Greg Pak, writer
Giannis Milonogiannis, illustrator
Irma Kniivila, colors
Simon Bowland, letters
Ronin takes place on an island in the East China Sea off the coast of “Kyushi.” We pick up the story 31 years after an event called “the great wind” that destroys countless lives. The story transitions to a little village where two young people, Kenichi and Hana, compete to be the next protector of the island. Kenichi is the son of a previous protector of the island, a Samurai. Hana is the daughter of a peasant and a farming family. Their competition is followed quickly by a large threat that force the Island to first face General Sato who warns them of a coming threat that could destroy the entire island.
The story structure is paint by numbers with an engaging opening that interests the reader in two young heroes. The introduction is followed by an call to join an adventure and the heroes story is set. What’s interesting is the inclusion of young and old characters. All have value. Male and female characters have equal strength and status in the community. A mystery surrounds the abilities of the young and old warriors which seems to build off the samurai mystique.
The art reinforces the cohesion between the playfulness of the young warriors and the sageful wisdom of the elders. Smooth skin versus wrinkled faces and spry stature versus slight hunched shoulders. The colors, earth tones, also builds on the East Asian peasant imagery. I like the depiction of General Sato as noble and a warrior worthy of respect.
Overall = 9/10
This is a solid start to a new story aiming to be a coming of ages story for two young warriors. I’m interested to see how the elders and the General pass their knowledge to these young and inexperienced warriors. I highly recommend this to readers who like adventures involving a blend of ages.