A few weeks ago I was given the privilege of reviewing a preview copy of Samurai’s Blood by Owen Wiseman, Nam Kim & Matt Dalton.  This new limited comic series from Image Comics is unlike a lot of comics I typically read.  I’m very much a fan of sci-fi and fantasy and therefore the majority of the comics I read on a regular basis can easily be placed in one of those two genres.  Samurai’s Blood, however, was a refreshing and engaging change of pace for me.

The issue starts with the massacre of an entire family line and ends with the introduction of our three protagonists: Jun, Katashi and Mayuko.  My favorite part of this book, however, is the other layer to the basic plot, namely the general story of the samurai ideology and way of life.  Wiseman places a “voice over” description of what it means to be a samurai throughout the issue.  However, the dialogue and images support this description in a manner that is less obvious and more subtle than many other samurai stories that I’ve come across.  You aren’t visibly seeing a samurai live out these ideals as they are being described. Instead, you’re getting a lesson/hint as to what the protagonists will need to learn as they continue their own journey throughout this series.

You can tell that Wiseman definitely knows what he is talking about in terms of samurai legend and lore without the issue being too fact-heavy.  Additionally, Kim & Dalton’s art is intricate and beautiful and enhances every element of the story.  Each panel is a delicate balance between image, idea, and plot.  (NB: You can read more about Wiseman’s background in terms of Japanese culture in an article on CBR from last month.)

But the absolute #1 reason why you should buy this book today? It’s only $1! Really. Not kidding. An excellent, well-developed story with gorgeous art AND a cover from Jo Chen (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) for a dollar?! Just do it.

For Los Angeles Nerds there is a launch party for Samurai’s Blood at Golden Apple Comics TONIGHT, Wednesday, June 8, from 6-9pm.

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