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Shinku #2

Posted by Luke Brown On July - 7 - 2011

The second issue of Ron Marz’s and Lee Moder’s creator-owned vampire ninja saga Shinku arrived this week, and it was none too soon. I’d been looking forward to this book more than most everything else hitting shelves this month, and the creative team does not disappoint one bit.

Shinku #2
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Lee Moder

The first issue of Shinku had me hooked almost immediately. Moder’s precise interiors perfectly captured action and quiet moments alike. Marz has always said he tries to write to an artist’s strengths, and the effortlessness with which Moder brings the script to life serves as a great example of Marz knowing how to get the most out of a collaborator. This second installment only strengthens that point further.

Picking up some time after the conclusion of the first issue, Shinku and Davis are staking out a hotel where the vampire head honcho is supposedly holed up. Shinku’s plan is to infiltrate, but we readers, like Davis, are left a bit in the dark as to why Shinku is going in. Once she steps into action, we see that every move she has is calculated, and we trust that she knows what she’s doing. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of characterization in the first issue, but the more I read, the more I feel like Marz is allowing us to put ourselves in Davis’ shoes. He’s intrigued by all that’s happening, but really doesn’t know why or how at this point. It’s clear that while Shinku is educating Davis on the history of the samurai, Marz is using her as his voice to educate the reader. It’s never condescending, nor does it feel out of place.

When Shinku tells Davis to be quiet at the beginning of page seven, she’s looking down (or up, depending on your perspective) at the reader. She’s the only character on the page. Marz is addressing us to be silent and take in what’s transpiring as Moder shows Shinku readying her bow to take out the two vampire sentries on the rooftop across the street. There’s not a single sound again until the next page. Moder does some nice work laying out the panels here (without a script in front of me I can’t see what Marz’s original script breakdown was). Shinku’s methodical silence combined with the random flashing of the neon signs casting various light sources on her (a nice touch by colorist Michael Atiyeh) makes for one great page. And that’s just the tip of the silent panel work. There are about a dozen more silent panels this issue that Moder just owns with his storytelling ability.

There aren’t any shocking revelations to spoil this issue, as most of the pages revolve around Shinku slicing and dicing her way to the big bad Asano. Of course, all of her hard work is merely to show Asano that she can reach him, and she can do it easily. I should also say whichever of the creators involved had the idea to give Shinku a blood mask that acted as a de facto ninja mask should be patted on the back. I didn’t quite catch it the first time through, but on the second reading found the placement of blood spatter to work quite nicely within the confines of the story. One cannot say there hasn’t been enough blood shed in the first two issues of this book. That’s for certain.

If I did have to point out one thing that just didn’t sit well with me this issue, it’s that apparently Shinku and Davis have formulated a plan based on Davis’ skills as a hematologist. Possibly? Without any indication of this at all over the course of the last 44 pages, it comes as a bit of a surprise that Shinku entrusts Davis with Asano’s blood. The first issue left off with Shinku merely educating Davis on her mission, and we still really had no idea who Davis was. That’s still true after this issue. Though I suppose we’re a little bit closer to knowing just what purpose Davis serves in Shinku’s agenda. I’m sure we’ll find out more in the coming issues, but it really did come right out of nowhere at the end of the book, and threw me a bit. That said, this creative team has done more than enough solid work in two issues for me to overlook this instance, and keep me coming back for more.

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