Review – Yakuza Demon Killers #1 (of 6) (IDW Publishing)


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Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Amit Chauhan
Artist: Eli Powell
Release Date: 16th November, 2016

Yakuza Demon Killers opens in an alleyway in the Kabukichō District of Tokyo, introducing readers to Ochita, a drug dependent woman currently in the throes of her latest trip. As she contemplates her life and the fragility of the veil between this world and death, she is torn from her thoughts and dragged away to the heist of a highly prized object that requires her expertise. The small group of bandits arrive at their destination, a museum, just before another group of dangerous individuals: Yakuza, a transnational organised crime syndicate. Like the thieves, the Yakuza, or gokudō, have a mission to fulfil; they are here to kill monsters.

And kill monsters they do, with the six part series wasting no time in presenting its titular demons; the outlandish design of the creatures is nightmarish, with the adornment of one demon cleverly commenting on existentialism, social media and identity. With the arrival of the monsters in the first issue, writer Amit Chauhan successfully creates suspense by suturing the story around the action, with several unanswered questions relating to the origin and buyer of the artefact the thieves were due to steal, the object’s apparent magical properties, where the demons came from, and how the Yakuza are connected to this nightmarish world – a creative extension of the criminal underworld associated with this group.

The only tiny criticism I had while reading was that some of the dialogue was too expositional and unnecessary – particularly as the opening drug-induced thoughts of Ochita were so profound, philosophical and almost prophetic in relation to later events: “Death has come to claim me for its cursed collection of oddities”.

Eli Powell perfectly captures Chauhan’s dark, sombre and nightmarish tone in the striking dark and heavy lines. With K. Michael Russell’s colouring, the comic is a feast for the eyes. Acidic neon oranges, purples and greens glow from the pages, which contrasts sharply with the block inks and hyper-real heavy and scratchy lines, the resulting overall effect a surreal metaphor for the addiction of Ochito.

Outlandishly nightmarish, poetic and beautifully rendered, this is a series that horror comic fans should be very excited about.

Rating: 4/5.

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rebThe writer of this piece was: Rebecca Booth
Rebecca Tweets from @rebeccalbooth

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