Manhwa Review | Miscreants and Mayhem by Brothers Without a Tomorrow

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Warning:

There will be spoilers for the series Miscreants and Mayhem.

Content Warning: There may be references to violence, blood, assault, murder, death, , mentions of divorce (not between the main couple), pseudo-incest, gang activity, break ups (not between the main couple), self-harm, obsession, manipulation, cheating (not between the main couple), impotence, slut-shaming, child abandonment, grooming, dubcon/noncon, gang rape, self-deprecation, excessive drinking, self-hatred, mental illness, cults, homomisia, mention of drugs, child abuse, suicidal ideation, torture, child neglect, kidnapping, confinement, mentions of human trafficking, drugging, gun violence, and arson, as they do appear in the manhwa.

Synopsis:

Nanmu has been punishing himself for years. He's in a leadership position in a gang, having been adopted from a cult by the leader of the gang alongside his two closest friends, who he considers his brothers. Unfortunately, Nanmu committed one of the greatest sins, having fallen in love with the leader's, his adopted father's, mistress. To be with her and adopt her son as his own, Nanmu willingly gave his body over to the gang, where he was ruthlessly raped and passed around by all the members. In a desperate attempt to rescue him, his two brothers offer to take the punishment with him. Instead, their father commands Nanmu's brothers to have sex with him instead. It's a perverse and painful situation, but one that Nanmu believes he deserves, especially when he ultimately loses the woman he did this for, along with the child he considered his son.

Many years have passed, yet Nanmu is still punishing himself with painful sex between his two brothers. As if that isn't already hard enough, the men of his gang are steadily being assaulted, bludgeoned with a hammer, and left for dead. Nanmu struggles to find the culprit until one of his men calls him for help. When he arrives, he sees a familiar face, a beauty like the one he lost long ago. But it's not the woman he was in love with. It's her son, Pil-gyun, and Pil-gyun is looking for the man he calls ‘dad' – Nanmu. But Pil-gyun has no intention of being a filial son.

Review:

While this is my first review, this actually isn't the first title I've read from them. I've read two of their older titles, one currently on perpetual hiatus and another complete. I have yet to review the completed title because I have to admit that I hated their art style. I love reading multiple works from the same artist to see the growth of their art, so I wanted to wait because I didn't want to go off on their art style, especially not without exploring newer works. I'm so glad I did wait because this is a huge jump in quality. It's not perfect, but it's much better, which I love to see.

Cover art for Miscreants and Mayhem on Lezhin Comics

Some of the things I despised about their style in older works were the ears and eyes. The ears always jutted off from their heads really dramatically, which I wasn't a fan of, and then the eyes were always super huge and very close together. It felt like they had drawn one side of the face, then copied and flipped it to fill the rest of the face. There are still remnants scattered throughout this series, but it is much less, making this much more consistent and pleasing to read overall. They do have an omegaverse title that I've read that is even better art-wise than this, and I'm looking forward to sharing my thoughts on the growth in their style there as well. But just know, if you're like me and you weren't a fan of the art from this creator in the past, give their newer titles a shot. They have grown leaps and bounds, and I am so here for that.

Now, while I didn't always care for their art, their stories have always been pretty solid or at least interesting, and this is no exception. I'd actually say that, of everything I've read thus far, this might be the weakest story-wise (minus the older work I read, which is perpetually on hiatus), but it is still very interesting. If the synopsis didn't give it away, this is excruciatingly dark, but what I like about the darkness is that Nanmu and Pil-gyun are both dark and don't necessarily judge each other for that darkness. Nanmu feels bad for Pil-gyun, feeling that he is partially to blame for Pil-gyun falling into darkness, but Pil-gyun accepts that Nanmu is a gangster. Meanwhile, Nanmu accepts that Pil-gyun is essentially a super assassin. I don't think either of their backgrounds is well-explored, with Nanmu's past in a cult and his life being raised beneath the boss are only hinted at. Similarly, Pil-gyun's background, as he's raised to be an assassin, is vaguely explained. I would've loved to have seen more of their background, as I think the reveal of the final big bad wouldn't have felt so random, but here we are.

Unfortunately, as interesting as the plot is, it has heavy, heavy pseudo-incest, which is pretty hit or miss for me. I hate that during sex, they still refer to each other as father and son, though if you like the daddy-son-style content, this will probably be a huge win for you, but it really put a damper on the for me, which is unfortunate since this is smut-central. If you want a neverending stream of sex, this manhwa is for you. I love a pretty, young top with an older bottom. If they didn't have the daddy-son dynamic, I would've been all over it. No judgment if this is your thing. It just isn't mine.

Results:

This isn't the best title out there, but it's a really solid one. I'm so glad I gave them another try because this is a perfect example of how much an artist can grow and perfect their craft. I wouldn't say this is the best thing I've ever read. It's very dark and super smutty, which really aligns with my taste, but that daddy-son dynamic just isn't it. I know there's someone out there who is looking for something like this, though, and if I've helped you find it, that's a win.

Have you read Miscreants and Mayhem? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!

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