01/02/2012. Contributed by Phil Jones
pub: Imagine Comics 32 page digital comic $ 2.99 (US) Diamond Order Code: SEP110479.
check out websites: www.imagecomics.com and www.benaroyapublishing.com/comics/samurais-blood
We join the last of the Sanjo Clan as they return to the stolen Castle Sanjo. Once decimated, the remnants of the newly reformed clan return. In previous issues, we’ve followed the trials and tribulations of the clan. With the clever interweaving of flashbacks, we’ve experienced the fate of Kimura, the sister of Haniga Toshimuysu. How Jun has struggled with the loss of his father and his love, Kimura. He also has the struggle of what true path to follow. Also, Haniga’s rise to fame in the fighting ring. There are now enough diplomatic tools to get them all into the castle.
So with some major revelations about Jun’s father Koga’s past life, we are now to the final chapter of this series. Playing out much like an Akira Kurosawa’s movie, we have a clan seeking vengeance for the evil acts of the power hungry. There are as expected plenty of sword play and blood-spilling moments to be had. A few good twists along the way, along with the reflective moments of text interspersed between the action. As in previous issues, add a breath of fresh air to the intense action. This fits in beautifully with the story and style.
The real star of this comic, though, has to be the artwork. Story-wise, you kind of know what you’re getting on the tin although it does surprise you now and again with some refreshing viewpoints or story twists. I can’t sing the praises of Nam Kim and the other artists enough. Owen Wiseman has set this in an era that just allows for some wonderful art. The stunning backdrops and the period architecture allow the main characters and action to sing off the page. The attention to detail and character realisation is really impressive allowing the reader to be drawn into this world. Unlike some manga and comics, there is no simplification of the artwork. This, on the face of it, is a simple tale of revenge, but the production values are so high it makes it a beautiful piece of work. Yes, it echoes many other media but it brings it together to create something that is greater than its parts.
There lies the only problem I have with this, other than I wish it were longer, I wish this was in print instead of digital. This work cries out to be in a physical form with high quality printing. I digress though, as this is an impressive series conclusion and I hope these people collaborate again on further series. If you’re even remotely interested in Feudal Japan or Samurai then you need to get these wonderful comics.
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