While consistency is important, sometimes the best time to change things is early on. Going from a western-styled comic to manga artwork can be quite jarring, but luckily this can be done with grace while a title is still finding its footing. Samurai Shin 1.5 offers a trip back in time that gives a better look at who Keith is and how he met his rival, Amir. It also gives us a controlled dose of our powerful antagonists.
It’s hard to tell if writer Mikel Miles may still be finding his voice, but it’s very clear that he has a story to tell that’s worth mulling through some linguistic deficiencies. At first, it seems like dialogue hops back and forth between modern slang and proper, feudal conversing. This juxtaposition seems more informed once we get a glimpse at a showdown involving a gun that couldn’t have coexisted with historical samurai. In fact, the mixture of techology and culture beg to be further explored. We all want to live among the warriors of old, but we also like our smart phones and plumbing systems. The story gives focus on Keith’s relationship with his father and how it affects him to present day. Much like we’ve seen of Amir’s mother in issue 1, this helps us find where our rival protagonists come from emotionally. It’s a treat that we don’t always get in tales of sword-weilding men of action. The character exploration continues to be a highlight of this series and for that, we can thank Miles.
The illustration by Harley Dela Cruz is a curve ball from the previous issue but it still hits its mark all the same. There are many who find the absence of color to take too much from the tone of sequential art, but the linework and masterful shading in this issue is enough to win over the most diehard holdouts. The action sequences are very strong, as are the expressions of the characters. The backgrounds can be a bit minimalist, but they have a consistent ambiance that really brings even the most sparingly included details to life. The lettering and sequential flow are well done; there’s no points that make you stop reading to figure out who’s speaking or which order to read the panels.
Overall, issue 1.5 delivers everything you loved about the story presented in the first issue, but gives alittle more depth to the areas that got less attention. If you’re ready for some sword-swinging, gun-toting, bear-headed action, then Samurai Shin is definitely a title to watch for.
Mixing Modern and Feudal Times
Highlighting character development