Woah hold up...according to my Blogger dashboard, this be my 500th post! Yaaaaay! *cue flailing Kermit arms*
But I digress. Vampires, ghosts and ghouls pervade this Week in Comics, and it couldn't come at a better time with Halloween just a couple of weeks away! Let's see what I got myself into!
First up is Bushido #1, detailing the story of Kichiro, a gaijin (foreigner) raised by a kindly samurai in feudal Japan. With his dream of becoming a samurai himself out of his reach (foreigners aren't allowed to become samurai), Kichiro may soon have to carve his own path to greatness when vampires begin invading Japan...and he may be the only one who can stand in their way!
"Based on a screenplay..." it says on the inside-front cover, and Bushido #1 definitely reads like the first 15 minutes of a genre movie. There's a little bit of everything in this one issue, from romance to horror to action, and it makes for very satisfying reading. Writer Rob Levin does a good job of letting the story beats flow smoothly from one scene to the next, and of making the character of Kichiro likable and fresh. Kichiro is noble and humble, a refreshing take from the arrogant gaijin archetype, and you'll find yourself rooting for him in all this.
Of course, this isn't just a Japanese period drama. There are vampires here, dawg, and if you wanna see if these filthy bloodsuckers can survive the steel of a katana, this is the comic to see.
The art, by Jessada Sutthi is very pretty. The whole comic is illustrated digitally, and it compliments the story's very cinematic feel. I'm a bit iffy with digital art, having seen my share of digitally-rendered comic books that left a bad taste in my mouth. Thankfully, Bushido is actually one of the better digitally-illustrated comic books I've read, and I'm happy to see living, breathing characters here instead of boring, lifeless pinups with eyes all-too glazed for comfort.
Bottom line, Bushido #1 is a promising comic, its intriguing samurai vs vampire mash-up and great art ensuring you will come back for more. Issue two even comes out next week, so you won't have to wait to see what happens next. This gets a 4 out of 5.
And finally we come to The Witching Hour #1, a collection of horror stories in the vivid Vertigo manner. It's an eclectic mix of scary tales, from witchcraft (like Steve Beach's "Daniel") to the to the creepy-crawly (like Kelly Sue DeConnick's unnerving story "Legs") to the straight-up psychological (like Brett Lewis' "Mars to Stay"). Even Neil Gaiman's Dead Boy Detectives make an appearance, if you're a fan. Every story stands out in its own way, and horror fans will probably find one or two stories they'd like here.
I'm not really much into horror, to be honest, and I found myself latching onto the stories in The Witching Hour #1 that remind ourselves that for all the monsters and ghosts our minds can cook up, nothing compares to what real life can do. I particularly liked Annie Mok and Emily Carroll's "This Witch's Work", a short story dealing with abuse, and the toll it takes on the person on the receiving end of it. The monstrous images Reina conjures up in her mind when reminded of her abuse as a child is chilling
Another favorite of mine is "Little Witch" by Ales Kot and Morgan Jeske, a tale of an American soldier's friendship with an Afghan girl trying to escape the stigma of being born female. This story in particular stands out from the rest as its subject matter isn't particularly horrific, but I guess regret gnawing at you from the inside is just as potent as fear. I especially liked how it ended in a surprisingly hopeful note, a ray of light from all the scary, scary darkness.
All in all, The Witching Hour #1 is divine horror done right, not too shocking as to alienate casual readers and yet potent enough to leave a sliver of fear in your soul. This gets a 5 out of 5. You won't regret picking this up...and it's in season too!
Wow. Two solid horror comics...a pretty good week, if you ask me! What comics did you get this week? Leave me a comment via the comment box below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading!