In the same mold as those spaghetti westerns and classic martial arts films that highlighted the big screens in the 1970’s and 1980’s, Titan Comics take readers back to that raw emotion and fast action fans came to love with the first issue of “Samurai #1: The Isle with No Name” by Jean-François Di Giorgio and Frédéric Genêt.
After his victory over the powerful General Akuma in the battle to save Imperial Japan, our brave young Samurai Takeo goes off on a quest to find inner peace. Giving up on the comforts awarded victors, he hopes to find a missing brother, discover the secret surrounding his family history, and possibly solve the mystery behind his tattoo. Armed only with his exceptional fighting skills and a sword which cannot be re-sheathed until it draws blood, his new journey finds himself on the mysterious Isle with No Name.
The island’s unique name has a symbolic role in the overall theme of this first issue and should be a draw for fans of Japanese theater. “Noh” is a derived from the Japanese word for “skill” or “talent” and it is the name of the theatrical art of storytelling in traditional Japan. When Takeo arrives on the island, we learn that a horrible ritual is looming with the fate of the local people resting in our Samurai’s skills a tournament to the death against the great Shobei.
The name “No” is also reflective of the old spaghetti westerns starring Clint Eastwood as the man with “no” name. Just like Eastwood’s character, we find Takeo quickly establishing himself as the savior to a town of fearful residents with little or no hope against an evil daunting force. Always on the side of good, our hero cannot proceed with his hidden agenda without giving a hand to those in need.
The artwork of this first issue of Samurai is stunning. The colors depict the bright vividness familiar to Japanese cultures and the action is captured masterfully. The visual motion of the action and the crisp detail of the harsh violence helps bring each pane to life. If this type of imagery continues in the other issues that follow, this series is already a collector’s dream.
“Samurai #1: The Isle with No Name” swept into town earlier this month like a warrior looking for trouble, and what it found was a comic shelf full of material fandom loves.