I haven’t read a lot from Dark Horse aside from the Buffy The Vampire Slayer continuation. So when I first saw The Immortal I wasn’t sure if I should pick it up or not; however, Long Vo does a great job at pulling you into the first issue with the beautiful cover art. I’ve never read the Japanese novel it is derived from; but, I am now intrigued! I thoroughly enjoyed the first issue based on concept, writing and art all of which the second issue did not deviate from.
In the second issue, the story is set in Japan in 1859 but as it is an epic it’ll make significant time jumps especially between issues. There is need to note that this is not our “Feudal Japan”; but, an alternate existence which is easily recognized, especially in this issue, through the use of steam punk aspects within the art and story. This tale follows a shamed Samurai Amane Ichinose who has been revealed as a spy. He then is met with almost certain death from the hands of his friends and fellow Samurai. Interestingly, he receives a gift from his own will to live and a tattoo master. He becomes one with an Oni, a demon, which grants him his wish through a tattoo transforming him to the Immortal, Enma Hoshou!
The story in this issue is not a direct continuation of the previous as 15 years have passed. There are many ties to the last book, which keep things interesting, and there are many ways, which the story could still go. I enjoy Ian Edginton’s scripting of such an epic story; you really feel as though you’re stepping into something big! The way it’s written provides just the right amount of information while still leaving you wanting more answers. I find that the art styling to be quite striking. Vicenc Villagrasa and José Luis Río do a wonderful job, there are colorful scenes and dramatic environments all adding to the script and leading the reader further into this tale.
This book really has a little bit of everything; magic, action and history. If you are looking for an original take on Japan without having to hear the word “Kawaii” a million times over I say pick this up, I’m happy I did. 7/10