Japan is known for its beauty and rich history, but the country has a dark side that isn’t explored as much as it could be. Japan’s seedy underbelly is exposed by Ryu Murakami’s In The Miso Soup, which focuses on the sex trade and Tokyo nightlife. Kenji, a young tour guide, takes an American tourist called Frank on a journey. But Frank is far more sinister than he appears to be and it’s not long before Kenji is dragged into a nightmare he wishes he could escape from.
Birds symbolise a variety of things, from the freedom of the sky, to a young person asserting their independence. Birds play a big part in Sanders and Jay Fabares’ The Pale, which sees avian enthusiast Franklin ‘Fink’ Ink confront his past in the Arizona desert. Ink also works for the FBI as a linguist and it puts him into contact with the sheriff of a small town. But Fink is hiding something crucial about himself that could make or break the case. The Comic Vault was sent The Pale #1 and #2 in exchange for an honest review.
Haruki Murakami is known for writing surreal fiction, and that can be seen in After Dark. Taking place in a single night, the novel focuses on Eri and Mari Asai. The sisters are vastly different to each other, but are connected by a sense of loneliness. After Dark stirs up a lot of emotions, with Murakami using various techniques to keep the reader guessing what will happen next.
The decay of civilisation has cropped up in several places, from Egypt to Rome. History has a habit of repeating itself and that’s the case with Firewalk by Chris Roberson. The supernatural thriller covers themes of decay and myth in the modern city of Recondito. It follows FBI agent Izzie Lefervre as she comes back to Recondito to deal with a case from her past. What starts off as an investigation into old evidence soon becomes a paranormal nightmare for Izzie. I was sent a free copy of Firewalk in exchange for an honest review.
What happens when you cross supernatural spiders with a violent gang? You get Weavers, a graphic novel by Simon Spurrier and Dylan Burnett. After a gang-related attack, a young man called Sid Thyme finds himself strong armed into the Weavers, where his loyalty will be put to the test. Forget about great power coming with great responsibility. With great power comes loyalty to the family.
When we think of superheroes, we think of brightly dressed people with amazing powers. The fight to save the world so often we wonder how they could possibly have a personal life. Jessica Jones: Alias: Volume 1 takes the reader down to earth and shows what happens when a hero tries to live like the rest of us. A former Avenger, Jessica Jones used to go by Jewel, but she retired from the team and opened up a private detective agency. Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Alias is an influential graphic novel because it inspired Marvel’s MAX comic line. There’s violence, profanity, sex and people doing questionable things for what they think are the right reasons. When the first word is ‘fuck’ you know you’re in for something gritty.
Despite Marvel and DC being the most well-known comic houses, they aren’t the only game in town. Top Cow has published many successful comics, with one of them being Witchblade. The Witchblade universe is dark and down to earth, mixing crime with the supernatural. My favourite character from the series is Ian Nottingham. Nottingham is an underrated character and here is what makes him worth knowing about.