Ever since receiving an advance preview copy of Shinku from Marz at the Albany Comic Con last year, I’ve been chompin’ at the bit to read this title. Then, it was a black and white title with only the color red used during certain scenes. Now, it’s a fully colored issue that has Lee Moder’s artwork looking just as good from the minute you open the book to the very last page. What made me even more eager to get my hands on this was a panel at the most recent ACC headed by Marz and Moder themselves, where they discussed their labor of love that is Shinku.
Davis is your average guy who is unwinding with his friend at a club one night in Tokyo. At the prompting of his buddy, the socially awkward Davis approaches a woman who he hopes will “indulge” him for the evening. He ends up getting a bit more than he bargained for when she’s all too willing to take him outside for some back alley lovin’. However, the night is cut short quite literally during one of the best decapitation scenes to grace a comic. Davis is quickly brought into a world he didn’t know existed nor is prepared for after meeting Shinku. She is the last descendant of the Tatadaka Samurai clan, who have been at war with a rival clan of samurai who are also vampires.
The story moves pretty fast as Marz gives you the essentials needed to enjoy Shinku, so you won’t feel like you’re just thrown into it and left scratching your head. This is effectively done in a flashback sequence as Shinku brings Davis up to speed on what is going on and why his date is lying in an alley separated from her head. I’m actually hoping that at some point Marz goes back to that time period, because I’m sure there are a few good stories he could tell since this war has been going on for quite some time. The opening scene in the club was just perfect and is probably my favorite part of dialog, because I remember having a very similar conversation many years ago. The rest of the issue is paced out very well and delivers the beginning of a good story amongst the violence, sex, and nudity that Marz and Moder had promised. So I don’t recommend this one for the kiddies.
Lee Moder’s artwork was awesome in black and white, but I will admit that seeing everything in color takes it to another level. There wasn’t a panel that didn’t impress, and the two splash pages of the samurai battle are the stand out pieces in this issue. This is my opinion after thinking that it couldn’t get better after the drive-by decapitation scene. So kudos to Matthew Waite and Michael Atiyeh for helping to give Moder’s already great artwork some extra kick.
Reading Shinku was like Marz and Moder got inside my head, pulled out a bunch of stuff I like, put it together, then kicked it up a notch! This was a fast and fun title to read, and I’m definitely on board to see how the first arc plays out. Especially since these are the type of vampires that interest me instead of what’s been put out in the past few years as the “vampire standard.” So thanks to Marz and Moder for bringing their creator-owned title to the masses, and I suggest you pick up a copy of Shinku when it hits shelves June 1st.
Advance review copy provided by Image Comics.