By Ann Nocenti & Cliff Richards

The latest issue of Katana sees the titular heroine continuing her current challenge to become the leader of the Swords clan. The latest obstacle is the vicious Coil, who’s been a recurring a foe. They finally duke it out in classic fashion. Also, a new antagonist is introduced that Katana must face.

Ann Nocenti’s work on this title has been consistently strong. She spends the majority of the issue focusing the fight between Coil and Katana (Tatsu). They clash not only blades, but words, which is Coil’s strongest weapon. Perhaps this may seem like a cliché plot device, but Nocenti makes the convention work in her favor. She revealed the events surrounding the death of Tatsu’s husband, Maseo, last issue and the verbal battle between Coil and Katana had the stakes raised because of this. Tatsu is recovering from the revelation, so Coil preys on that showing that the heroine is not all-powerful and can easily be put in jeopardy. Seeing a driving plot element come to a conclusion can easily kill interest in a series, but Ann is able to make Katana an interestingly complicated character with more issues and conflicts that the reader wasn’t aware of.

The panels depicting the fight between Coil and Tatsu were magnetic. Cliff Richards had a majority of the fight set against the backdrop of a neon lit billboard. This made each panel lively and engaging. It was a brilliant move to have that as the setting. The sequence of the fight through the panels was well done and diverse. Richards would show different fight stances/actions or depict a shadow image of the previous action of a character to indicate the passage of time. Cliff has been swapping art duties with Alex Sanchez on this run and he has proven to be a great addition to the creative team on Katana.

This was another sound issue in this run. With the introduction of a couple new characters and plots, it seems the book will continue that way.

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About The Author Erik Gonzalez

I was exposed to comics early on, one of my earliest vivid memories was picking up the entire run of Dark Horse’s Aliens vs. Predator(1990). Odd and perhaps morbid choice for a kid, I know...At the same time, I was immersed in the pop culture of the time which included, but not limited to: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, Jurassic Park, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and of course, Batman: The Animated Series. Upon reflection, it’s fairly evident why I’m such a zealous geek. My day job is in television operations, so basically I’m exposed to media at every turn, which is where I want to be! Writing comic book reviews is another outlet to convey my respect and fanaticism for the this graphic medium. I hope what I have to say will resonate with others and also spark heart-felt discussion. Simon Pegg said it best, “Being a geek is extremely liberating.”