Ronin Island is a fairly new comic from Boom Studios written by Greg Pak (Mech Cadet Yu, Firefly, World War HULK) about a fictional island in Asia that must battle both a zombie horde as well as a feudal class system in order to survive. 30 years prior, Ronin Island survived a catastrophe called The Great Wind. The result has thrown a group of refugees, Japanese, Korean and Chinese, together on a small island in the Pacific which has seen peace ever since. Isolated from the mainland, they live quiet lives.
The story follows Kenchi, of noble birth who’s father, a samurai and protector of the island died in the Great Wind. And his friend Hana, an orphaned poor farm girl who has lived on the edge of the island since she was s child. They both have been trained by the island’s elders and compete for the official title of Protector of Ronin Island until the day a mysterious samurai by the name of General Sato shows up and declares the island and the people on it, territory of a long dead Shogun.
General Sato demands that the islanders swear fealty to his army and the Shogun he serves, but before the citizens have time to argue, they are attacked by a mysterious zombie horde called byonin that practically wipe them out. The lslanders fight alongside the army to defeat the zombies, but when the battle is won, shogun rule takes over and anyone who defies with the General or his men is thrown in jail. Including the elders. All food and supplies are given to the military first, while the people live in poverty. So now, not only are the islanders trying to survive a zombie apocalypse, they are forced back into a feudal class system that they had freed themselves of for years ago.
What I think
I’m two issues in and I’m already hooked. Is General Sato’s there to save them or enslave them? Will Kenchi and Hana be able to free their elders and the rest of the island’s military? Who created the byonin and where exactly did they come from? How can they be defeated? Pak’s writing as he switches back and forth from the kids dialogue to the Samurai’s is seamless. (Even Hana’s pet cat has dialogue!) Giannis Milonogianniss art is well drawn and easy to follow through fight scenes. It’s so cinematic that you can actually feel the tension building through several panels when something big is about to happen. This is definitely a teen an up comic because of some of the violence depicted. Greg Pak has assembled a great team on this one and I can’t wait to read more. Apaprently BOOM! thinks so too, because Ronin Island has been picked up for a full 12 issues series run! This is a new take on the zombie apocalypse and I’m here for it.
TBG score 9/10
Ronin Island (BOOM!)
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Giannis Milonogiannis
Colored By Irma Kniivila
Lettered By Simon Bowland
Cover By Giannis Milonogiannis With Colors By Msassyk