At the end of the events of the first five issues, the “Epic Kill” protagonist, Song Takahashi, is killed (sort of) after completing her mission of revenge against the Senator who was responsible for her family’s death. With this issue, Raffaele Ienco begins the process of bringing her back to life. It’s not as easy as it sounds, even for a comic book.
This issue largely takes place in Song’s head, with her fights happening in parallel to her uncle’s emergency attempts to rush her out of the country before the government finds her. If you don’t like “imaginary” stories or those set on the psychic plane where standard rules don’t exist, you might not buy into this issue. Even if you are a disbeliever, the action scenes that have always formed the heart of this series are back in this issue just as you like them. They’re bloody, they’re non-stop, they’re ninja-tastic. Song, in her Bruce Lee-esque yellow-with-black-stripe leggings and long-sleeved belly shirt, prances barefoot across rooftops, slices the arms off of wolf creatures, and battles a sea of murderous robots. It’s obvious these are analogues to real world happenings around here, but they don’t all line up until the very end, which has a great cliffhanger to bring you back for the next issue.
Ienco’s art style has shades of Jim Lee’s in it, with familiar cross-hatching lines and little folds in the costuming. The backgrounds are impressive, filled with detailed bricks, windows, and classic architecture. It needs some additional wide shots to help establish location, but the storytelling around the battle scenes is easy to follow. Some faces and heads are a little stiff, but characters display a fairly wide range of emotions for a book like this. The body language is particularly strong, whether its Song slumped over in her wheelchair or swinging a two-handed blade into battle.
The coloring (also by Ienco) lets the artwork be the star of the book, but adds in nice textures and a strong contrast between foreground and background elements. Things look like they belong together, yet they naturally separate from one another. It shows a solid knowledge of color theory to get that contrast just right.
“Epic Kill” continues to be a beautiful book that trades in heavy action scenes drawn spectacularly. Ienco’s story is only beginning with this issue, but there’s enough on the page to bring you back for issue #7. As we get further down the road, we’ll be able to see if there’s a greater story here or just a flimsy excuse to show nifty action scenes. If Ienco can pull off a surprising or deep story, the stars in follow-up reviews can only go up.