Normally, I hate coming to a book in the middle of a storyline, especially when it’s a limited series. But I took a look at the cover for Aspen’s Legend of the Shadow Clan and figured the worst that could happen? I wouldn’t know what was going on, and move along with my life.
How I missed the earlier three issues of this book is a black mark on my good name. I grew up watching badly dubbed karate movies (yes, I know karate movies are Chinese and ninjas are Japanese). I have actually watched Nine Deaths of the Ninja. I have never seen an American Ninja movie. I consider The Bride’s massacre of O-Ren Ishii’s gang in Kill Bill aspirational viewing. And really, anyone who loves The Tick as much as I do loves ninjas. So, Legend of the Shadow Clan? I had to backtrack and read recaps for the first three issues after reading this latest book, because I enjoyed it so much. (Thanks, Aspen!)
Quick, spoiler-free back-story: The Himura family have just discovered that they are descendants of a long line of ninja warriors called The Shadow Clan. The kids – teens Morgan, Brayden and Pogo – are working out their abilities, but they’re also being hunted by an ancient enemy, The Ghost Clan. No pressure, right?
Issue Four opens up with Morgan meeting up with her brother, Brayden, and their grandfather after fending off a ninja attack at a downtown NYC nightclub. Pogo, their younger brother, has been investigating his friend’s disappearance, as well as that of his parents, and ends up hacking into a high-level system and finds out some pretty critical information. Now he’s got to maneuver his brother safely through the street of Manhattan in a well-paced, tightly drawn chase scene that will have you bouncing on your seat. Seriously, check out this fight:
There is a lot of information being exchanged in this issue, but it’s never dull or static. The book has a lot of motion, with fluidly drawn fight scenes and chases that smoothly go from panel to panel. The storyline, constructed around the action, draws you in and keeps you interested. I loved the art. The characters have expressive faces, and the coloring is spot-on, never becoming muddy or garish – considering that the comic takes place in a nightclub, the nighttime streets of New York City, and an underground compound of some sort, there are plenty of opportunities for pitfalls like this to happen. Artist Cory Smith and Colorist Jon Starr sidestep these possible hiccups with finesse.
The fourth issue is on stands now, having hit last Wednesday. Comixology has all four issues available, if e-reading is your thing; otherwise, hit up your comic book store and check these out. It’s a good story with solid pacing and art. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to grab my shuriken and go sit on top of a church tower or something. Like a ninja.
Legend of the Shadow Clan #4
Retail Price: $3.99
Page Count: 25 pages
Ship Date: May 8, 2013
Written by David Wohl
Illustrated by Cory Smith
Colorist John Starr
Diamond ID MAR130851