Artist Paolo Pantalena had an idea for a new comic book. To help flesh out the idea he took his story to Aspen Comics Editor-in-Chief, and writer and co-creator of many books Vince Hernandez. Together the two creators researched this idea for over two years with hands on experience, the kind you can’t get from the internet. This research took time but made the basis for a new world for the two creators to explore. Their hard work comes to fruition in the pages of “Oniba: Swords of the Demon.”
The premiere issue of the series “Oniba: Swords of the Demon” comes out October 28, 2015. This issue dubbed the “Zero” issue introduces the world of Yukiko a samurai in Japan during the Sengoku Period. This time period is rife with civil war as clans fight amongst. Yukiko finds herself caught between the ways of her sensei and what she believes is right.
The turmoil the character feels during the revelations of the story is telling. Yukiko learns much about the true nature of her sensei but to go against him would bring her dishonor and inevitably death. She is after all her sensei’s best sword and one of the most trusted samurai of the clan. A battle forces her to change her way of thinking which sets Yukiko on an all new path that will guide this series as it moves forward.
Pantalena’s artwork is rich in detail with him filling every page with artwork that captures the depth of the story. The character’s come to life on the page with a distinct style and look that defines their personality even though their garb is similar it is in their faces that much of the character traits are given.
The artwork also serves to deliver much of the narrative and while Hernandez’s words give and overarching feel for the story, Pantalena’s pencils and inks give so much more detail that makes reading and re-reading the story a positive experience.
Hernandez gets you into the head of Yukiko nicely with her story being the most identifiable. You can see her conflict between the actions of the man who has taught her and made her a trusted confidence to the man who is revealing the truth about the world she has been living in and supporting contrary to her teachings. But her ultimate decision leaves even more questions as she sets out on the next stage in her life, without a master.
One minor quibble with the issue are the colors provided by Hi-Fi. As characters wear similar attire and armor there is not much contrast in how they look. The palette used to color the book is vibrant and consistent but in that way it makes the characters blend together so they are hard to distinguish instantly on the pages where a lot is happening.
“Oniba: Swords of the Demon” #0 provides a nice entryway into the story of Yukiko. We don’t get a good understanding of what exactly the series will be about, but the intriguing part is the story of this samurai transitioning into a ronin and what her ultimate future will be. Pantalena delivers stunning artwork while Hernandez gets you into the characters’ heads so you can feel the quarrel between the important players in this tale.
To get your copy of “Oniba: Swords of the Demon” #0 contact your local comic book store and ask them to reserve you a copy. To find your nearest story use the Comic Shop Locator.