Monday, December 1, 2014

Orphan Blade by M Nicholas Almand and Jake Myler (review)

Orphan Blade 
 Orphan Blade
by M. Nicholas Almand & Jake Myler

Genre: Graphic Novel
Pages: 160
Published: Dec 2014
Publisher: Oni Press

Summary:  "Hadashi is a boy with simple dreams... but his life changes when a horrific accident maims his hand! Unable to hold a sword, he's kicked out of his dojo home. But the Orphan Blade is no ordinary sword. When Hadashi comes across the abandoned blade, he finds that not only is he able to wield it - the sword seems to be wielding him! He's not the only one interested in the Orphan Blade, though, and his ownership draws the attention of the Five Fingers of Death - a deadly group of mercenaries who have their own magical and deadly weapons.

Review:  Almost 2.5 stars but not quite there. I wanted to like this, I really did. The artwork is fun and playful and reminded me a bit of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sadly the story did not live up to it's end...

The first thing that hurt this was right at the beginning. The prologue. I could not read it! The font style and size caused my eyes so much pain attempting to read it I just skipped it. So this comic and I were not off to a good start. One I get past that however, it seems to pick up. Playful artwork, expressive characters....I was happily reading along for awhile

Then things get very muddled and violent. Habashi, our main character, gets a short that he uses to defeat monsters and suddenly he is wanted by a deadly assassination team. Now I am a manga fan, as many may know from my other reviews, but this is some far fetched violence even by those standards. I mean, one girl can have body parts removed (including her head) and still be alive and fighting! The children assassins are probably the most twisted and disturbing. I mean, these are young kids (maybe 10 years old) off killing people in a horrible, nightmarish manner while their parents stand by, cheering them on. Crazy!

The setting of this book seems to be more a feudal era of Japan based on artwork, but we have characters of all nationalities. It is honestly an impressive blend in a way yet is seemed more like overkill. I got the feeling it was done to as a stance to the no one can take offense and so the author would not be viewed as potentially prejudice. It just didn't fit to the rest. Same with the very last scene of the book. Suffice to say I didn't see that coming nor did it fit. I felt it was more a statement over anything else. Also the style of speak often did not fit to the time period. I hate seeing modern expressions where they do not belong.

So ultimately I felt this books purpose, age group, time era, era was a jumbled mix. We went from what started to look like a middle grade comic to a violent 'Battle Royale' feeling that is for older teens/adults. So many other things just did not piece together in my mind. So many things went by unexplained properly and I ended up having more questions than answers. The reason it ALMOST gets 2.5 stars (verses only 2 stars) was the artwork. It is well done.

*I was loaned a digital copy of this comic in exchange for a fair and honest review.*


  1. haven't read a book in that setting before

  2. I really wanted to read this one since the art work also reminded me The Last Airbender but I'll still read it since I don't mind violence. Thanks for the review.


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