Aspen Comics’ 10 for 10 starts this February with Legend of the Shadow Clan, written by David Wohl and Brab Fowhoven and featuring the art of Cory Smith, and it’s a good start for this Aspen event. Legend of the Shadow Clan issue 1 has a good balance of mystery, story, and action. The plot consists of an ancient clan of ninjas that have had to adapt to a more modern world, no longer having masters, but instead clients.
The story starts out following what I assume are the members of the Shadow Clan as they take on an assignment, attacking a luxury boat in the middle of the ocean, which acts as a factory for an unknown product. The Shadow Clan doesn’t pull any punches or worry about spending bullets. The story then jumps to a high school teen named Brayden, who is an average student with no outstanding qualities besides a gymnastics routine he executes in an attempt to get past his school’s security and avoid detention.
There is a mild introduction of characters and Wohl gives them district personalities from the start. I never feel the main characters the reader is introduced to blend together. They always feel distinct and separate. The characters Wohl has created all seem poles apart with the element of family keeping them linked. A good example would be Brayden’s sister, Morgan, who most readers will recognize from the covers and advertisements. Morgan carries a gothic punk look about her, obviously seting her apart from other characters. She is extremely intelligent, in and out of school. Wohl convey this subtly with only minor dialog but keeps the story moving at brisk pace, only stopping for setting transitions.
Throughout the book there is this captioned narration, explaining events and what the characters are thinking about. This narration mostly comes into play near the beginning, giving a loose history of the Shadow Clan, and during the action sequences. I have to admit, I find the captions, while insightful, a bit too much at points, distracting from the action on the page. I see their use and do not wish for them to disappear from the book but simply be toned down.
Smith does a great job with the art. I never feel lost or confused about what’s going on. He doesn’t over complicate the action panels, but keeps them somewhat simple, not cluttering them up with too much.
Over all, Legend of the Shadow Clan is a fun book. It’s a great place for Aspen to start their 10 for 10, having a book that doesn’t relate to the canon of another series. The action is exciting while the story that’s told is interesting. Aspen seems to have been diversifying itself over the past year and I think Legend of the Shadow Clan is giving Aspen fans and comic books fans in general something they haven’t necessarily seen from this company before. I mean, who doesn’t like ninjas.
Legend of the Shadow Clan hits shelves on February 6th. If you’re an Aspen fan than this book will sit well with you and if you haven’t checked out Aspen before, this is a great place to test the waters and see what you think.