Greg Pak, writer
Giannis Milonogiannis, illustrator
Irma Kniivila, colors
Simon Bowland, letters
This issue begins, Hana and Kenichi rush to meet Shogun’s troops who are rushing to attack the island where our protagonists were raised. A battle ensues, which results in our young heroes fighting valiantly against a seasoned group of troops. Later, on the island, Kenichi’s mother confronts Hana, blaming her for bringing trouble onto their island. Meanwhile, Shogun sends Sato, one of his men who is sympathetic to Hana and Kenichi, to warn them? Finally Elder Jin pronounces her support for Hana and her valiant efforts. Meanwhile, Shogun finalized his plan to send the Byonin to attack the island.
This issue builds on the narratives that serve as the foundation of this book: the courage and wisdom of Hana and her unlikely ally, Kenichi. The issue takes a twist when Hana confronts the discrepancy between the stated values of The Island’s culture and the reality that The Island culture lives to sustain the norm at the expense of the poor.
The motives of the enemy, Shogun, remain generic. He opposes the narrative and beliefs of The Islanders who are made up of peasants and live by the mantra, life for everyone. The irony is that Hana and Shogun are in agreement, weirdly. We’ll see if these two characters will somehow meet in the middle or if Hana’s allegiance to her people and her commitment to defending the poor will lead her to defeat Shogun for his methods.
The art is cartoonish, playful, and kinetic. When the young Hana rushes into the battle the danger of the situation can be felt. The emotions on faces, her anger and determination, look real. Her actions are anything but invisible as defeats her enemies single-handed. The coloring gives the story a fun but aged appearance mirroring this complex story of a young hero fighting to restore the values of an ancient culture. I highly recommend this coming of age story for its representation of a courageous heroine. The art is fun and invites the interest of the reader to dig deeper. Overall 8.5/10