Samurai’s Blood is an engaging tale that takes place in 17th century Japan. The heart of this six-issue series lies at the feet of a trio of youngsters who find themselves on the run after a usurper has destroyed their clan family leaving them the solve survivors.
Writer Owen Wiseman calls on a deft knowledge of Japanese history and culture to create a vivid world that lies on the edge of the periphery of actual historical events. In doing so, the characters are infused with a heightened sense of realism as they are not forced to adhere to the standards of a much more confined setting would entail if set against a historically accurate backdrop.
In the premiere issue, we meet the mainstays of the title. Sanjo Junichi is the last son remaining of Clan Sanjo, thrust into the role of daimyo of his clan along with his sister Mayuko, who should absolutely be in conflict with family and love as the series progresses. Finally, Kajiro Katashi is a young man aspiring to be a samurai as he romances Mayuko. These trio of youngsters will no doubt embark on an adventure that will without question see them forced to become adults in a vow for vengeance and placed in situations where treachery and manipulation will be the norm.
Samurai’s Blood is an elegant opening salvo into the world that Wiseman so artistically creates. The characters are fascinating — even the cookie cutter villains who play their part effectively, if not expectedly. It still does not dull the nature of the story at hand which moves at a fast and frenetic clip. It is also very violent, though not particularly graphic, as we bear witness to an entire clan being wiped out in various manners.
The artwork holds a semblance of manga at its heart and it works wonderfully in context. Nam Kim’s pencils enhance an already captivating tale and add an extra layer of depth. The inking and coloring add a lush and vibrant feel to Kim’s line work.
Samurai’s Blood is the gem of the week — I am enamored with the setting of the story and the progression of these characters at the moment, and certainly where they can be taken. The writing and art work is top-notch, but if that isn’t enough to sell you keep in mind that this first issue is only a buck. Great fantastic samurai ass-kicking fun!