Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Review: Akaneiro #1

Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics

On Wednesday, May 22nd, Issue #1 of 3 of Akaneiro will be hitting the comic shops.  This is a joint Dark Horse Comics and Spicy Horse Studios production.  It's written by Justin Aclin with art by Vasilis Lolos with the concept created by American McGee, creator of Alice: Madness Returns!

Before I get into the review, I want to put this book in context.  This is a property based on a game (ARPG specifically) from Spicy Horse.  This game had a Kickstarter the beginning of the year and a week into it they announced this comic as a supplement to the game.  I feel that the context of where the comic originates from is important here.

To start, the premise of this comic is Little Red Riding Hood meets Japanese mythology.  Right off the bat, for me, that's a negative.  I say this because of the incredible over-saturation of fairy tales for adults that has been bombarding us across multiple mediums for years now.  Between the smash hit comic book series Fables and its spin-offs, the near entirety of Zenescopes' catalogue of work, many other smaller comic publishers doing similar work, TV shows like Once Upon a Time and Grimm (one of which is getting a comic book adaptation), movies like Snow White and the Huntsman, I could go on and on.  One of, if not the only thing we are more overexposed to than zombies at this point are fairy tales for adults.

Upon opening the comic up, one of the first things you'll notice is the vast disparity between the quality of the cover art and the interior art.  I do not mean to put down the artist on the interior pages, but the cover more so than other books I pick up (and I pick up a lot of books) gives you a false impression of what to expect.  The art feels a little rough in this book as well.  It is also lacking somewhat in creativity as far as the layouts go.  There are very few panels or pages that pop out to the reader in a way that would make you stop for a second to soak it all in.
Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics
The plot itself feels a bit too borrowed from the stories before it.  I understand it's supposed to be a take on Little Red Riding Hood and that it is expected to have a good deal from that story in it.  Honestly, while reading through this issue, I didn't think much of Little Red Riding Hood and thought more of the beginning of the anime film Princess Mononoke, which it seems to borrow heavily from.  That may be a bit unfair in so far as the characters are different, the story isn't exactly the same, but if you do read it with this in mind I think you'll see where I'm coming from.

Overall, Akaneiro felt too much like an additional piece of merchandise for an existing product as opposed to a sincere effort to make something new and entertaining in its own right.  I feel this book suffers from that enough where I wouldn't recommend it to someone unless they were not only a fan of this game, but were obsessed with it to the point of demanding it take over other mediums of entertainment.

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