The best thing about having a network of reviewers working for the site is that occasionally a book will not catch the eye of everyone. That was the case of Blood Red Dragon; thankfully it did catch the interest of Connor as he reviewed the first issue. This piqued my interest in the series and soon enough I was tracking down the first two issues to give it a read. It’s not often that a book with so many creative super stars work together, which is probably why this book is so fascinating. Stan Lee’s involvement is enough to get anyone’s attention, but then add Todd Mcfarlane and it’s even more curious. The third element comes to us from Japan from the international music sensation Yoshiki, who just did a song for the Golden Globe awards this month. Yoshiki is also the star of the comic which blends the world of American and Japanese comics with music. If you read the site you’ll know that I’m always very interested in comics that deal with music.
This second issue opens with Yoshiki having just been teleported to a hotel swimming pool under attack by the Oblivion. They’re a group of baddies from another dimension that are trying to destroy the earth, but their reasons remain unknown to us for now. Yoshiki finds himself thrown into battle having just barely awoken the power of the Dragon. He moves on instinct to defeat the small group of Oblivion warriors until only one remains. He takes the final soldier and flies off into the sky. There the two go back and forth about Oblivion’s plans until the Dragon takes full control of Yoshiki’s body and delivers his own threat to the soldier. This is all interrupted by a “small” hunting party of Oblivion’s best warriors that have come with a big surprise for Yoshiki.
The story and concept are solid and really work well together. The dialog is also pretty good with some room for improvement, but the narration is overkill at times. I get that there is a lot of ground work to lay down for the concept, but a lot of it is covered in conversation. Yet writer Jon Goff floods each page with narrative captions. The captions themselves aren’t bad, but there is just too much going on, on the page making it difficult to take in the art. If the narrative was toned down I think this would have been a pretty damn good comic, but with it the way it is, it’s just good.
The art is fairly decent considering it had a main artist and then an art team to mimic his style for the rest of the book. It has a ton of Japanese art reference and the Oblivion creatures seemed TMNT inspired at times. Still the art works for the story and it’s decently good, I just wish that it could have done more to drive the story so that the captions weren’t so dominating.
I’m not going to lie and say that this was the best book I ever read, but it was very entertaining. It’s an interesting experiment in the world of comics and I’m curious to see how it turns out. The cover price is a bit pricey, but when you look at the amount of A-List talent associated with the book it’s not too much of a surprise. If you missed this book you should still be able to pick it up at a local comic shop since it wasn’t available from Image digitally. If you’re curious or a fan of Manga then check it out.
Writer: Jon Goff Artist: Carlo Soriano and Crimelab Syndicate Created by: Stan Lee and Yoshiki Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.99