Legend of The Shadow Clan #1 – #2 Review
Pencils & Ink: Corey Smith
Colors: John Starr
Publisher: Aspen Comics
I can’t say I was terribly excited by this read but I have to say I may be the wrong age for it. I found it to have a very Saturday morning cartoons feeling, but with a little more violence. This may, in fact, be a perfect read for someone in the 10 – 14 age range. But even with that in mind, I feel that young people today may be exposed to more complex and interesting characters. By the end of issue 2 I was still waiting to see how these characters stood out as something a little different.
The most interesting point of the story is the beginning where we see a secret militia of men attack a floating lab out in the Atlantic Ocean. These mysterious men appear as midnight black and silent as the starry night they descend from. With great acumen they take out the entire crew and security guards. This was the best part for me.
I thought the sounds, execution, and build up of the attack was well drawn and sequenced. Later you find out this is Koji Takurei and his team of killers. I suppose we will find out more about Koji as the story continues, but he has a potent opening line of affirmation on the very first page – “I am a servant. My master is chaos. My master is death.”
I also found that to be the beginning of an interesting character but it doesn’t go very much further from there. He mentions an affinity and heritage that stems from a Japanese warrior class that served those in power until things shifted in the 19th century.
I don’t mind some good, classic character icons in a book, but I think even for young readers you’ve got to color them with a little individuality and style. I found the main characters to be a little too one dimensional to have any kind long lasting appeal. There is no apparent conflict within the nuclear family of five, except the usual verbal jousting between sassy, hot older sister Morgan, and her class clown brother, Brayden; A dynamic that is seen in almost any of the ‘80s family sitcoms in syndication.
Brayden seems to be the star of the book so far. He does some pretty crazy Parkour acrobatics trying to avoid being caught arriving late to school, but he doesn’t quite succeed. Later, in issue 2, he follows two gorgeous twins out of detention and they randomly start roof hopping which made no sense to me. Of course, he gets caught again by a school administrator but his well spoken sister gets him out of another detention by giving him an alibi.
I didn’t quite grasp the point of the detention scene, the roof hopping, or Brayden’s acrobatic prowess being displayed somewhat uselessly. I guess it could be funny that he uses such impressive physical skills just to mess around and avoid being in school, but I feel like we don’t need so much redundant confirmation that the kid is a bit of a slacker.
There are some mysteries to be unraveled here. What vital secrets do Brayden’s father, Richard and his employer harbor? One night while Richard goes to the office to catch up on some work, a jovial & huge programmer/co-worker is killed by the same Ninja-like assassins that we see in the beginning of the story. When Richard discovers the body, one of the assassins sees and chases him – where he’s eventually forced to use some out-of-nowhere skills to kill his attacker.
Richard must have some secrets too.
There are some good story elements here, but I would have appreciated some more interesting layouts and visuals through out the story, not just at the beginning. I would have liked to have seen a little substance and salt of the earth in these characters. I don’t relate to them and they don’t live off the page for me.
by Jason A Olson