ADVANCE REVIEW! The Immortal: Demon in the Blood #1 will go on sale Wednesday, December 21, 2011.
The effort is there, and so are the intentions. Unfortunately the first issue of The Immortal: Demon in the Blood falls short. The backgrounds are consistently well done in a vaguely Japanese feel, but the characters are inconsistent throughout the comic. The characters are drawn in a way that feels a bit dated, like something from the late '80s or early '90s. There are points, particularly in the middle of the book, where the art shines and feels a bit sharper. Outside the background art though, the art has a blurred and dated feel to it, detracting from the quality of the book.
The story translates fairly well. Just a few grammatical mistakes, but completely forgivable and not distracting from the story at all. I actually had to read it multiple times to even catch any. In terms of the story being told, a good eye will spot several images in throughout the book that will shed some light on potential story points in future issues. Some of the dialogue is giggle worthy, at one point a character repeats "Honor must be satisfied." so many times I thought his brain froze, but over all it fits.
The story has the distinct feel of a Japanese Samurai feel to it, but lost in the pages is the sense of immersion you get with films of the same style. The themes are all there, fitting into place as they should. A dying man is rescued by a mysterious old man who saves his life by tattooing an Oni, or demon, to his dominate hand. Naturally, not all is as it seems and through a series of not so surprising events the stage is set for the next three issues.
This isn't supposed to be a ground breaking story however. It is more importantly an adaptation of a Japanese novel, Ura-Enma. In that respect the story does a good job, breaking up the opening of the novel and extracting the key points and turning them into a story to fit inside the panels of a comic. I am intrigued as to how they'll fit everything into 4 issues, but that is the hard part about adaptations, taking only what you need, making it your own, and honoring the source material at the same time. So far Edington seems to be doing a decent job of it.
Overall, I think they were going for a film inspired presentation with this issue and it just doesn't work that well in this issue. There are some odd poses with the characters, the dialogue falls flat in some places and the inflection used seems a little out of place at times. There is potential in the story, the action quick and bloody, as it should be. There is a good bit of foreshadowing that saves the comic being a complete let down. If the next issue improves on a few of these issues it could be quite good. As a whole though, this one feels a bit rushed.
Dylan B. Tano is a relatively new reviewer powered by a love of bacon and constantly distracted by a kitten who would rather use his laptop as a bed. He grew up idolizing Spider-Man and can’t believe he gets to review comics all day.