I’d be a liar if I told you I was a huge fan of vampire comics. What I am a fan of though are creator-owned comics. Especially those handled by some of my favorite creators. Shinku #1 happens to be all three of these things, and after reading Ron Marz and Lee Moder’s debut issue, I may be adding a vampire comic to my pull list. Gasp!
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Lee Moder
Longtime readers of this site know that I’m a pretty big fan of Ron Marz. His run on Green Lantern with Darryl Banks got me back into comic books, and I haven’t stopped reading since. When I heard about Shinku, I was looking forward to giving it a read, but I wasn’t all that sure I was going to like it. I don’t really care for vampire stories, and Shinku seemed like it would be nothing more than Blade with boobs. I hate when people don’t give books a chance because of some made up stigma they’ve attached to it, so trusting in the creative team involved, I decided to check out Shinku #1 anyway.
In short, Shinku is the last descendant of an ancient clan of samurai warriors. Her lineage’s oldest enemy, a clan of vampires, has been at war with her ancestors for years, and as the last of her namesake, it’s up to Shinku to end this feud once and for all. It’s a simple enough concept that anyone reading this can immediately understand the stakes. Marz creates a world and characters that are instantly familiar, and at the same time fantastical. A centuries long battle between warrior clans culminating in the modern era should give him ample room to create a wonderful action tapestry. The wait for that action isn’t long in this first issue, and though it’s brief and brutal, Shinku’s efficiency makes complete sense. Though we only get but a glimpse of Shinku’s abilities, her vast armory alludes to a skill set that I’m sure Marz will only be happy to write for Lee Moder to draw.
Not enough can be said though of Lee Moder’s work this issue. Teamed with Matthew Waite and Michael Atiyeh, every panel Moder draws pops off the page, breathing life into the story. Moder has drawn a lot of different kinds of comics, and though I’ve only read a small portion of them, I know that the work he’s doing on Shinku is among the best he’s ever done. It doesn’t take more than a few pages to see how much fun Moder is having with this book. His character facial expressions are excellent, and his clean line work gels perfectly with Atiyeh’s coloring scheme. It’s not quite watercolor or ink wash, but it has those qualities, and the look suits the book incredibly well.
The only hang-up I have with this introductory issue is that I didn’t really get a feel for who Shinku was as a character just yet. Marz has a knack for strong characterization, and I was a little surprised there was so little of it this issue. Right now all I know about Shinku is that she doesn’t like people in her personal quarters, and she’s devoted to her mission. That’s all well and good for an introductory issue. I just hope there’s a bit more depth hidden beneath that bright red jumpsuit. I’m interested in where the book is going to go, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of what Moder can do when the action gets a bit more intense. If you haven’t grabbed your books from the shop this week, definitely seek out this first issue. And if you did hit the LCS already, make a point to get your retailer to put Shinku aside for you for the next time you’re in.