It is a well-known fact that everything that Ron Marz touches has the potential to turn to gold. After all, this is the man that turned a totally new character into Green Lantern much to the disgust and horror of long-time GL fans; and see how that turned out. Kyle Rayner is now as beloved as the man Hal Jordan himself. Of course, whether Kyle survives into the new revamp as part of the new Care Bear Corps as the furiousfanboys call them is up for discussion.
Ha! Care Bear Corps! Love the name.
Anyway, I digress. I picked up Shinku #1 yesterday, a new title from Image Comics, mainly on the strength of Ron’s name. He’s one of those writers that if pressed to name my favourites, he does not immediately spring to mind, but when I look at his bibliography, I find I have thoroughly enjoyed the vast majority of his work. From Witchblade and Broken Trinity to DC Vs Marvel and Emerald Twilight, Mr Marz never ceases to entertain.
So, on opening Shinku, I was expecting maybe a ninja title, maybe a samurai title, sort of along the lines of Shi. In the first few pages, my expectations changed towards some form of spy/industrial espionage storyline. So it came as a surprise when after the introduction character, a young man called Davis is seduced by a woman in a Tokyo nightclub, pulled out into the back alley to make out; and another woman rides up on a motorcycle and decapitates her, following up with a ‘Come with me if you want to live!”
Okay, that’s not word for word, but the reason it is a cliché line is because it is a good line.
Like I said, I did not expect the nightclub girl to be a vampire. Why, she had barely got her fangs out.
Now, there’s a lot that is formulaic in this first issue, but you can also call these iconic themes. A western man, alone in Tokyo, drawn into a world he does not understand provides the justification for exposition and for reader identification.
Said exposition could have been lifted from the recent X-Men Vs Vampires, the story of a clan war between a human family and one turned to vampires. Nevertheless, it sets an interesting scene, one with more potential than we often get in a Vampirella story (and you know she’s my favourite), so I am eagerly anticipating the second issue. I like these characters, but for the moment, I couldn’t tell you quite why.
In conclusion, give Shinku a go. After all, we have come to expect high standards from the man who has penned seventy issues of Witchblade, and first issues cannot avoid certain clichés and plot constructs if they are going to craft a three-dimensional seeming world.