Ryuko, Vol. 1

Eldo Yoshimizu, trans. from the Japanese by Motoko Tamamuro and Jonathan Clements. Titan Comics, $14.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-78773-094-6
Multimedia fine artist Yoshimizu bursts onto the manga field with this stylish crime thriller. Yakuza boss Ryuko’s Black Dragon Group operates on an international chess board of violence and political conflict while she attempts to sort personal issues. Decades ago, one of her father’s underlings sought to rule their crime crew, so he held Ryuko’s mother hostage and banished her father to Afghanistan, where he allied with a local king and amassed a fortune. Growing up amid the Soviet-Afghan War, Ryuko becomes a hardened warrior and murders her father when he sells out the king to a rebel general. His reign over, the king entrusts Ryuko with his newborn daughter, Valer, whom Ryuko raises as her own. In the present, Ryuko learns her mother is alive and deploys forces to enact vengeance against her father’s betrayers and her mother’s kidnappers, while also handling assassins, rival crime bosses, Russian spies, and assorted James Bond–ian mayhem. Yoshimizu’s art is a stylistic blend influenced by manga legends Leiji Matsumoto (Galaxy Express 999) and Monkey Punch (Lupin III), and European comics tropes of the 1960s and ’70s, especially Italian cartoonist Guido Crepax (Valentina). Though wearing its influences on its sleeve, this lively series opener avoids being a mere pastiche and warrants return readership. (July)
Reviewed on : 05/24/2019
Release date: 07/09/2019
Genre: Comics
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