Review - Legend of the Shadow Clan #2

Working late isn't really a lot of fun. You miss out on dinner, don't really have a social life and have to contend with ninjas smashing through your window trying to kill you. At least, those are all completely possible if you're Richard Himura in Legend of the Shadow Clan #2 from Aspen Comics.

David Wohl handles writing duties, with Cory Smith on pencils and inks, John Starr on colors and lettering by Josh Reed.

Himura is still reeling from an unusual night at the office that saw a friend of his killed by a ninja intruder. His story seems plausible, until he explains it to the police, who find it to be a little far-fetched. He doesn't know it, but the cops seem to think that the ninjas were sent by Koji-san. Koji-san is presented as the big bad; a ruthless, skilled leader who relies on harsh punishment meted out by his assistant Mister Siry to get his point across. Sometimes, that point is actually the point of a sword.

While the first issue focused on the ninja's arrival, the second issue spends some time looking at the impact. Himura is viewed as something of a raving lunatic at the police station, despite his assertion that his recollection of the events is true. He still has difficultly believing his own story though, especially the part where he disarms the highly trained ninja in order to save his own life. Koji-san's realization regarding Himura's skills have started a rivalry between the two, only Himura doesn't know it yet.

The rest of the issue really looked more at Himura's family; specifically, Brayden. Brayden is pitched as a typical high schooler who get in trouble quite frequently, becoming quite familiar with detention. What's atypical is the fact that a little excursion showcases some of Brayden's unique physical talents, which seem to line up with his father's. While Richard was somewhat shocked at his close-quarters combat abilities, Brayden isn't nearly as impressed by his ability to leap across gaps between buildings.

Smith's pencils and inks do a good job allowing the characters' faces to show emotion. It's an odd thing to observe, but it really helps characterize all the players in what will be their roles. Himura looks tentative, Koji-san looks fierce and Brayden looks boyish. Looking at the characters gives you a good sense of where the story is at. There's also a lot of overlapping panel arrangements, with some panels being brought forward for emphasis on the action within. It keeps things varied and prevents them from getting predictable.

Things are getting more and more interesting for the Himura family. Both the patriarch Richard and son Brayden reveal there may be more to their lineage than previously considered, which is making them targets. Watching as they learn of their abilities and place will be quite interesting and will likely lead to many battles filled with ninjas. You can never have enough ninjas.

Legend of the Shadow Clan #2 is available in stores March 6 with interiors below.