Titan Comics 2016
Written by Jean-Francois Di Giorgio
Illustrated by Frederic Genet
Coloured by Delphine Rieu
Lettered by Cat Connery
The mysterious Wind of the Sands has led the beleaguered hero Takeo to the fortress of Lord Tanabe, and suddenly the magnitude of the task ahead of them becomes clear! But he must not fail, for Akio’s freedom depends upon it! Luckily, Wind of the Sands is a woman of many talents and has some tricks up her sleeve that surprise even Takeo!
If you haven’t been paying attention and bought the first series go out and get the trade than start reading this one because this is what storytelling is always meant to be. It transports you to a time and place you aren’t familiar with and educates you on the ways of life, love and dangers that are inherent to it.
Takeo’s journey to find his brother and then when he found him his world changed in ways he could never have imagined. Family will be the death of him yet unless he can find a way out of this one. The opening however sets up something else entirely as we see our man running for his life into an abandoned city where those following are too superstitious to pursue him. Here I thought the interiors were majestic and then suddenly Frederic and Delphine bring us this eerie and stunning ruin in the middle of nowhere, wow.
I do like that Takeo still holds a flame for Sayuri and he wants to find her and rescue her from whatever has befallen her now. The poor thing seems to find herself in horrific situation after another and that trend doesn’t seem to ending anytime soon. I’m beginning to think that if he and she are never destined to fulfill that love at first sight moment.
That Jean-Francois can write such a powerfully emotional and story driven tale that he can infuse with action, subterfuge and all kinds of peril makes him one of a rare breed. The way he can transition them all so seamlessly throughout the book is so masterful. He keeps introducing us to new people and situations that seem so far above what Takeo is capable of and yet there he is right in the thick of things more than holding his own.
The interiors here are some of the most intricate, stunning and complete works in comics today. There’s a grace and beauty to them that you don’t expect and the attention to detail continues to amaze me. The flow of the book through page layouts using angles and perspective are gorgeously done. The emotions they can evoke from a reader is wonderful and powerful.
This is the kind of series that blends the romanticism of feudal Japan alongside the hazards and reality that one would face in these times. The story and characterisation are so well represented in such strong writing and interiors that this remains time after time that this truly is among the best of the best.