The Comic Queen

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Monday, December 20, 2004

Samurai: Heaven and Earth #1 Review

Script by Ron Marz; Art by Luke Ross; colors by Jason Keith; Letters by Dave Lanphear
Dark Horse Comics $2.99

Samurai: Heaven and Earth gets started in a stunning first issue this month. Asukai Shiro, a samurai warrior, spends his last night before a battle in which he will most likely perish, with his lover Lady Yoshiko. They share a wonderful passion-filled night, before Shiro must join up with Lord Tokudaiji’s forces to fight in an unwinnable battle. Somehow Shiro survives and goes to escape with Yoshiko. He arrives at her chambers only to find them empty. She has been kidnapped. Now the real journey, to find his true love, begins.

This comic book couldn’t be any better looking. It is one of the most beautiful books of the year. Everything covered, from the love scenes to the battles is gorgeous. The battle scenes are especially rich with detail. Uniforms are colorful, bright and highly decorated. Ross doesn’t skimp on quality on any page. Each one is a delicious treat that rewards the reader.

The panel layout is striking as well. Each spread is different, with interesting sizes and shapes. Again, the battle scenes are especially cool with one larger panel and followed by a series of smaller panels that pull out individual pieces of action. Some pages look almost like stop motion animation. Each page is unexpected and different.

Although the story is just getting started and dialogue is thin, Marz really treats the reader well. There is just enough of the story introduced and just enough interaction between characters to get the readers hooked and clamoring for the next issue.

This is one of the most promising first issues in a long time. Waiting for issue two is already taxing and testing the patience of this reader in particular. The book is just that satisfying and I can’t wait for another helping.

Bottom Line: A

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