Akaneiro: The Path of Cloak and Wolf #1 (of 3) (Dark Horse)

Akaneiro

Rating: 4/5 – Red Riding Hood Comes to Feudal Japan

Normally when I hear a comic is coming out that’s based on a video game, I tend to run for the hills. I really had my doubts about this comic when I heard it was loosely based on Little Red Riding Hood. I think the market is well beyond oversaturated when it comes to comic book properties based on public domain fairy tales and children’s stories. Video game + children’s fable = I think I’ll take my money elsewhere.

Fortunately, I don’t always heed my own math equations when it comes to comics. A brief preview of Vasilis Lolos’ stylized artwork and a breakdown of the premise and I was hooked. Yes, it’s the Red Riding Hood story (again!) but if you’re expecting a Willingham-esque breakdown of Red in the modern world, or possibly a Red with ample cleavage and an exposed derriere, a la Zenescope, look elsewhere. These guys are playing for keeps.

The Ainu clan has kept the peace with the demon-hunting Akane tribe in return for protection. That fragile truce is nearly shattered when a demon disturbs an important Ainu ceremony, and the Akane are held accountable. Rather than risk an all-out war the Ainu would surely lose, young Kani offers to journey to the Akane lands to train with them. To prove herself worthy, she is made to journey to their encampment wearing a red cloak, partially to expose her to the many beasts and demons along the way, but also as a symbol of her willingness to join the Akane, who are known for their crimson apparel.

And yes, there’s a big bad wolf…sort of.

Lolos’ artwork grabbed me from the first look – mainly because it doesn’t look like everything else out there right now. Hard-edged, thick linework and a very rough detail convey as much about what these people go through in their daily lives as Justin Aclin’s words. This book will hopefully surprise you as much as it did me. I’m very much looking forward to the next issue.

Reviewed by: Al Sparrow – al@comicspectrum.com
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