by Ann Nocenti, Cliff Richards and CrissCross
Katana #9 continues with the titular character beginning her assault on the Dagger clan. To become the leader of the Swords clan she must defeat the leader of the Daggers, Mona Shard. Meanwhile, Shun is preparing to finally have her vengeance against Coil. Also, another spirit from Katana’s blade, Soultaker, is acclimating in its new host body, a sumo wrestler.
By now most people have heard that this series will end in the next issue. It’s fairly evident that Ann Nocenti is trying to conclude all the storylines as best she can. There are several plots going on in this issue that just seem dissonant. One minute Katana (Tatsu) is dueling with Mona Shard, the next she is trying to keep the Sword clan in check. Instead of focusing on completing the task to be the head of the Sword clan, she detours to handle a gambling ring? Stories that would have been given proper time to develop are just becoming fodder. Nocenti still makes the book captivating with Tatsu’s inner conflicts, despite having realized her husband’s true killer, and, of course, her physical confrontations
Cliff Richards was joined by CrissCross on pencil duty. This just adds credence to the notion that Katana is being rushed to a conclusion with the inclusion of a second artist. The use of after images to show a fight sequence’s progression of time was not as clear as what’s been done in the past. They appeared more as spirits than shadows, which just made fight scenes confusing, considering Katana was fighting a wandering soul. Cliff Richards’ touch seems severely lacking in #9 and CrissCross just doesn’t fit well.
This was definitely not the best the book in this run, but the creative teams are doing what they can to complete the story before the title heads to the graveyard. Considering there is only one issue left, there’s no reason not to pick this and the finale up!