December 11, 2019
Dark Horse Comics
Sony Picture‘s adaptation of David Mack’s Kabuki is coming to television and anyone not familiar with this cyberpunk treat can easily get updated with the omnibus collection! Not only is this work celebrating 25 years in publication but also the fact it continuing says something. The first volume brings “Circle of Blood” and “Dreams of the Deep” together in a perfect introduction to the seminal character. Ukiko was an innocent girl once, but as an assassin, she’s under a simple moniker.
The stories featured here are about the evolution of “The Warrior,” and no I’m not thinking of the song by Scandal featuring Patty Smyth. This music video may have inspired the artist/writer in its themes, but I feel Roxette’s “Dangerous” serves an equal amount of defining who Kabuki is. The first chapter deals with her training and how not to fail her employers. The South Asian world is dog eat dog, and she must navigate the corridors of deception and deceit if she’s to get by.
She serves the Noh, a clandestine government agency, and executes their orders without fail. Things change for her when she meets her biological father and is ordered to do the unthinkable; she questions if this path she’s on is good. Much like Furie, the plot sees the heroine wanting a better life for herself. Sometimes it includes a family member, so both can escape the Triad they once belonged.
Originally, Mack wanted to turn his work into a movie. Much had changed since the announcement years ago. It was re-optioned. The news dropped on his Twitter back in early 2018 and since then, casting and moving into production took place. No official release date is announced at the time of writing.
With Mack involved in translating his comic to live action, I’m sure the exotic and erotic look will stay the same. The print version represents his early work, and I’m more excited to look at the second volume to see how his artwork improved. His meditations with the Indian and Japanese symbology makes this series stands out. The leap in quality in the second story arc really caught my attention with its depth, use of watercolours and “zen.” Although a lot of his narrative and visual approach borrows from a lot of tropes during his stylistic development, I’m the type of reader who is not out to deride. The second story uses every visual style that I associate with Dave McKean and the added watercolour elements is more in line with Mack’s own emerging style.
The concept behind Kabuki is not too different from William Tucci’s Shi. I’m a sucker for female ninja warriors and will follow anything I can find in this subgenre. Yes, that includes watching Ninia 3: The Domination. The big question is whether the television series can slice through the competition. Batwoman, look out!