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Review – Cold Blood Samurai #1 (Action Lab)

Cold Blood Samurai #1
Overall
8/10
8/10
  • Writing - 8/10
    8/10
  • Art - 8/10
    8/10
  • Overall - 8/10
    8/10
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User Review
5 (1 vote)

Summary

Writer: Massimo Rosi
Artist: Ludovica Ceregatti
Colorist: Renato Stevanato
Letterer: Mattia Gentili
Maturity Rating: Teen
Publisher: Action Lab 
Release Date: April 10, 2019

Samurai vs the invading west. A lone Ronin warrior in between Cold Blood Samurai finds these anthropomorphic animals in a fight for their way of life. 

“Way of the Warrior” Cold Blood Samurai #1

Okay, not going to lie, it took me a minute or two to recognize the play on words for Cold Blood Samurai #1. All the characters, for now, are frogs, lizards, and salamanders. All cold-blooded creatures, hence the title. In the story frogs represent the Samurai or the traditional Japanese in feudal Japan, the lizards represent the “west” or modern, and there is one outsider Ronin salamander Samurai. Inspired by the works of Kurosawa, we travel to feudal Japan as old and new collide.

Writing

Cold Blood Samurai #1 (Action Lab) cover by Ludovica Ceregatti
Cold Blood Samurai #1 (Action Lab) cover by Ludovica Ceregatti

Cold Blood Samurai is not wholly original, as we have seen this story before. The old Samurai are confronted with new battle tactics and guns. One outsider comes to the aide of the Samurai. Though it is not wholly original, writer Massimo Rosi makes it a grasping story that will keep your interest. Look, I think we all know I have a thing for anthropomorphic animals fused with Japanese martial arts (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Usagi Yojimbo). So, it is no real big surprise I enjoyed this story. Replace humans with frogs, lizards, and salamanders, fusing them with feudal Japan, and you got my attention. That is all good for a “gimmick” but without an eye-catching story, it will get old fast. Luckily Cold Blood Samurai #1 has a wonderfully told first issue.

This is a very good set-up issue. It sets the tone and feeling for the series going forward. We get all the major players and everything is set up pretty well. I did have to read it twice and kind of slow down my reading to get the full understanding, but everything is there. Check out the interview with Massimo Rosi. That helped me get a little better grasp, with lizards coming in as the “new” colonizing feudal Japan and the frogs trying to keep ahold of their own ways. Then the lone outsider salamander Ronin coming to town. 

Art

Ludovica Ceregatti does some terrific artwork throughout Cold Blood Samurai #1. I love how she switches up her style for the “flashback” or “history” parts of the story. She does it in an old Japanese art type feel that works extremely well for the story. With that style change, those flashback scenes or historical scenes look great! The character designs are beautiful as well. As someone who loves learning about different animals (an interesting fact: I was a biology/zoology major in college for a while), I enjoyed seeing different types of frogs and lizards used as a basis for the different characters’ designs. It is always interesting to see an artist using actual animals and incorporating them into an anthropomorphic design with their style. The design for our Ronin salamander is fantastic as well. Great detail on the spots and scars on his back.

Costuming is obviously a pivotal piece in a period drama like this. The art team does a fantastic job in costuming, from the robes and hats of the samurai to the military uniforms of the lizards. 

The coloring work from Renato Stevanato is delightful. The issue is given a nice almost kind of washed-out feel. Having a little darker, not that there aren’t bright colors but it has that nice toned-out feel to it. The colors really enhance that “Samurai movie” feel that the story is going for. The coloring work on those flashback feudal-Japan style artwork pages is incredibly well done as well. Stevanato catches that coloring style superbly well.

Conclusion

Cold Blood Samurai #1 is an excellent issue and sets up a lot for the series going forward. It catches that tone and feeling of the movies it is inspired by perfectly. From the dialogue and narration to the art, everything works perfectly together. Not that it is a perfect first issue; it did take a little extra attention to get all the details. It has me excited to see what comes next. Really, that is is all you can ask for in a first issue. It sets up a good story and characters and has me anticipating what comes next.


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About the author

Brent Jackson

Brent is happily married and an avid comic book consumer who loves nothing more than the smell of comics in the morning and diving through a long box of back issues. By day he is a nutritionist and has also been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 10 years. He is probably not the coolest person you have ever met. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @brentjackson30

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