Toshiro Review

Anyone else here like steampunk? Victorian England? Zombies? Samurai? Robots? Extradimensional Lovcraftian monsters? Well, Toshiro has them all.

Written by Jai Nitz (Dream Thief, El Diablo, Grim: Warlock) and illustrated by Janusz Pawlak (This is his first major credit, though I don’t see how, his art is awesome), this graphic novel follows a steam-powered, self aware mechanical samurai, Toshiro, and his monster hunting American partner, Quicksilver Bob, as they battle their way through Victorian era Manchester, where the inhabitants have all been raised as deadly zombies.

This book is an action packed joyride. The art and writing are both fantastic. Pawlak’s art is reminiscent of the best of Mike Mignola and Jeff Lemire, and Jai’s fantastic dialogue is as tight as ever. I’m especially taken with the “jellyfish”, the extra-dimensional monsters. Toshiro isn’t being published in individual issues, it’s coming straight out the gate as a graphic novel, which actually does affect the storytelling quite a bit. Normally, the pacing in graphic novels is heavily determined by the endpoints of the individual issues, but since Toshiro is a single work, the story has room to push forward and grow at its own natural pace, rather than forcing the action to peak every 24 pages, and concentrating the exposition every 8 pages. (I know, not every comic does that, but…)

Also, you know what? This graphic novel has the best damn facial hair I’ve seen in comics. It’s muttonchop central in there. It’s a weird thing to notice, I know, but this book had me seething with sideburn jealousy. (There’s a reason some of my friends call me Yonder Mountain Stringbeard when I grow out my facial hair for too long).

If none of that convinces you to buy this, I have two words for you: Zombie teaparty.

Toshiro is due out in comic stores on June 4th. Buy it.

Publication Date: June 04, 2014
Format: FC, 168 pages; TP, 7” x 10”
Price: $19.99
ISBN-10: 1-61655-529-7
ISBN-13: 978-1-61655-529-0