DC is rolling out their latest slate of additions to the New 52 and most of them have ties to the upcoming Justice League of America title. The first one we’ve gotten our hands stars a character that is a favorite of mine, Katana.
What I love about this character is most others in the DCU perceive her as an unstable crazy person and sometimes as the reader you’re not even sure if she’s all there. Writer Ann Nocenti lays the ground work for this early on in the series, but still doesn’t make it clear if Tatsu is in complete control of what is going on. What she does do is present a strong and likable female character that isn’t defined by her sexuality or appearance, but how she speaks and acts. You can’t say the same thing for a lot of the female characters in the new DCU.
I love it when Marvel or DC publish something unexpected and Katana is just that. Yes, she’s one of their more prominent female characters, but this is really unlike any of their other superhero comics. A character that has no qualms about killing, talks to her magic sword/dead husband, and fights ninjas on a regular basis. Sound like any other DC comic to you? Didn’t think so. While all these things do happen, you’re invested in the story because of the character, you just accept the over-the-top action and magic because the story is very personal and somewhat relatable. Nocenti hasn’t lost her touch with writing in the least.
Artist Alex Sanchez presents a style that I really wasn’t expecting based on the cover and the publisher. The images have a hyper-shaded and soft glow to them, which is something I think you’re more likely to find in an independent comic than something from one of the big two, but this isn’t a bad thing. New art styles are always a good addition to the mainstream and Sanchez does great work. The panels aren’t over-crowded or too busy, there’s just enough details in the panel to get the story across and he’s not trying to send your brain into overload. It’s simple and it works.
Katana #1 is as good an introduction to the character as you’re going to get. Those unfamiliar with her that have interest, or are simply looking to mix up their pull list, should really consider checking it out. There aren’t a lot of comics out there that prominently feature ninjas and Katana is changing that.
Rating: 8 / 10