‘Samurai #3:’ Comic Book Review

Some blossoms are as beautiful as they are deadly.

Takeo and the monk travel with Wind of the Sands to infiltrate a Lord’s castle for treasure enough to free Akio from the Yakuza who have kept him hostage for his considerable gambling debt.  Little do they know what truly awaits them in the chambers of the lord.  Intrigue, action, and sultry double crosses make this issue a great addition to the series, all the while laying out the promise of much more to come.  The monk gets to tag along for the action this time, and it goes pretty much as you would expect it, while we’re left with a cliffhanger that, though an old type of trick, serves its purpose effectively, because I certainly can’t wait to see what happens next.

I like this series, though of late it’s gotten a touch predictable.  A good portion of that is how close to stock all the characters seem to stay; there’s not much to Akio and the monk beyond their archetypes, though there is much promise in Takeo and Sayuri, especially with her taking her fate into her hands in this issue.  This is a well-researched book, and when Di Giorgio bucks the traditions of the time with a character like Sayuri, it’s rewarding on a personal and storytelling level.  This is twice now that we’ve seen female characters break out of their “expected roles” within the culture and the genre, and I really hope that Sayuri will be around for a good bit.  I’m still enjoying the make characters, but they’ve not had much time to develop due to the very enjoyable pace of the action.  I expect good things from Takeo, and unless I miss my guess, we’re going to eventually get a ground-shattering revelation from Akio at some point, though I couldn’t hazard a guess if it will be in this run or not.

Frederic Genet is an incredible talent, and I will sing his praises every time I get the privilege to enjoy his work.  His work on the human form is incredibly detailed, and his sense of a body moving in space is unparalleled in this or other genres.  Every sword thrust and vaulting leap moves beautifully, with the body’s center of balance always accounted for and the sensation of motion almost palpable on the page.  This is an artist whose characters wouldn’t need special anatomy or odd quirks of physics to aid them in their adventures.  There’s a phenomenal sequence in this issue when a character is dancing away from trouble that flows and beguiles. The character gets the credit for being fluid and in complete control of her body, but it’s the talent putting that on the page that blows me away.

This series is fun, exciting, and has a few nods toward historical accuracy.  The inclusion of a Nightingale floor is superbly fun, and if you don’t know what that is, let the book tell you before you look it up. These guys do it justice.  There’s good development happening underneath the excellent action tale, but nothing you have to contemplate hugely or dive deep for. It’s just good work that ought to be appreciated.

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