Rated-R samurai vampires actually turn out to be a lot like the first Blade movie.
Credits & Solicit Info:
Story RON MARZ, Art & Cover LEE MODER, MATTHEW WAITE & MICHAEL ATIYEH
Shinku #1 has lots of blood and a healthy share of bare lady-chests. Ron Marz and Lee Moder craft a classic 80's vampire story and give us the origin story of Shinku all between the cover of one comic. Problem is, I might have seen this story before.
Marz gives us a classic setup that is well executed: an innocent life threatened by vampires is saved by a hero, said hero recruits the innocent into a life of adventure so that we can have a character with which to relate, and vampire killing is sure to ensue. The subtle twist here is that the recruit is a man, and the badass hero is a woman, and we're in Japan. This setup seems a little tired, leaving us not an awful lot of original story to grab onto in the first issue of Shinku. I'm guessing if you've read enough vampire fiction, or have seen Blade, you can probably make up the entire issue without even reading it. In fact, Shinku #1 is so close to the first reel of Blade that you might just be better off re-watching the movie and pretending that it's happening in Japan with a samurai back-story and a slightly dirtier rating. If Shinku has a hook, or a slight twist that will differentiate it from other vampire stories, it wouldn't have hurt to debut some of those ideas in the first issue.
Moder draws T&A well. His art is nice and clean, his storytelling is impeccable, and aided by Matthew Waite and Michael Atiyah, it looks gorgeous. I especially love the facial expressions that Moder has given his characters, they make for wonderful character acting. Moder's Shinku is feminine and sexy in her introduction in a red leather cycle suit, so if you are missing some "good girl" titillation in your life, flipping through Shinku can't hurt.
Shinku isn't a bad comic. It's an amusing yarn enough yarn to start a story with, just something that I've seen a lot of already. Marz and Moder aren't doing anything different with Shinku, but they're still delivering a solid genre tale. If you're a fan of vampires chewing on things and getting parts of themselves chopped off and bigger, badder vampires chewing up the the scenery while their opposition gets their stuff together, then this is something for you. If you like blood and boobs and vampires on the same page as samurais and motorcycles, then you probably won't go wrong picking Shinku up, just don't expect anything different from what you might have seen already.
Review by: Martin John