From the pages of Birds of Prey and the forthcoming Justice League of America (Issue #1 out next Wednesday 20 February) comes the spinoff character nobody wanted to read more of – Katana!
As is usual with a first issue of the New 52, there’s no context or background to the newly launched series: does Katana’s story take place before or after her stint in the Birds of Prey? Is this series a lead-in to the JLA or completely separate, or will it run parallel to that series? No clue.
Katana herself remains underdeveloped as a character – she’s got mad fighting skills and is handy with her sword, she talks about getting better at fighting, talks about being monogamous to her dead husband (who possessed her sword when he was murdered) and that’s about it. She is a very dull character to sustain her own series – there’s very little about her that’s particularly interesting, and Ann Nocenti doesn’t do anything innovative or different with Katana that makes me want to read more of her.
But how about the story – what’s she doing in Japantown, San Francisco? No idea. Fighting (presumably evil) ninjas with her sword, Soultaker (which takes the soul of anyone it kills – I know, clever right?), but otherwise there’s no sense of a narrative, just mindless action in lieu of story. She fights a guy with a spiral-y, ribbon-like sword (!) called Coil and there’s talk of a “Sword Clan” but it’s so superficially written. Maybe Katana’s looking for her husband’s killer or maybe it was resolved in another story arc, all I know is I was bored long before the end.
Art-wise, David Finch draws the cover but the comic is drawn by Alex Sanchez who does a decent job though it’s nothing special. His backgrounds especially are a bit shaky and look a bit rushed.
Katana #1 is a rather ignominious start for this (surely soon to be cancelled) title. It’s definitely not an exciting new comic that’s worth picking up, unless you’re into ninja action for the sake of it.
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