Story: Sebastian Girner
Art: John Bivens
Colors: Iris Monahan
Letterer: Jeff Powell
What They Say:
Ketsuko has come full-bloody-circle. Standing face-to-face with the embodiment of every dark impulse and twisted desire she’s had, she stares into a crimson mirror… and sees herself clearly for the first time. Do not miss the shocking finale!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Sebastian Girner has provided for a solid series over the five-issue run to tell the tale of treachery and bloodshed. It’s the kind of work that, admittedly, I think will work better when read in full than in the individual installments over the months it took to come out. There are elements about it that will read better in that form, especially when you get an issue like this where some characters aren’t even said by name, that you forget in the monthly grind. John Bivens’ artwork makes it a worthwhile experience regardless with some gorgeous pages to be had throughout here with great detail that Iris Monahan does a fantastic job of highlighting all the more with the color design.
For a finale, it’s pretty straightforward as one might expect and it hits some really good moments along the way. The delving into the past is what helps change it up a bit as we see some moments from when Ketsuko was young and got her first training with the sword by her father. That and the moments with his sister at the time talking about how he has to do things in a particular way to protect the survival of his people. It’s a classic moment in how the two interact with him being the all-knowing lord and nobody around him knowing anything, especially family, so there are frustrations there but also simple realities. The flashback material helps to smooth out more of what happened in the past, especially with the woman that Ketsuko is facing now.
All of that keeps us in the present as the two go back and forth, verbally sparring and throwing blades against each other as well. Biven’s artwork drives a lot of this and the dialogue hits well with how they bounce back against each other and their past history that defines them. It’s the solid finale that the show deserves to close out the battle that has occurred and the way things unfolded with the men that Ketsuko had been with, though Fubei’s death is the one thing that hits the most when you get down to it. But I like how Ketsuko tries to bring everything to a proper close and end only to be tempted by the sword and what possesses it to take it up for a further mission ahead. There’s a good sense of closure about everything while also making it open-ended enough to explore more.
The Devil’s Red Bride is a strong and tight little series that plays well to the kinds of samurai material that a lot of people enjoy. It’s well-written with a solid through-line that makes it all come together well while being engaging every step of the way. It’s definitely a series that I think will land better at the end when you can read through them all in one sitting. There’s a lot to like in the finale here as it touches on the past a bit more before it pushes hard into the blood end.
Age Rating: 12+
Released By: Vault Comics
Release Date: February 10th, 2021