Review - Legend of the Shadow Clan #1

Ninjas have maintained a place in legend and history, despite their impact being weakened as the tradition has faded. It's not gone entirely, but it's also not like you see ninjas walking down the street. Unless you're in New York and work for a large, multinational company such as in Legend of the Shadow Clan #1 from Aspen Comics.

The issue is written by David Wohl, with art by Cory Smith, colors by John Starr and letters by Josh Reed.

The Himura family is one that could be described as nuclear. The son Brayden plays video games and is late for class, daughter Morgan is proficient in all manner of combat and father Richard is a big deal at work. They all live life as a normal family would, trading barbs at a family dinner, prepared by Richard. Of course, a comic about a nuclear family would be less than entertaining.

When Richard is called into work one night late, he's surprised at what he finds out. It's not that the TPS reports aren't completed correctly. Rather, he's part of a lineage of someone powerful, a lineage that he given him certain talents that have been dormant until he's needed them. Those talents make for quite an interesting finale, with the Himuras being set up for more than just family dinners.

Wohl's tale is off to an interesting start. He rather effortlessly blends a greater criminal operation with the somewhat mundane family dynamic of the Himuras. The two are clearly related and looking for where their paths intersect will keep the comic interesting. And, of course, there are a ton of ninjas, characters you can never have enough of in any book.

There's also a storybook feel to the ninjas. Again, the lore of ninjas isn't nearly as strong as it used to be, considering the world has more or less moved on. Their talents aren't necessarily needed anymore and they're not quite legal either. Injecting them into a story and featuring a family whose lineage may overlap is interesting and could prove exciting.

Smith's art is strong. There's a solid comic book feel, evincing all the shared perceptions of ninjas. Some of the panel layouts unfold quietly, despite the crescendo of action presented. It works very well for the content of the book and Smith does the action scenes very well. Most of the issue takes place at night, but Smith ensures that details aren't lost to the darkness. Ninjas thrive in the night and there are some interesting panel layouts that show them doing what they do best: infiltration.

Legend of the Shadow Clan #1 has a good plot and solid art. It's something worth reading if you like multinational espionage, families with history and ninjas. What's more is that it will only set you back $1, so there's really no reason not to check it out when it hit stores.

Legend of the Shadow Clan #1 hits stores February 6 with interiors below.