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‘Ronin Island: Volume 1’ – Trade Paperback Review

Following a horrific moment that alters China, Korea, and Japan in the 19th century, there are two soldiers that have to defend their harmonious island home from a conqueror’s impending attack and transmuted monsters that threaten to break the society that they’ve known for their whole lives. In Ronin Island, a daughter of Korean farmers who became a farmer herself (Hana) and the son of an acclaimed Samurai are paired together to defend their island. Deriving malice between them, they find that the Shogun has arrived, and their island is to pay for protection from a new threat in these monstrous beings that seem to strive to erase human existence.

Brilliantly paced by acclaimed comic book writer Greg Pak, this historical fantasy comic book series puts readers into the perspective of the islanders who have been isolated after 31 years from a Great Wind that plagued the three countries. This helps to encase the reader in mystery upon witnessing an extreme fantastical niche of the “byonin,” creatures that are horned similar to the oni of ancient Japanese folklore. The art of Giannis Milonogiannis helps to push this story, with his minimalist style paired with a low amount of dialogue. In every way, Milogiannis captures a cinematic scope with his drawings that haerken back to old Kurosowa films.

The unsung hero of this piece is colorist Irma Knivila whose bold color choices blend this fantastical Asian fable together. With the scenic landscapes being paired in the vein of the manga-style figures, it properly effuses the Asian references. Through Knivila’s coloring, it allows for them to pair stark landscapes with bold hues of color that represent the ancient nature of this narrative. Within this story, Pak, Milogiannis, Knivila, and letterer Simon Bowland have pushed their story into a historically embraced narrative. It serves as a proper display of being a virtuoso in the medium by all creators of this series.

Creative Team: Greg Pak (writer), Giannis Milonogiannis (artist), Irma Knivila (colorist), Simon Bowland (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Click here to purchase. 

Arbaz Mohammad Khan, Fanbase Press Guest Contributor



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