He that lives by the sword…
In the final issue, the stage is set for a big showdown. Takeo and Shobei are set to fight their final bout, this time with steel and one of them not walking away. Nobunaga has contracted the disease that lays waste to the people of the island, and everyone seems poised for celebration or disaster.
Jean-Francois Di Giorgio has spent the last three issues weaving a complex tale on the Isle with No Name, and it seems that the fourth issue’s goal is to pretty much wrap up every one of the storylines. Everything falls in either an expected or similarly satisfying fashion, although some of it feels either a bit rushed or a little too Deus ex Machina. Part of what I loved about this series was the inevitability of the fight between the swordsmen, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. All the clues for what’s going to happen have been laid out which allows us to be a part of the story in a unique way; instead of being in nervous anticipation of who will win, we can watch the action knowing the mind of both combatants which places a somewhat tragic, yet noble, air to the whole affair. DiG iorgio has a solid grasp on the code of honor within the time period and uses it to craft a beautiful finale.
Frederic Genet astounds as ever with his wonderful artwork. With the story wrapping up, he’s allowed to give the fantastic flavor to it as we’re pulled along to the end. The entire dueling sequence and its aftermath are absolutely perfect in feel and tone and evoke the depth of emotion and intention behind every character. His ability to balance action with stillness is top notch and very reminiscent of Akira Kurosawa’s filmmaking style. Genet and Di Giorgio work wonderfully together, each taking the baton of the story and making for flawless passes while doing so.
The next part of the Samurai tale is set up at the end, and many more storylines are opened up for us. I hope that we’ll visit the Isle again down the road, as the effort put forth into its creation is substantial and the people are engaging enough to create more stories that I’d love to read.
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