The Himura’s average family life is about to change. Richard, Evie, Brayden, Morgan and Pogo are just an ordinary family struggling with work stress, deadlines, school assignments and the usual humdrum routine. The family’s fortunes take a turn for the dramatic when Richard returns to his office to correct a typo. In Legend of the Shadow Clan #1 from Aspen Comics, Richard discovers a group of ninjas murdering a coworker. The discovery raises many questions about Richard’s future with answers he is not going to like.
Legend of the Shadow Clan is the first issue of an all-new series by David Wohl, Brad Foxhoven and Cory Smith. This series is also the beginning of Aspen’s Tenth Anniversary celebration the 10 for 10. As part of this publishing initiative Legend of the Shadow Clan #1 is only one dollar.
Wohl and Foxhoven share the plotting for the first issue with Wohl scripting the story. The first issue is the perfect introduction to the family. The writers introduce each member through the narrative moving from one member to the next. The sharp dialogue between the Himura’s not only clues you into who is who but also establishes their character. Wohl and Foxhoven create instant believability in the story with a family that could be your next door neighbor.
The writers introduce the world of the ninja to this story, a bigger world than just the family next door. Opening the issue with a man describing the ancient order he is a part of and how over centuries the mission of his clan has changed. Where once they fought for emperors they now fight for clients. The history of the ninja foreshadows the world the Himura’s are being drawn into.
The artwork of Smith is beautiful. Handling both the penciling and the inking on the issue, Smith makes the attack of the ninja seem as natural as the life of the Himuras. The artwork captures the action as the ninja appear through cloud of smoke. Their movements are fluid and their swords are sharp. Through Smith’s layouts you can follow the action as it moves across the page.
Smith’s ability to depict the emotions of the characters is an important part of the story. Whether it is Morgan sticking her nose up at her brothers’ comments or when Pogo is chewing with his mouth open making a joke you can read the emotion on the characters’ faces. The emotion is most telling when Richard faces his first ninja. As he defends himself his concern and uncomfortable feelings about the situation come through. The artwork provides as much insight into the characters as the dialogue on the page.
If the rest of Aspen’s 10 for 10 start off as well as Legend of the Shadow Clan Aspen’s 10th anniversary party will be a huge hit. Comic retailers are behind this first issue with more than 35,000 copies of the debut issue pre-ordered by comic shops. At only a dollar an issue you cannot afford not to try out this new series with a strong premise as it leads into a greater story. Pick up a copy at your comic shop February 6. Call your retailer now to have them reserve one for you. Click here to find the nearest comic retailer.