Mad Cave Studios 2019
Written by Mark London
Illustrated by Nicolas Salamanca
Coloured by Tekino
Letters & Logo by Miguel Angel Zapata
The tension reached a boiling point as Lord Haruki sent a group, led by Toho and Takeshi, to find and bring back Genshi, dead or alive. Meanwhile, Genshi and Nishiro learned the whereabouts of the Elder One. The good news was short-lived as Toho ambushed Genshi, killed Nishiro, and forced the grieving shinobi to unleash the Tengu on his own people. No longer able to hide his secret, Genshi confessed to Takeshi. With all of the information brought to light, they set off to clear Genshi’s name and save the Iga from Haruki’s madness...
This first arc has been a sheer delight for me to read. The love, respect and attention given to another culture, another way of life has been done superbly well. In a time when Clans ruled in a Feudal society and where Lords ruled with an iron fist we find ourselves mixing history and anime/manga in this whole idea of a Tengu. A demon who is housed in a human body that makes them somewhat immortal and an instrument of the demon, or god as the case may be, who possesses them. This has from the start been a very well conceived and executed book that has captivated readers.
So while this may be the final issue in it's first arc there are still unanswered questions for me. We saw that Nishiro betrayed Genshi and they managed to make up before his death but I never did understand why Lord Haruki hates the Tengu so much. We learn the depths of his hatred yes that's been on display since day one when he was brought into the Iga Clan but never the way. As we have seen there are others who utilise their unique gifts and talents regularly against their enemies and have been rather effective tools. See Mark has led me astray of the book and has my mind engaged in what ifs and why not's throughout the reading of this arc.
The way that this is structured is extremely well done. The ebb & flow created by the way the pacing is utilised to take the story & plot development and the character development in a constant forward motion has a joy to experience. Mark has a very strong skill and talent level when it comes to writing and it's a joy to see him do so.
The interiors here have been something special since day one as well and it's nice to see that this never stops. That computer generated art has come a long way since it's beginnings and that so few can utilised it effectively still puts Nicolas in a class with few others. The way we see the linework being done and how the varying weights can bring out this stellar attention to detail continues to thrill and amaze me. While there are still some things that computers cannot do that pencil and paper can the overall mood tone and feel of what we see is sensational. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a solid eye for storytelling. I such a fan of the way backgrounds are utilised here as well as they expand the moments and bring us a size and scope. The colour work is nicely as well and the light sources and their glow which also changes the hues around it is well rendered. Plus those tattoo's and nearly naked physique sigh you couldn't show more?
With so much happening in this issue Genshi finally learns that he is utterly alone in this world and he has to rely upon himself of his passenger is likely to take full control. He needs to find the Elder One for help. Meanwhile what happens to his former and the woman he loves? Plans swirl as we get ready for the next arc and boy I cannot wait for that one!