Thursday, April 19, 2007

Samurai: Heaven and Earth

Ron Marz & Luke Ross

Ron Marz, the former Crossgen creator, writes a samurai epic that's easily superior to his attempt at a samurai story on Crossgen's bland The Path. Collaborating with him on the Dark Horse five issue mini-series is Luke Ross, whose art reminds me quite a bit of Greg Land, without looking as stiff and photo-referenced, but much more natural; Very realistic and really just beautiful with scenes of cherry blossom trees and palaces. And credit has to be given to Jason Keith, whose work on the colors served to bring everything together in a great package. The battle scenes in this collection are pretty fantastic, and even though the protagonist and love interest are the boring iconic characters with little personality you'd expect them to be, there are some supporting characters that make the adventures of our hero worth it as he attempts to reunite with the one he loves. The Three Musketeers in particular are playful, fun characters with witty dialogue between them. Overall, this is a great epic story that spans continents with bloody samurai battles that mean the end of centuries-old rulers, and political assassination attempts that incriminate our hero. It's certainly entertaining enough, but the art is what really cinches the deal and makes this something exceptional. A-

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