Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review - Masumi: Blades of Sin #1

"I have traveled this world and others. Battled against demons and took up arms with friends. Doing what I had to do in service to my calling."

At some point in everyone's life, there's the distinct possibility that they'll be tasked with handling two extremely powerful swords possessed by a demon. And while that may be more of the exception than the rule, it's something you may want to start planning for. A good primer for such an event is Masumi: Blades of Sin #1 from Zenescope Entertainment. The issue is written by Joe Tyler, illustrated by Sergio Osuna, colored by Francesca Zambon and lettered by Jim Campbell.

Masumi Yamomoto is a woman out of her time. After a battle against evil left her trapped in a hellish dimension for almost two hundred years, she returned to Earth and attempted to start a new life in a new world. However, Masumi’s past eventually caught up to her and the man she loved was killed by a powerful demon called Legion. Masumi defeated the demon, but at a cost – Legion is now trapped within her samurai swords and she is bound by the laws of the Yamamoto clan to ensure that the evil spirit never escapes.

Masumi: Blades of Sin #1 is a departure in some ways for Zenescope as it doesn't directly tie into the Grimm Fairy Tales universe in that Masumi isn't really a fairy tale character. That doesn't mean that Zenescope won't seek to tie her into some of their other massive storylines, but for now, Tyler's tasked with introducing the reader to what is essentially a brand new character. He does so in a way that's very heavy on the hand-holding, very bluntly laying out Masumi's plight to the reader through her conversations with her swords. It's not necessarily a bad thing though, but it does take away from the reader's own interpretations just a bit. The story itself is pretty straightforward and Masumi has a lot of responsibility as someone with such a distinguished lineage.

Osuna's art fits the Zenescope style, largely because it over-sexualizes Masumi as the main character. Many of her appearances in the book feel less like she's moving and more like she's posing, which further emphasizes her voluptuous figure. It's a little distracting at times, because it makes it feel as if Masumi is the only thing on each page that you should pay attention to. The other characters do exhibit some exaggerated body styles as well, but none as much so as Masumi herself. Osuna doesn't spend too much time detailing the backgrounds, which makes the characters interacting with them feel as if they stick out a bit more than they probably should. Tokyo is such a vibrant setting, but unfortunately very little of that comes through in the artwork.

Masumi: Blades of Sin #1 is interesting and signifies a step in a different direction for Zenescope. Recently, they've been working to branch out from the fairy tale heroines they've largely staked their reputation on and this book is another step towards that. Tyler's script feels in line with the universe and offers another strong, female warrior character seeking to preserve her legacy. Osuna's illustrations make the book feel like any other Zenescope book, even though they do focus more on Masumi's body as opposed to the world around her. Masumi: Blades of Sin #1 is something Zenescope fans will likely not hesitate to check out, while those on the fence will find that at the end of the day the book falls in line with other Zenescope books.

Masumi: Blades of Sin #1 is in stores now.


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