Story: Sebastian Girner
Art: John Bivens
Colors: Iris Monohan
Lettering: Jeff Powell
What They Say:
16th century Japan. The fates of warlords ebb and flow like tides of blood, none more than the Aragami Clan who follow their lord clad in the ‘Red Devil’ mask into every battle. But when Lord Aragami succumbs to illness, his daughter, the fierce Ketsuko, hatches a plot to save her people, no matter the cost…
Years later, as Ketsuko wanders the heaving battlefields of her ruined homeland, she discovers a chance to avenge the terrible wrong done to her clan, even if it means stepping back onto a road steeped in slaughter.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Lord Aragami is lecturing his son, Isanosuke, about his duties as the next head of the Aragami Clan. Sacrifice and duty is required of him. He must don the Red Devil mask that his clan is known for and lead the people to victory. Isanosuke, however, doesn’t seem up to the task. Do you know who is though? Lord Aragami’s daughter, Ketsuko. I admire her moxie. She’s willing to step up and I respect that. Sadly, this is the 16th century and there’s no place for women on the battlefield. She must know her place and stick to it. Before you know it, the battle has begun. This is Isanosuke’s first battle as the leader. His men aren’t confident that they can win this. Well, they were totally wrong. A Red Devil emerges and leads them to victory. I guess Isanosuke was the right man for the job after all!
We skip ahead three years and learn that the Aragami Clan was massacred!?!? I take back what I said. Maybe Isanosuke wasn’t the right person for the job. Things were going so well though. What happened? We’re introduced to a ronin drunkard who is quite cranky. He’s been paid for a job but he wasted all the money on booze before even completing it. Darn drunks, am I right? His female servant attempts to calm him down but gets a tongue lashing for her trouble. Hey, she was only trying to help! A female samurai walking by insults him for taking his anger out on a woman. Has he no honor? This infuriates the man and he gives her a few choice words. He shouldn’t have done that. By the way, he’s got a huge across his chest. See? I told you that he shouldn’t have pissed her off. Now he’s dead. He probably deserved it though. The female samurai tells the woman, Fubei, that everything will be okay now. Even though that guy was a dick, she still feels bad for the fate that he met. She offers him a prayer. Fubei is was definitely too nice of a lady for that drunk.
The girls are surrounded by a group of men a few moments later. They’re not happy that the drunkard is dead. He was supposed to do a job for them. They’re the last remaining retainers of the Shifune Clan. He was supposed to help them navigate the area so they could ambush Lord Kamimura and finally get their revenge. It’s a shame that he’s dead now. But that’s okay, Fubei will do just fine. The female samurai doesn’t think that Fubei owes them anything but she insists that this is the least she can do. Fubei is a very honorable woman. Admirable. And it’s not like the female samurai can’t relate. After all, her clan was also wiped out at the hands of the Kamimura Clan. Also, she’s actually Ketsuko, Lord Aragami’s daughter. The issue ends with the revelation that she was the one donning the Red Devil mask at the beginning, not her brother. There’s no denying that she’s the badass of the family.
A samurai revenge comic? Sign me up! The first issue does a good job setting up this tale of vengeance. Ketsuko is a fascinating character, not to mention a certified badass. She’s a woman of action. She knew that her brother wasn’t up to the task of leading their clan in battle. That’s why she donned the Red Devil mask. Granted, everyone thought it was her brother, but that’s just how things had to be. She was willing to do whatever it took to ensure the safety of her clan. Sadly, something went wrong down the line because the Aragami Clan ended up being massacred. I’m looking forward to finding out how that happened. I have a feeling that Ketsuko will have her revenge, no matter what. If you’re a fan of dark, bloody historical fantasies, then you’ll definitely want to pick this one up.
Age Rating: T+
Released By: Vault Comics
Release Date: October 14th, 2020