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Aya #5

Posted: Saturday, October 7, 2006
By: Ray Tate



"Face Off"

Writer: Todd Vincino
Artists: Chad Smith, Hertzog & Legio Studios
Publisher: AK Comics

Holy crap! I haven’t seen this type of acrobatics in comic books since DC published the Batman: Animated Series spin-off comic books. Ah, how I miss thee.

Aya is one big fight between our spunky, costumed vigilante gal and four well-armed psychopaths. The lunatics bear weapons ranging from razor sharp fans, swords, throwing knives, semi-automatics and a pair of massive portable Gatling guns. Aya carries her wit, skill and ability to overcome her fear.

The psychopaths target Aya’s benefactor and handler Zero, who works for a benevolent shadow government that keeps the world safe. I love the concept. I was a huge fan of UNCLE, and the group in Aya tends to take off from The United Network Command for Law Enforcement's optimistic outlook of global cooperation for the greater good.

When Aya encounters the psychotics, readers will be treated to an energetic ballet of survival. The art simply leaves one breathless, and I’m not even a fan of this artist’s cartoon style, but where Chris Smith leaves much to be desired in traditional old school design, he more than makes up for in the animation and choreography of the fight. Within his style, the characters retain proportion and scale.

Lithely drawn Aya executes cartwheels, flips and somersaults as well as bodily ricochets across the rooftops to avoid being stabbed, shot and blown to bits. She then uses her gymnastic skills offensively to perform some of the most jaw-dropping stunts I’ve seen in a comic book.

Her stand out performance easily suspends the reader’s disbelief. In this scene, she outmaneuvers Panzer, the poster child for the NRA. There’s not much in terms of dialogue during the story, but there doesn’t need to be. Aya is not a constantly crack-wising hero like Spider-Man. The dialogue is terse, and less is definitely more in this situation.

This issue of Aya is not only entertaining; it’s an arousing informative panel by panel instruction manual for people looking to add excitement to comic books. I wish more people would study.



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