Graphically Speaking: Yi Soon Shion: Warrior and Defender #1-2 review

Yi Soon Shin #1-2

Written by Onrie Kompan
Art by Giovanni Paolo Timpano, Adriana De Los Santos, and Joel Saavedra
Published by Onrie Kompan Productions

The year is 1591. The Japanese army is laying waste to Korea, raping, pillaging, and leaving a trail of terror in its wake. The only hope is one man…no, not Batman…not a scientist…but Admiral Yi Soon Shin of the Korean navy.

“Yi Soon Shin” is a limited comic series about Admiral Yi and his battle for Korea, a country even its leader had abandoned. Its first two issues tell a broad story that starts after the Japanese siege has begun, throwing us right into a surprise attack by Yi on Japanese boats. There’s little character development as we’re thrown into a sweeping battle scene between characters we’re vaguely sure how we feel about. The Japanese shout, the Koreans…shout. How about we get some background on these people? Oh wait! There’s a prologue…of paragraphs. It’s a straight-up history lesson…that’s exciting right?

The problem here is that “Yi Soon Shin” is actually exciting. It’s a sweeping epic of rebellion, war, bloodshed and even some romance. It’s just not told in an exciting way. The story hits the right beats and has some great action, but when it stops to get to know its characters, they seem like cardboard cutouts.

The series posits that Admiral Yi and his ships are the only hope against the “impossibly evil” Japanese. I mean really, the first issue ends with Yi discovering a skinned, dismembered body in the woods. To be fair, this is attributed to one man: Baron Seo, our Villain. I use a capital “V” because Seo is a vicious monster of an antagonist who first appears in the second issue holding a severed head. We don’t spend much time with him, but he leaves quite an impression. Still, I wish we could learn how he became Yi’s nemesis. Maybe in future issue we’ll get a flashback or two? Please? Can haz flashback?

The story of Yi Soon Shin should be told. This just might not be the way to tell it. Remember a few years back when that Beowulf & Grendel movie with Gerard Butler aired on the Sci-Fi Channel? No? Maybe it’s because Robert Zemeckis came out with his 3D CGI version two years later. Well, “Yi Soon Shin” is the former: a good attempt waiting for a better one.

Posted on August 10, 2011 at 09:00 by Lowell Greenblatt · Permalink
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