There will be spoilers for the manhwa series My Suha.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to toxic and imbalanced power dynamics, child abandonment, child abuse, child neglect, sextortion/blackmail, PTSD, obsession, BDSM, dubious consent (dubcon), violence, stalking, excessive drinking, manipulation, slut-shaming, bullying, abuse, rape (including gang rape), sexual assault, blood, confinement, harassment, non-consenting porn, drugs, drugging, and corporate corruption, as it appears in the manhwa.
As his name “Suha” suggests, Lee Suha is a phenomenal secretary for the talented and dependable Director Park Jiwoon. Unfortunately, no matter how good Director Park is at his job, his role within the family that runs the company prevents him from obtaining the accolades and positions he should. Suha knows just how hard it would be for his boss to fight his way up, having been raised alongside the Director as a family friend. Though it seems impossible, Suha is happy to work alongside the Director and makes every effort he can to ensure his boss can succeed.
When Suha isn't working, though, he's on the hunt for sex partners. Due in part to a toxic sexual relationship he had when he was younger, Suha is wary about getting into anything serious. However, finding new casual partners to meet his needs becomes more challenging over time. One night, while out on the prowl in a gay bar, Suha ends up with another disappointing hookup in the men's bathroom. Ready to leave and call the night a wash, he bumps into someone he never expected: Director Park.
With their secret night lives exposed, Director Park opens up to his most trusted secretary, suggesting that they should fulfill their needs with each other. Suha has always thought Director Park was attractive, and this offer is almost too good to pass up. But Suha knows mixing business and pleasure isn't the best idea. Can Suha control his urges? Or will lust and curiosity get the better of him? And if it does, what does that mean for his job and relationship with Director Park?
The artwork is pretty rough up until about the halfway point. It's very inconsistent, particularly with the proportions of the heads to the bodies. Suha looks a bit odd from the very beginning and is probably the most inconsistent of all the characters. It finally settles into a rhythm and finds consistency, but it takes a while. While Suha isn't perfect from the beginning, I really like the detail of him having a chubby undereye, though it looks like he's tired all the time more than anything (which isn't all that inaccurate considering the story). This is a lengthy series, which gives it lots of time to settle into the art style, and one of my favorite things to see is the development of an artist, and this certainly has that. If you give it time, you'll be treated to some very nice art as the series progresses.
Story-wise, this is rather masterful in terms of character development. Both Suha and Jiwoon have painful histories that directly affect how they interact with others as well as one another in meaningful and understandable ways. Jiwoon's parents abandoned him as a child, and then he was punished and “othered” by his grandmother for his parents' perceived sins. All of the people who were supposed to love and care for him neglected him in one way or another. When a stranger, Suha, showed him some level of affection, how could he not become completely obsessed and possessive of him? It doesn't make what he does right, but knowing his background, fraught with abandonment, I can totally understand why he would latch onto even an ounce of love and become entirely engrossed in it.
Similarly, Suha's history with relationships was entirely based on his physical worth. Do-hyeok often shared him around, intrinsically tying love to sex. Do-hyeok always pressured Suha, knowing Suha's love for him would cause Suha to say yes, whether he wanted to do something or not. So, when Suha is unknowingly confined by Jiwoon, it makes sense why he just went along with it, seeing no issues and trusting him entirely. Love for him has always been controlling and toxic. But what's so great about these characters is their growth. Suha, discovering just how controlling Jiwoon had become, leaves, taking agency for himself when he never had before. On the other end, Jiwoon is forced to let Suha leave, facing his fear of being abandoned again, but fully knowing it may be best for Suha. When they come back together, Jiwoon realizes people will leave him, and all he can do is hope they don't. Meanwhile, Suha learns to make demands and set boundaries for himself while opening himself up to love, something he actively avoided for fear of being used again. They're not perfect, apart or together, but they are willing to work on themselves, and that's awesome.
However, I can't decide if I hate or love the story featuring the hate-mance between Do-hyeok and Siwoo. Do-hyeok is an asshole who deserves every bit of retribution he gets (not that anyone deserves to be assaulted and raped, but he does deserve to lose his company position, which he does). Siwoo was an interesting but rather cold character in the main story, so I was glad to see more of him through this. Siwoo being a dom and sadist to Do-hyeok's more masochistic and submissive tendencies was rather satisfying, and seeing Do-hyeok beg for Siwoo's love only to be rejected was good, too. But it ends on a cliffhanger with Do-hyeok determined to terrorize Siwoo until he gets him, which I despise. I wish Do-hyeok had been rejected and shipped off to live a lonely life in the States, but here we are. Unlike Suha and Jiwoon, Do-hyeok learned absolutely nothing and is a bitter asshole to the very end.
I love this title. It's not perfect art-wise or story-wise, but it has so many strong elements that it's hard not to enjoy it. Not to mention, it is packed full of smut, which scratches that degenerate itch I have. The characters have very painful pasts, not simply for the sake of pain or darkness, but for meaningful character development and actions we see throughout the story. I don't think the side story with Do-hyeok is nearly as successful, which is unfortunate since I liked the main story so much. I definitely think the main story is worth a read, but the side story might be a miss if you're looking for true retribution, character growth, or even another happily ever after, as none of that is here.
Have you read My Suha? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!