Stories of the Sengoku Era or Warring States period of Japan offer some of the most beautiful tales. Much like how we adore medieval stories like Game of Thrones, gritty stories like Wrath of the Cursed Part 1 show how much we love these exploits.
Whilst Wrath of the Cursed is a fantastical tale, it does its job of invoking the beauty of the time period. It is bloody, grisly but elegant at the same time. It’s the type of period action drama that any indie comic reader would surely love.
Honour and Loyalty: The Story of Wrath of The Cursed
Wrath of the Cursed Part 1 is the first story in The Wrath of the Cursed Complete Collection. Matt Kyme is in charge of the story and art, with lettering from Graeme Jackson and proofreading from Roger Stitson.
The story of Wrath of the Cursed revolves around The Cursed, a foreign warrior who found himself in a strange land of reminiscent of Warring States Japan. The feudal system put him as the sword of the Supreme Leader, a local warlord.
Historical Fantasy At Its Finest: The Writing of Wrath of The Cursed
Wrath of the Cursed Part 1 is an interesting story with an exciting plot point. The story is historical fantasy, using the same structure of feudal Japan to create a weave a beautiful, dark epic.
A little bit of history: it’s not uncommon for foreigners to reach Japan and become underlings to daimyos. Among the most famous were Yasuke, a black man from Mozambique who became the first African samurai under Oda Nobunaga.
In Wrath of the Cursed, Cole is a foreign man who came under the employ of the Supreme Leader. His characterisation is fantastic and consistent, with a precision that is hard to find in many Australian comic books.
Australian comic books are not strangers to antiheroes. Some of them, like Bazza The Bogan Barbarian, Killeroo, and even Flash Damingo, some of them are there to finish their mission. They offer a level of principles that are impossible to find anywhere else.
The Cursed is a complex character, with his own set of principles followed in such a cruel time period. He is loyal to his master and willing to stain his hands with blood in the name of his master.
The Cursed also never spills innocent blood but doesn’t have a problem slitting the necks of those who point their swords at his master. At the same time, the Mark of the Cursed goes to the next generation, who might not be as ruthless as the previous generation.
The interaction between the characters so far is coherent, with just the right drama. We still need to learn more about the present time and what will eventually happen. I’m positive with the future that Matt Kyme is leading us with this story.
Beautiful But Dated: The Art of Wrath of The Cursed
Matt Kyme’s art in The Wrath of The Cursed is much different from his style used in Rise of the Talking Bread. The art here is more reminiscent of Gary Chaloner’s The Jackaroo, with hard inks and soft lines.
The art is obviously hand-drawn, with good charcoal shading that offer depth that is impossible to replicate digitally. The art is both rough and clean, with much of the background showing beautifully disturbed scenarios.
The fight scenes look precise and alive. Every sword swing feels heavy, and every battle is fluid. Whilst it’s hard to communicate such in a 2D medium like comics, Matt was able to communicate it with strong art.
It’s hard to find fault with Wrath of The Cursed, as many of the problems I find with it are a product of the time and medium. For example, much of the colouring, mostly in black and white, can benefit from good digitalisation.
The art can look much better with a good post-prod cleanup, putting it on par with modern manga inking. The pace of the story is impeccable too. It does not linger too much in a scene, and if it does, there is always something happening.
Should You Read The Wrath Of The Cursed Part 1?
Should you read The Wrath of the Cursed Part 1? The answer is a resounding yes. Beyond the fact that this will be right up any comic book lover’s alley, it’s also a good story with a complex main character in a questionable situation.
The end of Part 1 is a solid cliffhanger, which underscores the dilemma of those in loyal servitude. Will The Cursed pick up arms? Will he passively give his life away in the name of loyalty? Nobody knows.
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