Reviews

Review – Cold Blood Samurai #3 (Action Lab)

Cold Blood Samurai #3 (Action Lab) cover (detail) by Ludovica Ceregatti
Cold Blood Samurai #3
Overall
8.1/10
8.1/10
  • Writing - 8/10
    8/10
  • Art - 8.2/10
    8.2/10
  • Overall - 8.1/10
    8.1/10
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Summary

Writer: Massimo Rosi
Artist: Ludovica Ceregatti
Colorist: Renato Stevanato
Letterer: Mattia Gentili
Maturity Rating: Teen
Publisher: Action Lab Entertainment
Release Date: May 29, 2019

The Gaijin salamander seeks an honorable death. Losing his master and his love, he seeks only this. But Shogun Swollen-Cheeks will ask a favor in return.

 

 

“And history bears the scars of our civil wars” Cold Blood Samurai #3

Cold Blood Samurai #3 has our Gaijin salamander finding what he seeks. He has come to the last Shogun of the land, Swollen-Cheeks. Someone that can give him an honorable death. But will Swollen-Cheeks believe he was trained by a legendary master? Also, what will Swollen-Cheeks ask for in return? As the invading lizards look to take over the land and the native frogs look to civilize themselves from the Samurai way, the civil war heats up. The last stand of the Samurai frogs is starting and our Gaijin salamander looks to find peace in the midst of war.

Writing

Cold Blood Samurai #3 (Action Lab) cover by Ludovica Ceregatti
Cold Blood Samurai #3 (Action Lab) cover by Ludovica Ceregatti

Somehow Cold Blood Samurai #2 slipped by me. I really enjoyed the first issue and when I saw Cold Blood Samurai #3 was out this week I had to go back and catch up. In the second issue, we learned what put our Gaijin salamander on this path. His love was killed by crab bandits. Without his love or master, he is seeking an honorable death. He gets revenge on the crab bandits while helping some frog villagers they had attacked. Now he has made his way to the last Samurai Shogun, Swollen-Cheeks, to seek an honorable death in issue #3.

I am still trying to figure out why I love Cold Blood Samurai so much. It is really nothing crazy new, storywise. It is mainly a retelling of the Japanese civil war “Boshin War” with anthropomorphic animals: frogs standing in for the Japanese and lizards as the westerners. The story focuses on a lizard general wanting to expand in Japan, the frogs that wish the country to modernize, and the frogs that want to stick to their traditional ways. Then you have the Gaijin salamander stuck in the middle.

I am going to blame it on my love of old Kung-Fu/Samurai movies, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Wu-Tang Clan. Massimo Rosi just hits all the good notes from all of those things that I love. You got this lone warrior salamander with no name who is wrecking everybody in his path. The story oozes that traditional trope of the lone warrior/no-name hero. Just the way Rosi present the story just has that classic feeling that encapsulates me in the story. Plus I am a sucker for anthropomorphic animals as well.

Art

Again, I really love Ludovica Ceregatti’s designs in Cold Blood Samurai #3. She goes for a realistic look for these anthropomorphic characters and it works great. She catches that nice in-between where the characters look like the animals but also have that cartoony human look as well. It fits perfectly with the story being told.

Her clothing design is perfect as well. This being a period piece of sorts, Ceregatti nails the different clothing of the characters. From the traditional robes and armor to the military uniforms, everything looks great. I mean, the Gaijin salamander looks very cool with his hat, robe, and sword. She catches that warrior attitude, which is definitely not an easy task.

Ceregatti uses very traditional type panel work and borders and it flows well with the story. She doesn’t use a lot of varied angles or different structures, but it helps keep the story flowing nicely and fits the traditional tale.

The coloring work from Renato Stevanato is great. He has a lot to do, as the characters are modeled after actual animals. He does a wonderful job of catching different tones and shades of the respective characters and the animals they are designed after. I also like the darker color tone for the series. It sets a great mood for the series.

Conclusion

Cold Blood Samurai reminds me a lot of Ed Brisson’s work on The Ballad of Sang and his run on Iron Fist. It has that great old Kung-Fu movie type feel. Plus it adds in that lone warrior, the “man with no name” hero aspect as well. While the story is nothing extremely new, it is still gripping and oddly exciting. I also love seeing what the artists do with these animals designs as well. Seeing how they will adapt their natural designs into the ancient Japanese wardrobe is always interesting to see. 

The story continues to ratchet up as the lizard general looks to eradicate the last of the frog Samurai and modernize the land. A battle is brewing and our Gaijin salamander only seeks the honorable death he wishes. 


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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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