Shadow Knight, the Vol 1

Posted: Tuesday, October 25, 2005
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of Shadow Knight, the Vol 1 Creator(s): Cory Byrd
Publishers: Quality Quill
From: USA
Price: $8 (US)

Noki the Ninja lives in the post-apocalyptic wasteland with his ninja master. Noki comes to the attention of the leaders of the IMF who control one of the nice and shiny domed cities. They "persuade" him to pay them a visit, for they wish to hire him to help deal a so-called "terrorist threat".

During one of the many master/pupil exchanges in this book Noki's master makes use of a phrase that stuck me as have some relevance to the book as a whole: The path less travelled. It's a nice ideal, one that Cory has completely ignored in the collection of just about every comic cliché known to the comics medium. Lets consider just a few of them:

  1. Martial arts pupil with an attitude problem
  2. Master who quotes philosophy while teaching means of violence to a young hot-head
  3. Domed Cities in the future
  4. Suits of armour that contain lots of gimmicks, including the ability to mould to the body
  5. Sexy weapons designers
There a few more. I was hoping to find something new in the mix, but no can do. I'll admit the plotting here is commendably handled - the plot is easy to follow, the reader learns all they could ever want to know about the set-up pretty quickly, and there's lots of violence along the way. These sorts of things sell lots of comics so it might have appeal to some readers.

The artwork itself has potential. Cory has a good grasp of posture and is working to polish the rough edges. Some of the layouts are imaginative, making for interesting flow over the page... when you can make out what is one the page. About one third of the book seems to have been scanned out of focus or at too low a resolution, so it is blurry and quite annoying to read. I can’t imagine anyone flicking through actually deciding to pay for it in its present state. Cory must have spent a fair amount on the colour cover and square binding, and it just seems such a waste to get something like the scanning the artwork so wrong. I can't understand why the printer didn't refuse to print it until the scanning was redone.

If the printing was up to scratch I'd rate this an inoffensive, action packed but rather forgettable book from early in the career of someone who might make some money out of comics in the future. As it is, it's an insult to the customer.

In a Word: Blighted.

If you have a comment or question about Small Press then feel free to contact me