"Chapter One: Lifeís a Beach and then you die"
Writers: Eric A. Anderson and Manny Tremley
Artist: Manny Tremley
Publisher: Image Comics
We join up once again with the miraculously alive Sam Noir, who was last seen about to face off against a veritable army of ninjas. How he managed to escape a certain death is a mystery, one that isnít dealt with here. Instead we have a new beginning, one with just enough of a link to the previous Sam Noir: Samurai Detective mini-series to get the ball rolling regarding why Sam is where he is. That is, on a beach, enjoying (or maybe putting himself through) some much needed time off, hence Sam Noir: Ronin Holiday.
Compared to Samurai Detective, Ronin Holiday has a much more upbeat start. No, Sam isnít doing the hoola dance. What he is doing is self-analyzing (yet again) while hanging out with his three good friends: Mister Colada, Doctor Tai and Misstini. See, youíve got your upbeat right there. However, even though there is a certain dry humor going on here, there is a certain lacking here. A certain pizzazz. A certain action. An attempt on Samís life! Thankfully enough, that small bit gets dealt with soon enough, which leads to the introduction of the first of the new characters for this new tale of Sam. Sam Noir, Samurai Detective, meet Edmund C. Grog, Island Detective.
Saving Samís behind by his timely entry, Edmund (and his parakeet Watson) soon become Samís constant companion, despite the samuraiís less than friendly attitude. Maybe it is just me but reading their initial interactions as well as seeing his actions, I canít help but feel that maybe there is something about Edmund that isnít quite right, something that might come to bite Sam later in the story. Nevertheless, for now the two have a semi-amiable alliance going on, and it is through that (and their combined efforts) that the two detectives reach the last page of the issue and it's rather amusing cliffhanger of an ending.
Already having seen and liked the noir (punny eh?) stylings of Manny Tremley in Sam Noir: SD, I for one welcomed a return to same black and white shadowed visuals. As for the only colored part of the story, the cover, it too is an interesting one, especially with the three ninjas(?) hiding in the trees, hovering above and around a relaxing Sam.
Conclusion: Although it might have the same emotional impact as the first issue of its predecessor, Sam Noir: Ronin Holiday scores high once again both on account of the story and art as also the overall mood (with a certain holiday feeling going for it).
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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