Posted on February 22, 2013 AT 08:59pm
The first title to kick off Aspen’s “10 For 10″ celebration, Legend Of The Shadow Clan, kicked off last month with a great first issue, and thanks to David Wohl, Brad Foxhoven, Cory Smith and John Starr, the series is back again with the second issue. When the series last left off, a secretive and deadly clan of ninjas infiltrated a company in order to steal some very important data and kill their target, a man named Darren. This clan got the data without a hitch, aside from the dead compatriot they left behind, who was killed by a middle-class worker named Richard Himura, whose family is the main focus of the series.
Himura’s inadvertent slaying of a member of this secretive sect has drawn the ire of Koji, the leader of this clan of stealth assassins, and now, despite his surprise at the events, now looks deeper into the life of Himura, the strange, non-threatening man who killed one of his own. This is one of the several plotlines that this issue begins to explore, with Wohl and Foxhoven creating a complex series of plot and sub-plots to keep the reader wanting more, all the while tying the events together into cohesion. With action, intrigue, and the life of an everyday family, this book has a lot going for it, though it does seem to be leaning towards the mundane lives of the Himura family (especially young Brayden Himura, who seems to have a nose for trouble). This should balance out as time goes by, but for a series focusing on ninjas, there isn’t enough of the deadly clan to go around just yet.
Cory Smith and John Starr work very well together, and this issue is definite proof of that. Smith has always been stellar at capturing the human form, and while the Aspen style isn’t heavy on detail work, his knowledge of human anatomy is apparent. Starr, following the trademark Aspen formula, does a great job making Smith’s images come to life with varied color and shadowing, though at times, the way the scenes are finished leaves a slight blur to the page, creating an odd double-take that subtracts a bit from the final product. These moments are not too common, however, and the fine work done by the art team on this series makes it enjoyable to read nonetheless.
Summary: So far so good for the first installment in the “10 For 10″ series, with Legend Of The Shadow Clan creating a fun and interesting dynamic for the reader to enjoy, bouncing from the tale of an ordinary family that got mixed up with the deadliest of warriors. There’s a bit of an unbalanced style to the presentation of the two intersecting sides, and the blending of the colors sometimes leaves an unnerving blurry effect, but those flaws aside, this is a fun series thus far. The first “10 For 10″ title is a major hit, and readers should be looking forward to more from this creative team.
The Good: Strong Writing, Interesting Premise
The Bad: Unbalanced Plot Presentation
The Ugly: Blurring Art Work During Select Panels
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