Review: ‘Shinku’ Vol. 1

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Heavy on stylized sword play and vampire slaying, Shinku Vol. 1 is packed with eye-pooping visuals, intense action, and blood-spattering samurai gore. There are so many severed limbs in this series, it puts Kill Bill to shame. Ron Marz deliver a wild mix of manga, samurai, and horror in “Shinku” Vol. 1.

WRITTEN BY: Ron Marz
ART BY: Lee Moder
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
PRICE: $14.99
RELEASE: November 14th, 2012

Shinku is the last surviving member of the vampire-slaying samurai clan. Dedicated in killing her enemies, she wages an all-out war with the bloodthirsty vampires. In modern-day Tokyo, an American scientist, Davis Quinn, finds himself far away from home and way out of his league. When Davis stepped into the club, he never thought his night would end with being eaten alive by a female vampire. Davis, the male damsel in distress, unexpectedly finds himself right in front of Shinku’s path of destruction. Shinku rescues Davis from sudden death, and a blood sample that could wipe out the entire vampire race falls into her hands.

What surprises me the most is the humorous banter between Davis and his only friend in Japan, Reizo. This is the type of hormone-crazed dialogue you would regularly expect from raunchy teen comedies, like Sex Drive. The witty interactions between Reizo, who never holds back, and Davis, who is completely reserved, always hits the right comedic notes. The sex-charged dialogue works well as the two wander around the nightclub. Ron Marz knows how to keep the story engaging with his wicked sense of humor, while making sure to loose on the bloody samurai action.

Marz makes a solid attempt to keep Shinku an interesting character, even though she has little character development. She doesn’t want to get close to anyone and is always focused on her revenge-seeking mission. Despite actually needing Davis’ help, Shinku seems to be ordering him around at all times. When Davis tries to get a reaction out of her stone-cold face, she always finds a way to block her emotions and steer the conversation in her direction.

Lee Moder’s artwork is always stylish when it comes down to the blood and gore. During a vampire attack, Shinku brutally stabs a vampire in the neck with a broken bottle. In a splash page, Moder captures Shinku’s rage as her face is drenched in sweat and blood. The poses are stretched out as Shinku ducks and slashes her sword in the air. Moder wants readers to see the graphic violence when Shinku chops off the arms and head of a bloodsucker. From top to bottom, Moder provides Shinku with a very bad attitude and skin-tight red leather.

Moder clearly has a lot of fun drawing Shinku riding around on her motorcycle. Moder illustrates the tight swerves and jumps as Shinku races her motorcycle across the streets. When Shinku speeds away, the taillights from the motorcycle are glowing red and leave a trail right behind her. Moder pays attention to the details in the wardrobe and hairstyle of the antagonist, Lord Asano. Reflecting on old values and tradition, Lord Asano represents a long-lost time period as he maintains living in modern times.

There is a great amount of bloodshed, sex, and excitement in “Shinku” Vol.1, making it a solid vampire/action story.

4/5 skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis