B. Clay Moore, writer
Fernando Dagnino, artist
Jose Villarrubia, colorist
Jeff Powell, letters
This issue begins, a female protagonist combats a hooded assailant. The inner monologue laments that true love doesn’t exist. Prophetically the narrative states that everyone dies as a woman arrives to find the limp body of the protagonist. It occurs in Aspen Colorado. This story transitions to London, England and then Burano, Italy The story tracks the conquest of three characters: Desdemona Rush, Roger Thorpe, and Shuriken. All have special physical abilities and are highly trained in martial arts. This issue is packed full of intrigue as ninja warriors take turns trying to take down the protagonists while they are united by a common task: gaining possession of an artifact called “the tears of the burning monk.”
The most engaging part of this story is the multiple characters who are all connected by a mysterious character named “Jonin.” All three of the protagonists were trained by Jonin in martial arts, among other things. Of the three, Shuriken is the most interesting because she’s given the task of bringing the group together. The writers keep the tension in the story by not revealing too much too soon about these characters. Furthermore they build mystery through investigation of the appearance of ninja character that are out to kill them.
Another real-life element of the book is the presence of a character named Mr. Alcott, a member of the British intelligence group MI6. He is credited with training the ninjas that attack the protagonists. The information this character holds might be the clue to unraveling why Jonnin is searching for this lost artifact or how these three characters, Desdemona, Thorpe, and Shuriken became connected to him.
The art helps ground this otherwise outlandish story about ageless super-powered characters. The book is well-paced and utilizes a strong and distinctive art style that takes advantage of the setting. For example, Burano is in Italy and pictured around him are quaint buildings colored in greens and yellows and greens. As a reader, you can almost feel the brick roads and smell the arid wind off the Mediterranean by the visual aesthetic alone.
This is an interesting murder mystery story plugged into a mystical world. I am very interested in these characters and in their pursuit. I’m also interested in the backstory for how they became superpowered and how Jonin has control over them? I can hardly wait to see where this goes, more importantly, how we get there.