Posted on June 10, 2010 by Nancy
Available at Amazon.com
OKKO: THE CYCLE OF AIR, BOOK ONE is the third cycle in the OKKO series from Guy Delcourt Productions and Archaia Entertainment, LLC. It stands well on its own, though reading the other cycles in the series (Water and Earth) and knowing some of the background of the setting will no doubt lend more fluidity to the events of the story.
The plot focuses on Samurai Okko, his entourage, and their attempts to help a girl that is seemingly haunted by spirits. It’s Okko’s task to find out what has happened to her and set things right. Unfortunately for him, there are other things going on in the town that should be of more concern. A number of sub-plots are set up regarding Okko’s violent past, and while the main story is resolved, the others are left to play out in the next issue of the CYCLE OF AIR.
Despite the main focus of Book One, storyboard directors Emmanuel Michalak and Hub—also the writer—start the panels with a Sensei and a young student. There’s also a brief introduction to an important character that will appear again later on in the story. This is an interesting way to begin, as one has to wonder what significant roles these figures will play as the story progresses.
Hub also does the artwork, which is powerful, enhances the epic nature of the story, and also invokes a sense of animated movement. The color scheme by Hub and Li is a smörgåsbord for the eyes. This could easily be transformed into an Anime series or film. Still, there are a few problems on the page. Word bubbles aren’t always easy to follow. There are several sections that awkwardly transition to past events. There’s no immediate indication at those times that the story is referencing the past, except for a shift in color. This would work on film or if the first transition panels were overall views of the setting. Instead they are close-ups of characters’ faces. That makes it difficult to determine if the change is for the time-period, character or setting, since there are several characters and settings focused on in the comic.
Despite those few stumbling blocks, the writing is good and the story should hold the attention of mature fans of violent manga or graphic Anime. There’s no rush to cram as much as possible into a single issue, probably because the series is already drawn out over several issues. While CYCLE OF AIR: BOOK ONE is appealing, it’s definitely recommended that a reader go back to the beginning to get a better understanding of the arcs thus far (I’ve picked up the omnibus of CYCLE OF WATER for that very reason).
Review by Nancy O. Greene