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Shinku #1

A comic review article by: Ray Tate
In an alley, a Goth girl strips out of her Goth uniform for the hapless Davis. Will he get lucky, or is he about to become the victim of a vampire? Every Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan knows the answer to that one. Ron Marz's latest deals with traditional vampires: pale-skinned bloodsucking bastards that incinerate when their heads get lopped off. Sparkly? I don't think so.

The decapitation comes courtesy of the title character, Shinku. Did I mention that she beheads the bitch while riding a motorcycle? If that doesn't sell you on this book, nothing will. Because that scene placed the book on my subscription list. I wasn't just going to try it out. A book that has a vampire slayer slice and dice from a motorcycle is exactly what I'm looking for in an action-oriented comic book.

Due to the underrated Lee Moder's style, Shinku appears to be descended from the Milla Jovovich school of monster hunter. Lank, elegant and deadly, Shinku is the last of a vampire hunting clan of Samarai. Marz fills us in with judicious narration accenting a four page flashback awash in old timey sepia. Moder naturally does his research, and he clads the samurai in apropos armor for the period. The clan of vampires appear to wear permanent menpo masks, a neat little flourish.

Without a doubt, Shinku is the most adult themed project for Moder and Marz. This book isn't for kids -- it's bloody and chock full of nudity. However, these elements have always fueled the horror genre. Their inclusion is acceptable and even welcome. This is a book where vampires are as evil and monstrous as they're supposed to be.

No holds barred, the vampire's bare bosom does away with seduction and cuts right to the predatory nature of the creature. Sex, death as well as entitled gluttony become linked in the head vampire's feeding orgy ending the book. Here, the nude women and men are reduced from sexual objects to mere prey. The scores of them indicate the vampire's status, and his three vampire brides pervert hedonism into slavery. The natural orientation of the lesbian becomes twisted in a scream as the vampire bride feeds on the intended while still alive. It's an unsettling portrait, more so because Moder's so well-known for illustrating Wonder Woman, The Flash and Painkiller Jane. This is different.

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