Mad Cave Studios 2018
On Sale Feb 20th 2019
Written by Mark London
Illustrated by Nicolas Salamanca
Coloured by Tekino
Lettered & Logo by Miguel Angel Zapata
Orphaned as a young boy, Genshi Sakagura was adopted by the Iga clan after witnessing the murder of his parents. Now, Genshi is a promising young shinobi with dreams of marrying Lord Haruki's beautiful daughter, Akemi, and leading the Iga clan warriors into battle. Genshi's future was promising, until his past came back to torment him in the form of an evil mountain spirit known as a Tengu. This demon relentlessly haunts Genshi's dreams and bends reality around him, but nothing compares to when the Tengu consumes him; Genshi transforms into an unstoppable force of nature incapable of remorse!
Well the opening here is definitely dramatic, eye catching and what I am guessing is part of the ending. No offense to Mark but personally I am tired of opening with the ending its cliché and shows a lack of imagination. So this my friends, allies and frenemies is the only even remotely negative thing I can say about this book. Personally I would have opened with page 4 where we see the events of 9 years ago as Genshi’s family is attacked and his parents murdered before his very eyes. Then I would like to have seen where the Iga clan came in and found him then brought him into their fold. Literally the only thing I would change.
When we get into the main story and Genshi is a young man, in desperate need of a haircut—yes I understand the culture, and his best friend Takeshi the story begins in earnest. I am impressed with the structure of the book as well as it’s pacing and while it almost has this fast feel to it, that’s just the amount of information we learn as well the missing time, which is easily forgiveable as we see the reasons for those moments. There is also what seems like a glossing over of a few things but to see his training drawn out would be excessive and a waste of time when this condensed version is so much nicer to see. It gives the reader a great look at what the boy is capable of with concentration and skill and I must admit it’s mighty impressive.
I am a fan of the interior artwork here as well. It very much mixes the what one might consider Manga with a more western influence to it. The linework we see is smooth and it’s varying weights are spectacular to see as they bring this to life with some stunning attention to detail and a beautiful sense of movement. There is an unexpected power and grace in the strength of the artwork here that undeniably draws you into it’s spell. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows off a superb eye for storytelling. The way we see backgrounds being utilised here works well in expanding the moments and showing a size and scope to the story, The colours here as well are absolutely delightful and how light sources are used and the colour gradation and shading are beautifully done.
The story is one that is both familiar to any of us who have read similar Samurai stories. While it may have a familiar aura it’s still very much it’s own original story. I think that the way the characters were introduced is extremely well done and doesn’t overwhelm the reader. The fact that Genshi has a missing brother is something that I dearly hope is part of what is to come as Lord Haruki fears, the invading army of course. That along with the dramatic twist ending, though who didn’t see that coming heh, make for a stellar debut issue to a new series.