Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Shinku #1

Shinku #1
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Lee Moder, Matthew Waite, and Michael Attyeh
Lettering by Troy Peteri
Published by Image Comics
Review by Lan Pitts


They've been a staple of folklore for centuries, and in pop culture for almost a hundred years. They've been perceived anywhere from noble monsters, to inhuman abominations, to even teen heartthrobs. Ron Marz, Lee Moder and company strive to bring vampires out of their sparkling image and back into the consensus that vampires are demonic creatures that will maim and kill you with Shinku.

The story follows young Davis Quinn as he wanders into the world of an ancient blood feud between the last of a Samurai clan, the titular Shinku, and the vampire warlord Asano. Shinku saved Davis' life when a local vamp takes a certain, shall we say, liking to Davis and took her head before she could get to third base. Davis is a witness to the existence of the vampires and the ongoing struggle Shinku's ancestors have had with them. His purpose is still unknown, but here's hoping he can survive because the glimpse we get of Lord Asano is disturbing enough.

Marz has been hyping this book for a while now. I have one of the ashcan sketchbooks when he was first promoting it, and that was at least a year ago. It is good to see this finally come into fruition. While Marz handles more mature themes in Witchblade, it's interesting to see him able to really cut loose and let the blood flow. He's also no stranger to the supernatural and Samurai stories, so this almost like a "duh" for him to write.

I haven't been too familiar with Lee Moder's work outside Wonder Woman and Dragon Prince (another creator-owned book which he teamed with Marz), but boy, this stuff is just excellent. The layouts are key here, as they feel natural and not cramped at all. Even when you have a lot thrown at you, it is still cohesive. Great use of colors here, too, by Michael Attyeh. His pallet meshes well with Moder's style, especially with Shinku's origin story. It just comes across very well put together.

If there was one complaint is I feel that Marz showed his hand too soon. I would have been more intrigued had I known less about Shinku, and more about Davis, besides him being a fish out of water guy in Japan looking to get laid. Marz can build a mystery, he's done it for decades, but I don't really feel anything for Davis, but I'm still interested in why he's so important to Shinku's quest, so Marz succeeded on that front.

Summer is here and with the big two flexing their event muscles, this was a nice break from that. I just wanted a bit more, so I'll be sticking around to see if I get my fill.