Overview

Okko: The Cycle of Earth #1

Review

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Okko: The Cycle of Earth #1

Credits

  • Words: Hub
  • Art: Hub
  • Inks: Hub
  • Colors: Hub & Stephan Pecayo
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Price: $3.95
  • Release Date: Aug 6, 2008

Okko and his ragtag band have recently enjoyed a period of peace, but with winter coming it is time to get a guide and get out of the mountains.

The nation of Pajan is torn with war and Okko and his compatriots have sought refuge in the Mountains of the Seven Monasteries. While interviewing a guide, a man is murdered with a poison dart and this sends the group after a group of Monks who brand themselves with the Raven, a symbol of darkness and insanity.

Hub is back with the second cycle in his tale of the Ronin who hunts demons. As with the last volume, the title of demon hunter is not readily relevant to the story at hand. Not that it matters, because the script and the action are so rich that it doesn’t lend the reader time to contemplate why that is the case. Hub has a knack for writing a higher level of dialogue, not quite Shakespearean but not street talk either. It gives the book a literate feel that is contrasted nicely with the often violent nature of the story.

The character driven story is deepened here. There is the addition of the guide, Wind Reaper, but more importantly the fisherman, Tikku, has become a full fledged member of the group. Noshin still provides comic relief and seems to be a major part of the story here. Noburo is the muscle and when he is injured early on, you realize how dangerous this new foe is.

It is his art that stands out the most though. The realistic cartooning has a kinetic line that lends itself well to the action orientation of the book. But it is more than that, the book looks and feels like it could be the back story in a Japanese rice paper painting. It invokes that iconic Japanese imagery with the buildings, dress, and mountains in the background. The deep and rich reds lend to that esoteric atmosphere of the book. I’ve read reviews of the first cycle that spoke of the book being like an anime. That is an astute observation. However, this is richer as it does not use the super-deformed character designs of your typical Naruto or even the more realistic yet heavily stylized designs of a book like Monster. No, this art speaks to the traditional art of Japan.

Okko is a hypnotizing story that is aided with its outstanding visuals. It is the perfect alternative to both Manga and American fare.

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