My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A buddy recommended this to me based solely on the title that he had seen online. Knowing I’m a fan of almost all things samurai, it was a good call. Naming the book after the legendary Japanese actor, Toshiro Mifune, certainly piqued my interest.
What a great surprise. Can’t believe I fucking missed this the first time around. This book appears to be the first chapter in what reads like a longer ongoing series that follows the exploits a self-aware, steam-powered, robot samurai named Toshiro. The story’s gothic-European setting and Cthulhu-ish creatures gave this a “Hellboy” flavor I really enjoyed. Throw in a mysterious gun-slinging partner named Quicksilver Bob and I’m all in. I’m a little late to the steam-punk thing, but some of that’s been thrown in as well for good measure. For the military enthusiasts out there the British Army marches on Manchester, Zeppelins drop bombs, and tanks blast away at the zombie hordes. Oh yeah, there’s even some zombie action for all those trendy horror fans. Lots of cool shit in this one. Nitz and Pawlak’s strange brew is certainly to my tastes. LOVED the Michael Moorcock reference and respect given to Frannie Douglas’s wonderful arse.
I know there will be complaints about the darkness of the art and moments where some characters might be hard to tell apart, but this didn’t hurt this collection for me. I’ve heard similar complaints regarding Mike Mignola’s work in the past and his stuff’s the shizzle. I really, really liked Janusz Pawlak’s illustrations in this one. Toshiro’s look alone sold this comic to me from the moment I saw the cover. Everything else was gravy.
While this reads like an origin story, Nitz seems to have left out a few details that muddy the water a bit. These might be a deliberate omissions, but there are a couple of things that don’t add up just yet and it hurt the story just a little. Though certainly not enough to keep me from really enjoying it. I was hoping for a little more of Toshiro chopping shit up too, but I guess I’ll just have to be patient and hope a volume 2 comes out somewhere down the road. Toshiro is certainly a recommend for Hellboy fans, steam-punk aficionados, and zombie lovers everywhere.