Titan Comics 2016
Written by Jean-Francois Di Giorgio
Illustrated by Frederic Genet
Coloured by Delphine Rieu
Lettered by Cat Connery
Takeo is a brave young Samurai fresh from his triumph in the battle to save Imperial Japan from the treacherous General Akuma. With much still to prove, he has turned his back on a life of comfort and set out on a quest to try and discover the hidden truth about his family, and the symbolic tattoo that he bears... With only his sword, which once drawn cannot be sheathed until blood is spilled, he travels to the mysterious Isle with No Name, seeking his missing brother and the answers that will finally bring him peace…
Since I’ve been working with Titan Comics reviewing their books I’ve been constantly impressed with the quality of books they’ve been producing. Seeing the first page of this book I knew immediately that I was going to devour it. To say the work Frederic and Delphine do is gorgeous is something of an understatement. There’s a grace and beauty here that is almost indescribable but is as mesmerizing as can possibly be. You immediately get a sense of a world long gone where honour was a staple and servitude to a master was a way of life. That the imagery can take you to a place and fill you with romance, fear, longing and awe is the mark of some incredibly talented people.
As you would expect in any book that centers around the Samurai there are action scenes, see sword fights. These are done like a ballet and with a minimum of gore which somehow makes it even more eerily beautiful. There’s just so much grace and beauty in an artform that has been out of practice and out of fashion for far too long.
I like that the story appears very traditional, for a lot of people in the West, such as the United States, we don’t know enough about the lives and culture of these people. This is one of those looks into a world, time and place we know next to nothing about and it’s that look that excites me. How all the characters we are being introduced to this issue are meeting and what looks to be inevitable has made me an instant fan of Jean-Francois. HIs characterization and how he has set the pacing and the locale for this story is magnificent.
I love that this is such a story driven book. It continually delves into the way of life for some characters and presents us with life as faced by these people. From the journey we see Takeo on to those who have come to the Isle for other reasons and those living there facing a plague of their own all of it at first seems extremely random but there’s a much larger picture in play. You can see threads of how things may unfold and how they will test these characters we meet this issue.
So much potential here for some truly awe inspiring work in both words and pictures. Oh and for those that think the Man-Bun is a new trend it was popular for the characters in this time period so it’s been recycled. Regardless i’m already caught up in the world presented to us and I cannot wait to see if this level of craftsmanship remains throughout.