Ask for these titles at your local comic book store, or online from Dark Horse's official site.
47 Ronin #3
Art by Stan Sakai and Adapted by Mike Richardson
I am enjoying the heck out of this little book. Stan Sakai's characters are simplified, but his panels have deep compositions which are enriched with lush natural details. Whether intended or not, there seems to be a kinship to Herge's Tintin that makes this book feel a little like "Tintin in Edo Era Japan." And much like Herge, Sakai has done his homework. The level of care he took to recreate this world is truly impressive.
But if you are looking for an interpretation that strips the story of the 47 Ronin of all of its embellishments and tries to be a real historical account, look elsewhere. Stan Sakai definitely prefers the drama of fiction. He and Mike Richardson are trying to revel in the legend more than the history. But when there is evidence of place and it informs the story, they really try their best to get them right. From the clothing, to the clan mons, not much is modernized or inaccurate if they could find historical reference.
If you have never read the tale of the 47 Ronin before, this is an excellent one to start with.
Story by Christos Gage & Jeff Parker with Art by Brian Ching
The final issue of the Willow mini-series, and I am a little disappointed. It wasn't bad, but the idea of an ongoing Willow series made the early issues much more powerful. As I had mentioned before, I was looking forward to Willow dimension hopping between different realms of genre fiction. This is something wholly different. Not that it's bad, it certainly develops the character, and ends quite a few threads that have been running in her storyline for quite some time. Jeff and Christos certainly have character voices down, and nothing feels out of place, it just comes to a very abrupt ending after opening so many doors and sharing so many possibilities. Just stop having good ideas, Jeff Parker.
The real joy of this series is Brian Ching's art. It feels like everyone is made out of quicksilver. Characters' features are not always proportional, and they are constantly twisting in the wind like hair on a Steve McNiven character, but it still somehow fits comfortably in the Buffy-verse "house style" while feeling like something from a completely different company all together. I look forward to see the next book he works on.
Again, I can't help that this was different from what I expected, but there's a parallel dimension where Jeff Parker is writing a comic about Willow using magic to stop Captain Ahab from killing Moby Dick, and I await the technology to read it.
Story by Paul Tobin, Art by Juan Ferreyra
Remember back in January when I said I was going to talk about "sharing my sudden disappointment at a particular series that has quickly become my favorite book on the stands?" Well, this is that book.
If you're a fan of H. P. Lovecraft, or any classic horror writers that rely on psychological horror instead of gore, this book is definitely worth your time. Paul Tobin creates a terrifying world that is nestled between the cracks of our sanity, and creates a love story that doesn't make me cringe. I don't want to over-hype this book, but I'm not done yet.
The real powerhouse in this series is Juan Ferreyra. Every twisted idea in Paul Tobin's head is designed so perfectly that you believe it could be real, while your mind reels at the possibility. The level of craft in his storytelling is easily on-par with Gabriel Rodriguez' work in the pages of Locke & Key.
When it began, it had a lot of promise as an ongoing epic series "in the vein of Garth Ennis' Preacher" (as the marketing touted), but alas it is only a miniseries. When I made that last post I caught the "of 5" on the cover and my heart sank. If this book was canceled due to low readership, I can't help but feel personally responsible for not talking about this book with every person I meet.
When the issues are collected, I can GUARANTEE we will be featuring it on the podcast.
That's it for me this week. Hope everyone is enjoying the episode archives. New episodes are on the horizon. And if you haven't checked out our store, we have some great CBotMP t-shirts and stickers thanks to all of our helpful Kickstarter backers.
And as always, if you disagree with anything I've said, then prove me wrong.