Review - Samurai Slasher: Late Fees

"The following comic is based on a true story."

Loss is something that's inevitable for everyone in this world. The way we react to loss varies wildly from one person to the next and it's likely that few respond in a way the main character does in Samurai Slasher: Late Fees. The issue is written by Mike Garley, illustrated by Lukasz Kowalczuk and colored/lettered by Lukasz Mazur.

A mythical Samurai warrior goes on a killer rampage. Based on the 80s Slasher film that never was...

The way Garley starts Samurai Slasher: Late Fees is seemingly innocuous enough. As the story unfolds though it becomes immediately apparent that Garley is infusing the book with a much more personal take on things. There's a deeper message within that speaks to loss and Garley illustrates tumultuous roller coaster beautifully by making those emotions tangible opponents to combat. By manifesting life's obstacles as monsters Garley is able to make the main character a hero in a way that resonated with his relationship with his father. And the issue is very clean in its arc, wrapping things up elegantly by the end of the issue that speaks to the emotion of loss.

The art style of Kowalczuk is definitely gritty and coarse yet seemingly appropriate for the context of the tale. His linework is shaky at times, effectively rendering the illustrations as the images that run through a child's mind as they're living life as a child. The characters don't inhabit a formal plane; rather, they're floating somewhat ambiguously through the book in a way that a child's imagination careens from one scenario to the next. Kowalczuk has an eye for the exotic in the sense that the monsters are truly terrifying and original in their appearance. The colors by Mazur are vibrant, popping off every page and further giving the book a dreamlike feel.

There's a stunningly brutal honesty in Samurai Slasher: Late Fees that reflects a harsh reality. The thing about the book is that what exactly is reality is left fairly ambiguous for the duration of the issue. Garley has done a remarkable job of couching a deep, personal experience in a seemingly superfluous movie shared with a loved one. Kowalczuk's artwork is a great fit for the story because it taps into an imagination that leaves most of us as we get older. Samurai Slasher: Late Fees is a remarkably touching comic that will resonate with a lot of readers in a way they probably didn't expect.

Samurai Slasher: Late Fees is available now.