And finally this mini-series is at an end. Its a been a long road, all five weeks of October to be precise, but the story is done and dusted and there have been some important changes in the status quo of Feudal Japan, changes that have rocked the island nation and its foundations. And there have been heroes here, and villains aplenty as Rob Levin brought this screenplay to life as a comic.
When I first picked up this mini-series, I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it turned out. Not really. I thought it’d be decent fun and that was that at the time. But then I began reading it, tuning in each week for the next installment, and finally we are here as Rob Levin closes out the story of Kichiro and Orochi, of a Vampire invasion of Nippon. This week’s final issue turned out to be fairly good, but it was still plagued by all the deficiencies of the previous issue unfortunately.
As we move into the final days of the month, Rob Levin’s comics adaptation of the “Rising Sun” screenplay by Shahin Chandrasoma also draws to a close. Today sees the release of the fourth issue, and then there is one more left till this mini-series completes up and we get the full story of Kichiro’s coming of age from a gaijin to a samurai.
By injecting vampires and their brutality into this story of feudal japan and a denied romance between Kichiro and the Shogun’s daughter, Mitsuko, Levin and Chandrasoma have done much to create their own (inspired) setting. Its certainly been a fun ride this far but the cracks are somewhat showing now. This remains a pretty fun mini-series, but I’m still waiting for it to really step up.
Like I said last time, the fertility of vampires in fiction is at an all-time high these days. Novels or comics, movies or TV shows, they are everywhere, and the horror/urban fantasy genre is doing really well as a result. Frankly, there couldn’t be a better time really if you wanted to write vampires because now is the time to truly differentiate your work from the rest.
And this is what Rob Levin has done with Bushido. Vampires and samurai are a fairly interesting mix to throw together for a story, more so when it is in the medium of comics. Rob Levin presented a fairly interesting take in the first issue of his new mini-series for Top Cow and it proved to be a delightful read. Keeping up the momentum isn’t always easy for a mini-series but Levin looks to be set to do just that with his second issue.
Given the success enjoyed by certain franchises of late (like in the last five years or so), Vampires are everywhere these days. Whether it is in movies or books or TV shows or whatever, there’s at least something going on with them at any given time. Of course, comics have long been a fertile ground for this horror subgenre, particularly if you look at the Vampirella pulp comic that is still alive and kicking today or the various current ongoing comics such as Scott Snyder’s American Vampire.
Joining all these titles is Rob Levin’s latest, an adaptation of a screenplay as it turns out. Levin, who has worked on various Top Cow/Image properties before, is back with a story involving vampires and samurai in feudal Japan, a setting that I really enjoy in any medium, and with the type of characters that I love reading about.
The other day I was having a conversation on Twitter with my reviewer friends Paul Weimer (of SF Signal and Functional Nerds) and Sally Janin (of Qwillery) about a recent debut novel that is causing waves in the publishing industry. The book in question is called Stormdancer and is Jay Kristoff’s first book in the (billed to be) Lotus War series. The premise of the novel is that it is a coming-of-age story of a young girl in a setting that is touted as Japanese Steampunk, and explores her relationship with her somewhat-estranged father and an arashitora, or thunder tiger, or griffin. Our point of discussion was the cultural appropriation by Kristoff in the novel, his particular approach being severely unpalatable to me as someone who, while not very well-versed in, is still quite familiar with Japanese culture. The discussion extended to whether or not a reviewer’s familiarity with the settings/cultures portrayed in a speculative fiction novel play a big part in our perception of how good/bad a novel is.