Concepts, or really curses like “Sins Of The Father,” are things that haunt families for years. Blood feuds between families have been known to separate people who’d normally be friends. Though it may sound cliché, but it is so very true in many instances, hate is something you are thought. As Tupac said in his song “THUG LIFE” and what was further elaborated on in The Hate U Give, the power of hate drives many to do things out of pure evil for reasons many do not even know how to express.
Sometimes the only thing that can break that cycle of hate is a common enemy. One of my favorite shows The Orville explored in its recent two-parter episode eradication may be enough for enemies to become allies. In a historical example of this and a “what if,” I always wondered if the Kouga and Iga clans in Japan ever figured out what Tokugawa Ieyasu was up to, how powerful they would have been? In the debut issue of Ronin Island, a post-apocalyptic event in 19th century Japan leads once enemies to become allies against a greater threat.
We are taken to 19th century Japan, in a time where a mysterious event has wiped every major city in China, Japan and Korea, leaving many to flee elsewhere including one island in the East China Sea. We meet Kenichi, the son of a great samurai leader, who has just passed away, as he is still dealing with the grief and trying to live to his father’s looming legacy. We also meet Hana, a Korean orphan who has been raised by her swordmaster and who has become one of the best swordsman on the island. As we soon find out they pretty much hate each other and must compete to see who is the better Samurai. Before either of them could relish any respite from the competition, the intruder alarm goes off, as a strange ship approaches the island, where we meet general Sato, an envoy for the new Shogun who demands fealty from the island dwellers. By issue’s end, a greater menace has invaded the island as the island’s elders face a decision that may save or doom them all.
Overall, a powerful story that proves how engaging and entertaining a storyteller Greg Pak is. The story by Pak is heartfelt, action packed, and at times funny. The art by the creative team is beautiful and complements the story well. Altogether, a well-done debut that instantly invests the reader in this world.
Story: Greg Pak
Art: Giannis Milonogiannis, Irma Knivila and Simon Bowland
Story: 10 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy