It’s time for another review!
This week, it’s Samurai Slasher #1, by Mark Garley and a host of other artists: Andy Clift, Gavin Mitchell, Kristina Gee, and Wynn Rider, colors on certain stories by Jon Scrivens (flats), Nathan Ashworth, and all letters by Mike Stock. There is no editor, but it was proofread by Marian Mayer.
As always, we use the Prince song system: Adore means buy it, Beautiful Strange means take it or leave it, and When Doves Cry means don’t buy it.
This is actually an anthology book that explores all of the worst of 80s slasher films. The premise is simple: the Samurai Slasher is immortal, and likes to kill. The first story is basically Friday the 13th with the title character substituted for Jason Vorhees; the second story tries to give an origin; the third story is a continuation of the first with the title character being retrieved from the lake and put on display in a museum; and the fourth story finishes the third with the title character back at the lake, and the Army goes after him and ultimately (?) destroys him.
From a writing standpoint, this is well-written—if you’re into stupid. The first story reads just like any typical Friday the 13th movie: a group of kids go to the woods and get killed for their sins. All of the stories read well (except for the origins story, because nothing is really explained) as long as you think of them in the context of 80s slasher films. As soon as you stop doing that, you’re going to wonder why you’re wasting your time.
All of the artwork is passable, with the art and coloring on the first story being the strongest. Reading to the end of the book, you see that Andy Clift has done some work for Marvel, and I can see why. While the story was stupid, you can definitely see the level of craft in the art. The art falls off a step or two after that, but not by much. It was all still very passable.
I have few complaints about the coloring. For the most part, it wasn’t too difficult to follow. The first story tried very hard to give the zip-a-tone feel, so that it felt even more dated in the 80s. It worked, to a point. The rest of the coloring wasn’t too bad at all. Very good effort put in. Not great, but definitely a good effort.
The letterer, however, still needs work. The eye was confused several times as to what order the word balloons should be read in. There’s also an issue with the balloon tails, which are a little too fat. The big crime, though, came in the stories after the first. Some word balloons are supposed to be at the top of the panel, which is fine. But the panel border doesn’t make for a border for the word balloon at the top—instead, the word balloons are masked, leaving the border open where the word balloon is. I have no problem with that, either. However, the words in the balloon are then obviously over the panel border, and that shouldn’t be. It’s an oversight that should have been fixed.
Again, there was no editor on the book, but one wouldn’t have hurt. I found a word usage error, and it could use some better punctuation, and of course, the word balloons. A decent editor would have caught that.
I wish I had gradients for this. It’s definitely on the low end, but it’s easy to see the level of craft in the art. However, that has to be coupled with the premise, which is absurd. Not my cup of tea, and I enjoy bad 80s slasher movies.
Final Verdict: Beautiful Strange