Comic Review: Honor and Curse #4

Genshi, Yua, Nishiro and, a whole ancient kingdom worth of evil spirits and kickass action scenes are back with Honor and Curse issue #4. After the explosive ending of issue #3, we follow Genshi on his quest not only for the Elder One but for his own inner peace. We also get a really cool look into Lady Yua’s origins and what exactly made her the ruthless killer she is today. The whole issue feels like 2 separate stories of dark and light, good and evil, and it carries on this fantasy tale beautifully.

H_C 4 - Cover

Plot

Honor and Curse #4 is written by Mark London with artwork from Nicolas Salamanca, Tekino and, Miguel Angel Zapata and whilst it moves slower that issue #3 that is one of its biggest strengths. It takes the time to develop and expand on its characters which means the short fights it does have, feel just as weighty and real as those which have come before. I really loved taking the time to learn about Yua’s origin. It does a great job of humanizing this spiritual assassin. We see her troubled youth and as well as her mentor, who is just as vindictive as she is and after seeing what she went through you almost feel sorry for her in a way. The parallel between her and Genshi is set up really well and I hope we see more of it in the future.

The second half of the issue takes a different turn as we follow Genshi and his master Nishiro on their quest to find the elder one. I appreciated the two of them simply traveling and talking with one another even if it didn’t last long. Coming upon a nearby village under attack, Genshi and Nishiro spring into action fending off the attackers. I loved how Genshi’s Tengu slowly took over, whispering into Genshi’s head before finally unleashing its power. Yet again the action is stellar and actually serves the story rather than being included for the sake of having action.

Yet another cliffhanger ending, which I genuinely didn’t see coming, and has peaked my intrest for the Elder one and Genshi’s future with his Tengu. It really is a smaller story in terms of scale only really focusing on a handful of characters and choosing to completely miss out series regulars like Amano and Akemi but I didn’t mind that. The issue serves as a great continuation of the series.

Characters

Genshi, whilst still being our hero actually takes a back seat in favor of Yua. Yet again, she’s given a good helping of humility and after seeing her tragic backstory you start to feel sorry for her. Her “mentor” so to speak, Fanuk is an even nastier piece of work, and someone I desperately want to see more of in the future. Yua was, up until now a pretty cut and dry villain but now I think she’s in a grey area and I’m interested to see what they do with her next.

Genshi and Nishiro have their “apprentice and master” relationship developed here and I really enjoyed it. Genshi is still a good person at heart, always wanting to do good but he, or rather his Tengu, is uncontrollable. They don’t do a whole lot other than face off against some bandits which then leads to Nishiro having to subdue his friend in order to snap him out of his evil spirit fueled rage. Now that the two are separated from the village I’m hoping to see their relationship develop even more and this issue defiantly pushes it in the right direction.

We get a couple of new additions to the series in issue #4 mainly Fanku and the Elder One. Neither of them do a whole lot here but they are very interesting characters and each has a solid set up here. We’ll have to see what the series does with them in the future.

Artwork

Honor and Curse has always had solid art but never have I seen such great storytelling done through an issues artwork. The entire comic is split in two with the first half having a light red hue to it as well follow Yua through her childhood. The issue then switches up to more natural colors with hints of blue when we meet Genshi. A subtle but noticeable and very appreciated detail. Once again the action is superb and used sparingly but to great effect. Whilst previous issues have had better more impressive standout moments I don’t think any other issue has looked this good overall.

Honor and Curse #4 takes a step back from the rest of the series simplifying the story but that by no means takes away from it. The story serves as a great continuation of the series with fantastic character development and of course gripping action. The issue has some really nice, if only small, setups for future characters which I really hope are expanded on in future issues.