Overview

Samurai: Heaven and Earth #3

Review

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Samurai: Heaven and Earth #3

Credits

  • Words: Ron Marz
  • Art: Luke Ross
  • Inks: N/A
  • Colors: Jason Keith
  • Story Title: Saints and Sinners
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Mar 9, 2005

The Samurai Asukai Shiro has tracked his love, Lady Yoshiko, across Asia and central Europe and lands himself in France.

Ron Marz takes us out of Asia and into the Paris of Louis XIV and the three Musketeers. This issue represents probably the strongest issue to date as it gives us more of a story than the standard quest-for-lost-lover tale that had occupied the previous two. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the first part of this story for its cinematic beauty and authentic simplicity but this issue’s developments add an interesting and exciting edge to the overall adventure.

Shiro wakes up outside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris after trekking halfway across the world, facing hardships only hinted at in a glorious double page spread by Luke Ross. He is beset upon by French thugs itching to teach the foreigner a lesson yet the Samurai, unsurprisingly, proves to be more than a match for them. Enter three Musketeers, still reeling from a bender the night before and sworn to keep the peace. A much grander scuffle ensues, leading Shiro into a dangerous and secretive situation between the crown of France and a slippery Spanish ambassador.

From the haiku on page one to the heavily telegraphed conclusion; Ron Marz proves both his writing chops as well as his obvious limitations. He has a style that befits fun and entertaining comics. His cold central character is driven by a simple, yet honourable, goal. Shiro’s eastern internality is contrasted quite effectively with the stereotypical European passion and carelessness of the three Musketeers. Marz has fun with these European characters – the Musketeers adding a few chuckles to the story. Marz, however, is no poet of the genre and his stories often rely heavily on cliché (ominous old man with prophetic wisdom and gravitas – check!). Having said this, Marz proves his worth as a writer by using these clichés to their full advantage, in a well-paced and entertaining adventure.

It is the gorgeous beauty of the artwork of Luke Ross and Jason Keith that raises this book above that of TV-comics and into the realm of major motion picture-comics. Their stunning first page is a good example of this; an illustration of a piece of haiku poetry, this page aches to be adored. I read this book soon after coming home from work and must have spent a good four or five minutes simply gazing at this page and engaging with the poetry of the words and images. Ross’s attention to detail makes his fight scenes at the Notre Dame Cathedral as exciting as the hair and costumes are exquisite!

Samurai: Heaven and Earth is not perfect by any means. Taken as a whole it is simply entertaining and enjoyable and well worth my time!

-Matthew Clark

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