Writer(s): David W. Mack.
Artist(s): David W. Mack.
Colourist(s): David W. Mack.
Letterer(s): Steve Stegelin, Joe Martin & David W. Mack.
Publisher: Dark Horse Books.
Format: Paperback – Omnibus.
Release Date: December 4th, 2019 (first published July 1st, 2015).
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Art is a gateway into the mind of a creator. It allows them to express the intangible through a visual medium that is open to interpretation whilst cleverly depending on the viewer’s ability to become one with themselves and their emotions. Amongst all the artists in the modern industry today, there is one that has managed to distinguish himself through a unique artistic style: David W. Mack. With a Sony television series currently in the making, this brand-new 25th-anniversary reprint collects the first two complete volumes of the beloved series (Circle of Blood and Dreams), a prologue by creator Brian Michael Bendis, additional notes and cover art from the creator David W. Mack, an afterword by comics legend Jim Steranko, and a commentary by Takashi Hattori.
What is Kabuki Omnibus Vol. 1 about? In Circle of Blood, the story introduces us to an alternate neo-future Japan. While being a law-enforcing television personality, a woman called Kabuki is the face of an underground organization known as “The Noh”, an agency that is under the control of the General and responsible of establishing the balance between crime (old Yakuza Lords) and order/politics (legislative bodies). She is also burdened with a desire for revenge upon the Yakuza boss, Ryuchi Kai, who is tied to a terrible tragedy that was bestowed upon her mother. As a member of the deadly assassins that constitute the Circle of the Noh, she thus eliminates targets upon orders from the council while fueling the flame within her that craves to one day face the devil of her nightmares. In Dreams, the story explores the afterlife through memories, hallucinations, and dreams.
Sit down. Relax. Let your mind unwind in search of tranquility and bliss. Unveiling a familiar yet distant universe where peace is a balance maintained through bloodshed, creator David W. Mack presents the origin story of Kabuki by giving us the keys to her past, a past that continues to haunt her to this day while she serves the General, the Circle of the Noh, and the world. Teasing us with snippets of the missions that these assassins of this organization complete routinely, the story continuously circles back to Kabuki as we try and decipher the emotions she revels in by visualizing various memories she possesses of her parents. It is only through the spectacular artwork that her psychological turmoil is truly understood as creator David W. Mack showcases an unexplainable artistic vision that exquisitely captures the soul of the character and her path to self-discovery.
In what can be called an artistic masterpiece, creator David W. Mack extends an invisible hand to the reader to join him on his own journey to exploring the comic book medium. In the first volume titled Circle of Blood, a fully black-and-white artwork is utilized with a completely unconventional structure that demands some acclimating from the reader. Infused with heavy imagery and philosophy, the story constantly revolves around key sequences that are engraved in Kabuki’s mind as we embrace various forms of symbolism attached to them and attempt to understand her life story. With this tale dedicated to her departed mother, it is in the second volume titled Dreams that the style changes dramatically with colours splurging out of every page. Whether its the use of paint or real-life photos in a collage, he revitalizes his series with a brand-new identity that simply promises that Kabuki’s journey is one to be indulged through the eyes and with our hearts.
Kabuki Omnibus Vol. 1 is an audacious and stunning exploration of visual storytelling as it delivers a tragic tale of revenge through a quest for identity.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!