Image Comics 2014
Written by Jim Zub
Illustrated by Steve Cummings
Coloured by Tamra Bonvillain
It really is a no-brainer why I am reading this series month in and month out and that’s because not only is this incredibly well written with excellent characterization but it delves into a culture we don’t see that much this far away from Japan. Anytime I can read a book that feels as true to the culture it’s writing about and learn more than I thought possible then I consider it a huge success and worthy of not just my time but everyone’s since it’s such a labor of love that you should be exposed to more things outside the realm of your own world.
It’s not just the writing either Steve and Tamra do some of the most charming, unique and original work on the interiors to bring this to life. Daranibo and his forces for example are so well depicted that they are as terrifying as they are awe inspiring. Also the Tsuchigumo or Earth Spiders while seeming creepy as all get out have their own unique charm about them as well, then of course there are our main cast of characters whose individuality stands out in this Americanized Manga style that has it’s own beauty and edge to it. Overall it is the perfect compliment for the words drawing the reader in and keeping you spellbound in this world.
Things seem to be heating up here as Ayane, Ohara and Nikaido are now allied with the Tsuchigumo and are making plans for a direct assault on their foes. An uneasy alliance that benefits both sides so now Ayane with her Cat army alongside the Tsuchigumo are becoming this force to be reckoned with. They are doing surprisingly well without Rori’s leadership but only Ohara recognizes that there needs to be a voice of reason only she’s too shy and reticent to speak up. It’s interesting and powerful characterization here.
Rori and Shirai are seeking out Ohara but now after what they’ve been through Rori is changing and her powers growing stronger and seemingly changing her personality. Shirai doesn’t like it and I’m glad to see him speaking out about and letting her know where he stands, she needs this balance more than ever since she seems to be rushing and somewhat unstable as she’s adjusting to this upgrade in power. Though to be honest what Rori does to Ohara’s parents and we see the effect that physically had on Ohara was extremely shocking to see.
What I love about Jim’s writing is right here in this issue, he can flesh a character out and then change them dramatically at a moment’s notice because of what they’ve immediately been through. He has this incredible grasp on these characters, their personalities and where they are going that we as readers aren’t always prepared for what he has in store.
It’s no wonder that for me this is a top tier book that’s been in my top ten list every month it’s been out. This is an amazingly special book that wraps you into a world you dare to only dream exists.