Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Science Fiction/Graphic Novel
Length: 272 pages
Release Date: November 17, 2010
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Kabuki series
Rating: 4/5 stars
“Collecting all six issues of the first Kabuki series plus the hard to find prequel one-shot with new pages of art from scenes that for space reasons were left out of the original story. It also includes in-depth notes and story analysis about the subtext of the story. Circle of Blood recounts the origins of the government operative known as Kabuki who works in Japan’s near future, It’s an exploration of the relationship between Japan’s government and organized crime on a truly epic scale!”
This was a decent graphic novel that reminded me a lot of the Kill Bill movies. The story basically looks at Japanese government and the yakuza. There is a secret organization that has a number of women assassins that work for them, one of these assassins is Kabuki. The story alternates between the yakuza/government scenes, the assassination scenes, and more intimate scenes where we learn about Kabuki’s past and how she ended up as she is now.
I enjoyed the scenes where Kabuki talks about her past and her thoughts. She is really the only character in this book you get to know at all and these scenes were a bit surreal as well as very engaging.
I didn’t enjoy the yakuza/government scenes as much because these involved the quick introduction of many many characters that honestly weren’t around long enough to care about.
The artwork is all black and white and has a very sci-fi noir vibe to it; lots of sleek lines and 80’s looking sci-fi costumes. Generally the artwork made the story easier to follow; although some of the action scenes got a bit confusing.
I appreciated the whole uber-violence as art and the commentary on the fine line between government and organized crime. However, it’s not something I found all that engaging and not the type of thing I would read again.
Overall a well done sci-fi uber-violent femme fatale type of graphic novel. There is some excellent artistry here and some interesting (if seen before) social commentary. It’s all well put together. I found the parts focusing on the government and organized crime to be a bit hard to follow at times (just too many characters that looked too similar) but really enjoyed the more ambiguous chapters where Kabuki comments on her past and present.