There will be spoilers for the manhwa series Gold Gray.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to rape, sexual assault, pandemic, confinement, kidnapping, male pregnancy (mpreg), dehumanization, murder, child abuse, child neglect, death, abortion, terrorism, corruption, major medical illness, prejudice, BDSM, gang/mafia activity, car accident, blood, violence, non-consenting medical treatment, torture, manipulation, suicide, possible statutory rape, self-loathing, victim-blaming, traumatic birth, sex work/prostitution, drugging, blackmail, and human experimentation, as it appears in the manhwa.
Lee Rain has dreams of becoming an actor. He can sing, dance, and act, but having grown up poor and under mysterious circumstances, he's had to claw his way up to achieve the bare minimum, much less his dreams of stardom. Along with the daily struggle of surviving, Rain has an odd ability to smell what he calls “perverts.” They smell so good; unfortunately, they are drawn to Rain like flies. Frustrated, Rain has finally saved up enough for a hail Mary. He plans to drop everything and travel to the United States, hoping to make it onto Broadway or die trying.
On the other side, there is Won Lukas. He's a perfect alpha, bred and raised from the finest stock to take over Roenjoy industries one day. Unfortunately, following his father's death, Lukas learns of a disgusting stipulation left in his father's will for the company. The next president will be the child that can produce an alpha heir. The only way to create a perfect alpha is by an alpha having a baby with an omega, but due to a pandemic that swept through the world, omegas went extinct.
But Roenjoy has a seedy underbelly. Hidden from the public eye, they have managed to create artificial omegas, which they raise from fetuses to adulthood, and upon giving birth, they die within a week to prevent the secret from getting out. Lukas is prepared to artificially inseminate an omega to take his role as company president. Unfortunately, the building where all of the omega research took place is destroyed by none other than Joshua, a subpar alpha and Lukas' half-brother. With his brother vying for his position, Lukas is desperate to find an omega and make an alpha heir, but with all of the known omegas gone, there is little to no hope until Lukas meets Rain.
The artwork is stunning. Some parts of it aren't my favorite, like how the lips are drawn and shaded as they look constantly chapped, but it's undeniable that it's beautiful. Rain, in particular, is absolutely stunning. I also adore the way color is used. It's relatively rare to see a black and white manhwa, and this one is almost entirely black and white (minus the side stories), except for a few key or emotional panels. One skillful way color is used is in the character's eye colors. Rain has stunning blue eyes, while Lukas has gold, and these two striking colors highlight points of intense emotion. I love when color is used that way, and this is no exception.
I love the story premise for this. So often, with omegaverse stories, omegas and alphas are rare, but in this case, the virus and terrorism have dwindled the number of omegas to zero. It's such a unique concept and setting for an omegaverse story and broadens the world beyond just a relationship between two people, which I enjoy. Unfortunately, it also sets up a lot of dubious consent, as Rain is a “hot commodity” and is dehumanized since he's an omega. Those particular tags don't bother me, but I want to make sure to be clear that it does appear in this work for those who may not be interested.
With that being said, there are some beautifully written passages in this. There are a lot of references to water, ocean waves, and the like, which all intertwine into a beautiful moment when Rain overcomes a dire fate and survives to see his family. I have re-read this scene ten times and still tear up reading it. It's gorgeous, and I'm jealous that I didn't come up with it, but I am so glad Lee Green did because I don't think I could do it justice. This series is worth reading just for that section following the birth because it is some of the best emotional writing I've ever read.
If that wasn't enough to tempt you, though, we are blessed with a whole heap of after stories with lots of romantic child-rearing, the messy relationship between Joshua and Noel, and more lighthearted, comedic drama from our favorite main couple. This series truly is the gift that keeps on giving, which is a massive plus in my book. I will say though Joshua and Noel are more toxic than even our main couple, I find their sex scenes to be the sexiest. I am a huge hater of dirty talk during sex, but Joshua has got game. He might be one of the few characters in smutty manhwa that I wanted to talk dirty because everything he said was delish.
I think it's pretty clear by now that I'm pretty biased toward omegaverse stories, especially when there is male pregnancy, child-rearing, and all that involved. This is no exception. It's beautiful, well-written, has an exciting and unique premise, and has so much extra content after the main story that you'll be satisfied for a long time. It doesn't get much better than this.
Have you read Gold Gray? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!