumb’s would-be suitor suddenly departs for Hong Kong—but was he called away on business or is he a fugitive from the law? And how much longer is Krumb going to keep her job? On the home front, meanwhile, icy relations between the headstrong teenager Rok and her ditzy older cousin, Belle, start to thaw after a girls’ night out leads to unintended consequences. But then a sudden (and shocking) health scare upends everyone’s plans, and these three very different women have to face a whole new set of challenges—together!

Warning: I am writing this while suffering an opthalmic migraine, so it probably will not be my best.

This series is getting really good! All of the characters are fleshed out further, and while Rok and her mother, Krumb, are definitely my favorites, even the irritating Belle reveals she has some good qualities. There’s also more emphasis on Krumb’s workplace and the possibility that the guy who proposed to her might’ve run out on the failing company.

It seems the primary purpose of this volume is to contrast the relationship between Rok and Krumb with that of Belle and her mother. To this end, we get some truly wonderful scenes of Rok making sure Krumb gets enough to eat, slipping into her bed at night to snuggle with her, and telling her how pretty she is. Contrasting this are scenes of Belle’s troubled relationship with her own mother, all of which serve to make Belle look like a pretty crappy person. She shows a better side, though, when listening to Rok’s problems and providing support for the family when Krumb is suddenly hospitalized.

One of the things I love about this series is that it trusts in the reader’s intelligence. For example, after Rok learns that the guy who likes her went on a date with her supposed friend, she spends the entire day scarfing mass quantities of junk food. They don’t say, “I am eating junk food because…” but the cause and effect is clear. Likewise, a few panels of Krumb waiting by the phone is all it takes for us to know that she’s thinking about the guy who has proposed to her and wishing he would call.

The primary drawback to the series is how annoying Belle can be at times, but it seems like her brash attitude might actually be helpful for the family in the challenges to come, so we shall see. Also, the older generation seems to still subscribe to beliefs about feminine uselessness, because when Rok tells her mom that she wants to be an interior decorator when she grows up, Krumb says, “That’s too much work for a woman.” Seriously, between this and Click, I’m getting tired of this notion! Luckily, this isn’t something that Rok believes herself.

Lastly, one aspect that might’ve been a flaw for some—the unconventional artwork—seems to look better this volume. I’m not sure whether that means I’m just getting used to it or what, but there are several panels and expressions that I like quite a lot.

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