Comics are great for sci-fi storytelling because they have an unlimited budget. All that matters is the imagination and talent of the creative team.
The same holds true for historical stories. Wars, including navies fighting each other, can be depicted well when you have creators who can imagine what things really did look like—well, within the format of comics, anyway.
One excellent comic book stands out above the rest when it comes to showing us history and all it involves, and that’s Yi Soon Shin. The first in the latest series is here, and it’s amazing!
Story/Layouts/Edits: Onrie Kompan and David Anthony Kraft
Illustrations: El Arnakleus
Colorist: Adriana De Los Santos
Letterer: Joel Saavedra
Published by: Onrie Kompan Productions, LLC
Cover price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: All that stood against an invading army of samurai… was one man who could not be defeated. The final arc of the YI SOON SHIN Trilogy begins here! Our hero is back with a vengeance! He has a score to settle with the Japanese invaders, and personally, with his sworn enemy–Baron Seo. Find out how it all plays out.
ENGAGING, ENTERTAINING, AND EDUCATING
I know that learning something can be considered unappealing to some, but these people must not have read Yi Soon Shin! The writing, the artwork, and the comic’s ability to transport the reader to a place many of us have never seen is unparalleled. Frankly, I LOVE to learn about people and cultures I’ve never met before, and this book is the very best at what it does—tell the story of one of history’s greatest leaders.
It’s important to point out that this comic is not for younger readers because it’s graphic in the way it conveys what Yi Soon Shin did as well as what happened to him and those around him. Heads fly, sexual situations happen as they very likely did, and the language won’t be for younger ears. But for the rest of us, it’s a comic you can’t put down until you sadly reach that last page of the issue or volume.
Who is Yi Soon Shin? The comic’s website tells us:
Yi Soon Shin: The Commander of Left Cholla Naval Station. His military career has been full of hardships. When he was finally made Admiral in 1591, in just one year Yi transformed a small naval force into the strongest armada yet. He is a brave and compassionate leader who will stop at nothing to save Korea from Japan.
I freely admit that I have known very little about this part of the world. That’s one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed this comic so much—it has engaged me on several levels, it has entertained me with stories I haven’t found anywhere else, and yes, it has taught me much about the country of Korea during the life of Yi Soon Shin. And personally, I love this book!
This is the third story arc, with the first two named Yi Soon Shin Warrior and Defender followed by Yi Soon Shin Fallen Avenger. I very highly recommend you pick these up. Yes, you can read this first issue of Hunter and Destroyer without reading the previous offerings, but I would point out that you’ll learn much more if you read them in sequence.
In this issue, Yi Soon Shin is an admiral and older now, and he has become the strategist that other leaders would long to be. But he also has new vulnerabilities in that he has a family, including a wife and sons, and his enemies are looking to take advantage of this in horrific ways.
Kompan and Kraft, who are the driving forces behind this series, has done extensive research on Admiral Yi, including visiting that part of the world. His writing rings with authenticity that makes this a gripping read even to those who might prefer to avoid the more graphic details of his life. Again, once you dive in, it’s tremendously hard to put this book down, and a lot of that has to do with Kompan’s ability to tell Yi Soon Shin’s story in an accurate and enthralling way.
The issue begins with Admiral Yi attacking the Japanese, who have occupied a strategic location he wants for a home base. We then see Yi’s opponent struggling with the outcome of that battle, and Samurai General Yasuharu finds he may not be as safe where is he as he would like to be. This series shows how vital women were in the fight, something I was fascinated to see in the 1500s. You underestimate the female gender at your own peril!
The pacing is fast and engrossing, and we feel for Admiral Yi because he’s human as well as a powerful military leader. The comic ends with him having to face a terrible loss that I’m sure will propel the story in upcoming issues.
ART THAT MATCHES PRIOR EXCELLENCE
It’s always a concern when a series like this brings on a new artist. I loved what Giovanni Timpano created in previous issues. And El Arnakleus seamlessly has taken the reigns moving forward.
I couldn’t take my eyes off the facial expressions and the action sequences in this issue. I’m anxious for future issues, honestly, and some of these pages would make excellent posters! Nicely done!
BOTTOM LINE: It’s Called Hunter and Destroyer For a Reason
If you’ve been to recent comics conventions, you’ve likely seen Onrie at a booth there selling Yi Soon Shin and Marx. He often sells out at these cons, and I find it very encouraging that he’s so good at bringing new people into Admiral Yi’s world. If you go to a con in the months ahead, keep your eye out for him!
As always Onrie and David name these books appropriately, so look for a lot of hunting and destroying to take place in the months ahead!
If you aren’t getting to a con anytime soon, you can pick up this wonderful series at this website: https://www.yisoonshin.com/shop/. He’s even got a new collectible coin for fans to buy, so don’t miss it!
Honestly, I can’t recommend this series any higher! If you haven’t discovered Yi Soon Shin yet, by all means, join the series’ fans and march on “To Victory,” as I’ve heard Onrie say!
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Yi Soon Shin Hunter and Destroyer #1
One excellent comic book stands out above the rest when it comes to showing us history and all it involves, and that’s Yi Soon Shin. The first in the latest series is coming, and it’s amazing!