Friday, July 15, 2011


Written by Cliff Rathburn and Robert Kirkman
Art by Cliff Rathburn

This graphic novel was published in 2004, but creator and artist Cliff Rathburn, best known for his gray tones on The Walking Dead, has a second issue coming out next week.  I preordered it because it sounded good, but didn't expect to ever read this first Reaper story.  That was the case until I saw that the store I shop at had a small stack of them next to the counter (ever thoughtful, The Beguiling).

The book is nice to look at (so far as you may like looking at scene after scene of people having body parts sliced off in sword battles), but the story is a little roughly-hewn.  The Reaper is an assassin for hire who has mad sword skills.  He has a guardian spirit of some sort - a female named Isis, who has always guided him and tried to lead him away from his deadly path.  The land is ruled by an immortal named Lord Shirak.  Shirak can not be killed because of a gem he wears on his forehead which protects him.  Another spirit, which resides in rotting bodies, hires Reaper to kill Shirak.

This is a very violent story, ostensibly set in Ancient Japan, although there is a profusion of Egyptian names (Isis, Anubis).  Rathburn seems to enjoy showing people getting their heads sliced open, but he is a capable artist.  It's the story that needs work; my hope is that the next issue will have a little more substance to it.

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