Writer Mikel Miles and artist Ivan Aguilar team-up for a tale of swords & revenge which may sound like your standard Samurai story but there’s more to this one…..much more.
It opens with young wannabe Samurais Amir Atsuko and Keith Masaru as they face-off to prove who is worthy of that title. The battle swings one way then the other and the energy built-up across the scenes of flashing steel & blood-filled wounds is all brought to an abrupt end with the arrival of their master, Sensei Kenzo.
It’s here that frustration and anger giveway to a sucker punch and Amir is left with a long recovery period in the sanctity of the village. That all seems too good to be true and an evil descends upon the village to threaten the lives of everyone there incluing Amir & his mother. The unforgiving attackers are set on taking no prisoners and we ease through to the last scenes not fully knowing who will be left as the village disappears in a flash of flames.
The tale itself brings with it alot of the key elements you’d expect from a Samurai tale but there’s a strong sense of energy to the fight scenes that contrast well against the deeper elements of the Samurai sensibilites. The cruel twists and turns and the cliffhange at the end is just enough to satisfy the reader in this opening issue and leave enough to ponder over what’s to come in the next issue.
Artwise, Aguilar manages to give an Anime-level of energy to the confrontations and reflection to the more sombre moments and while there are some scenes I’d have liked to see more detail, particularly in the backgrounds, the characters & scenes where they interact are slick. The layouts have a strong cinematic vibe to them with a particular leaning to Anime/Manga and while that hardly comes as a shocker the story/art combo is what really gives this first issue a sense of weight and importance. Strong story and impressive art seems to be the order of the day here and hopefully that’ll continue into the rest of the series.