IDW Publishing 2016
Written by Amit Chauhan
Illustrated by Eli Powell
Coloured by K. Michael Russell
Lettered by Marshall Dillon
After overcoming a swarm of demons, two thieves named Ochita and Rizzo have aligned themselves with their unlikely rescuers, the Yakuza. This criminal syndicate has been embroiled in a secret war against the invading monsters for decades. The Yakuza leader, Hayato, offers to train Ochita after seeing strategic value in the mystical sword fused to her arm. But Hayato’s generosity disguises sinister motives.
I think this is an amazing series so far. I love that reading this makes you feel like you are part of or at the very least experiencing a world so different from the one we know. I appreciate the fact that every word balloon has that < on it to denote they are indeed speaking Japanese and not just letting the reader assume it. It’s little things like that which these folks pay attention to that really makes this stand out like it does. You can tell an incredibly interesting story but without the little extra’s that show them going above and beyond doesn’t make it one you NEED to seek out.
The opening this issue was superbly done. It has that right element of the Yakuza boys club where honour and respectability are highly regarded. Also that women are held in such low regard well that’s just another aspect of the organisation. It should be infuriating but because I understand that’s how it is well I guess i’m not as outraged as I should be by it. Then again Hayato sees more in Ochita and how he can use and manipulate her more than the others are aware of. Oh yeah this is the kind of writing and characterisation that really shows off the complexity of the story.
Eli and K. Michael do some very interesting work on the interiors here. The scratchy linework really works for me. There’s this threatening overtone to it that has this odd effect on me as a reader. Ochita has this duality to her that comes across really well too and there are moments you forget and that factor is great, again another of those little touches you don’t often think about. The use of page layouts here through angles, perspective and how backgrounds are utilised work extremely well in the storytelling.
That it’s been a year since Ochita and Rizzo have seen each other feels both interesting and odd to me. Granted I do like the fact that Ochita has gotten clean and is embracing the use of her the sword fused to her arm but a year seems like way too long. I adored the question she posed to him though and it does have a powerful poignancy to it. There’s something between them that’s unspoken and connects them much more than what they did in the past.
With everything we see and learn this issue it’s clear that there is so much going on here that no one is truly aware of. This is a multi-layered tale of secrets, lies and deception and ultimately friendship that will leave you breathless and wanting more.