Published on March 9th, 2016 | by Kevin Given
Review: Samurai: The Isle With No Name #1 (of 2)
I love a good martial arts tale. I used to watch Kung Fu theatre religiously on Saturday afternoons and writer Jean Francis Di Giorgio seems to have channeled the best of them in this intriguing little story. The art from Frederic Genet is unusually bright given the dark nature of the plot, but it is very effective in that it reminds one of the old ’70’s TV series Kung Fu. However it’s set in Japan, not America. This is the first in a two issue series.
The long-running French comic book series Samurai is returning with a new series at Titan. Previously published by Marvel and Soleil, Jean-Francois Di Giorgio and Frédéric Genêt’s series returns with a fifth volume.
Our hero is Takeo, who was involved in the battle to save Japan from the vile General Akuma. He, in similar fashion to Kwai Chang Cane of the aforementioned TV show, is on a quest to discover the truth about his family. Unlike Caine, Takeo is also seeking the nature of a mysterious tattoo that he bears. He also has a neat sword which can’t be sheathed until it’s used to shed blood.
The issue opens with Shobei-Dono about to board a ship when he is attacked out of nowhere. In an action scene that’s obviously used to show what a bad ass the old man is, Shobei takes out several swordsmen without breaking a sweat. The ship then embarks on a trip to the “Isle with no name.”
The tension mounts as the first issue reaches a strong climax with Yakuza warriors descending upon the Island to collect a ‘tithe’ from the peasants, who are fighting disease and sickness in addition to their financial insecurities. Shobi has lost everything he loves in a past tragedy and doesn’t care if he lives or dies anymore. Takeo and he cross paths. Will they wind up friends or enemies? They discover that they both had the same Sensei in conversation. A great deal of Martial arts swordplay throughout. Friendships will be tested and family ties will be strained. All in all one of the best Martial arts comics I’ve read in recent years. ****
On Sale: Sept. 30, 2015
Writer Jean-François Di Giorgio
Artist Frédéric Genét