Creator & Writer: HS Tak
Art: Isabella Mazzanti
Layouts: Nicoletta Bea
Colors: Valentina Napolitano
Letters: Rob Jones
In my review of Hitomi #1, I expressed concerns about pace considering the book’s status as a five-issue mini. The follow-up, Hitomi #2, is masterful in its narrative efficiency. Most of the issue is structured as a one-off, monster of the week adventure, again reminiscent of Samurai Champloo. Over the course of the episode, we see a distinct relationship formed between Hitomi and Yasuke, and by the issue’s end HS Tak has mapped out a clear path forward for the duo. The closing pages effortlessly transition into a beautifully drawn time-skip, in a manner suggesting the final issues might take place months, if not years or decades after Hitomi #1. Suddenly the story has endless possibilities in terms of scale and stakes.
Hitomi #2 starts with a simple but thrilling tale. While a samurai and his apprentice hunting a wolf by the light of the moon would have made for a cool enough issue, Tak delivers an intriguing and effective twist. Although the story deals with death and deception by way of Isabella Mazzanti’s austere, mythic art, Hitomi does not lack levity. Hitomi –a mercurial, beguiling title character, so far– makes for a hilarious sight on all fours, disguised under a sheep’s skin.
Nicoletta Bea’s layouts remain clean and controlled. Mazzanti’s art is somewhat comparable to Sana Takeda’s work on Monstress. While Monstress is a gorgeous book, Bea’s smart layouts help prevent Mazzanti’s art from becoming too “shaggy” or confused, especially during action sequences, a sometimes pitfall for Takeda. Mazzanti’s singular style and Bea’s orderly pages are measured by Valentina Napolitano’s soft color palette, which typically deals in mellow greens and browns without devolving into the dreary miasma.
The artwork really comes together over the closing pages, as Hitomi grows strong over the course of her training. Mazzanti gives Peach Momoko a run for her money as the most fashion-conscious artist in comics, dressing Hitomi in a dazzling blue outfit with a complex, three-tail hairstyle. It may seem like a cosmetic change, but the final panels suggest Hitomi is truly set on a new phase of her quest. There’s one decision that has so far left me both pleased and confused. Hitomi #1 set up a vengeance-fueled feud between Hitomi and Yasuke. Hitomi, for reasons unclear, has either moved on from or temporarily suspended this mission. I’m all for Hitomi quickly recognizing that killing a man for a mistake he made decades ago is joyless fruit –the overarching message of many stories– and Hitomi tricking Yasuke into training her to defeat him might be interesting. In either case, it feels strange that she has not acknowledged Yasuke in this regard, even if only internally.
- Fantastic, complementary art team.
- Excellent pacing and story development.
- Confusing conflict between Hitomi and Yasuke.