REVIEW: Tribe-X #1-3

Spottoon, publishers of Tribe-X, is a new site offering webtoons from around the world. Check out their website here!

After three issues I still have little to no idea as to what is happening in Tribe-X.

Half of the introduced characters remain nameless, much of the comic relies on visuals alone, and the setting is a complete and utter mystery to me.

That being said, I don’t think any of the above is necessarily a bad thing.

If this were an uninteresting story with ugly visuals, I would recommend throwing in the proverbial towel and moving on to a different series. Luckily, Tribe-X is neither uninteresting to read nor boring to look at. In fact, not knowing what’s actually occurring in regards to the plot is what makes the comic so interesting.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Tribe-X is the ambiguity that surrounds the first three issues. There are vague allusions to past events that readers are not yet privy to, which only make me want to continue reading in order to find out what has brought the characters to the point we see when they are first introduced.

As mentioned, readers are forced to heavily rely on visuals in order to work out what it is that’s happening within the overarching plot of the series, which means that said visuals have to be pretty impressive in order to keep people interested.

(They are and they do.)

The opening frames of Tribe-X greet readers with a literal bloodbath.

Bodies and victims litter the floor of what appears to be an abandoned warehouse, crimson bloodstains the only color found the otherwise black and white opening frames. The stark contrast of the red against the black and white that surround it seems to immediately attract the eye and emphasize the significance of the carnage, as well as the white-haired man that stands in the epicenter.


Illustration by Ki Woo Hong

It makes for a rather ominous introduction to the comic but does a fairly decent job of encapsulating what’s to come in issues #1 and #2.

The first two issues are consecutive, with the second picking up right where the first left off in a seamless continuation of the opening events. Said issues are also more heavily focused on action than #3, with the visuals of the comics seemingly taking precedence over the sparse dialogue.

In fact, the first words scribed in the frames aren’t dialogue at all.

Instead, the first use of words in the comic is meant to indicate that the aforementioned white-haired man is humming as he moves through the massacre depicted on the page. It’s more than a little sinister and the almost child-like glee that the unnamed man has towards the scene makes it pretty clear that he is to be the villain of the series.

The people he’s so ruthlessly slain were seemingly killed due to his own sadism, which is further confirmed when Woo-Jin, the assumed hero of the comics, is brought into the picture. There’s a palpable tension between the two men that indicates some past event or exchange served as a catalyst to their destroyed relationship but, again, readers have no context regarding what brought the two of them to such a violent head. The exchange between the two men is very much one of, “Good vs Evil,” with one on the offense and the other on the defense, and does a pretty decent job of pinning them against each other.


Illustration by Ki Woo Hong

Interestingly, after three issues, it’s still not entirely clear if the white-haired man in issues 1 and 2 really is the villain. We’ve seen him kill a number of nameless men in suits, but who’s to say that those men weren’t the real bad guys of the story?

Tying up a young woman and threatening to kill her for the sole purpose of goading an opponent into what is essentially a fight to the death certainly seems villainous but, again, the comics are so ambiguous that real conclusions can’t be made until more of the series’ plot is revealed.

The ambiguity of the characters is only enhanced by Issue #3, which takes readers to a point in time prior to the event that occurs in the first two issues of the series. The third issue ends on a bit of a cliffhanger that makes it seem as though the white-haired man will actually serve as a savior to the troubled individuals in the story.

If this mystery man is the true villain, it’ll be interesting to see what event triggers his road to darkness when, at one point, he seemed to be interested in helping rather than hurting.

Tribe-X is quite a bit darker than some of the more mainstream comics of the day (Issue #3 ends with a creepy old man drugging two young girls before menacingly approaching them as they lay unconscious in bed) but there’s an intrigue that surrounds said darkness and makes me want to find out what events in the storyline caused it.

After three issues I still have little to no idea as to what is happening in Tribe-X… but I’m going to be refreshing the Spottoon link until Issue #4 is released and I can figure it out.

Have you checked out Tribe-X yet, or any of the other great strips over at Spottoon? Let us know in the comments section or send us a Tweet!

About the author

Silje Falck-Pedersen