19th century samurai drama mixed in with magical tattoos and Japanese demons for some added flavor? Sounds yummy to any comic book reader looking for something different. Unfortunately for them, while the first issue of “The Immortal: Demon in the Blood” is palatable, it’s far from filling.
“The Immortal: Demon in the Blood is based off of a Japanese novel called ‘Enma” by Fumi Nakamura that is scheduled to be released by Random House in 2012.It is a four-part comic and takes place in the mid-nineteenth century Japan during the war between the Shinsengumi and the Tokugawa shogunate. A samurai named Amane Ichinose is almost killed for being a traitor. He’s found by an old man who can create magical tattoos that give the bearer powers over an oni (Japanese ogre). He leaves his former life and starts a new one.
It’s nice to see more and more Japanese novels coming over to America, even if American’s first exposure to these novels are from comics and not movies.
The artwork itself is very well done as is expected from Dark Horse. It has a sort of manga look to them which fits nicely. The best part of the artwork is the drawing of Amane’s oni. It is big, green, ugly, frightening and looks awesome. Everything that makes an oni an oni.
Despite the great artwork, the same thing can’t be said about the story. The writing is decent enough though that’s as far that can be said about it. The story is the same too. It has a great premise and the idea of magical tattoos that can make oni protect humans is a great idea, but the way it’s executed is just boring. It’s not a bad comic by any means it’s just that we’ve seen these stories so many times before that even with a great idea like the tattoos we don’t care anymore.
As with any story if the characters aren’t good the story isn’t good. Again, the characters are not bad it’s just that we’ve seen them over and over again. “The Immortal” sticks with the typical wise old mentor, samurai who is wanted by the authorities and has a dark past and leaves it at that. Been there, done that.
“The Immortal: Demon in the Blood Volume 1” has some nice artwork, but the story is a ho-hum, been there done that samurai drama. Maybe the next three issues can liven up the pace.