REVIEW: Yi Soon Shin – Fallen Avenger

Story: Onrie Kompan
Art: El Arnakleus
Letters: Joel Saavedra
Colors: Adrianna De Los Santos
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: April 8, 2015

I usually like to start my reviews with a little flair, y’know, something to draw readers in; a hook of sorts. Well, I could do that here as well, but it’d feel a little disingenuous to me – not that Yi, both the man and the graphic novel that he’s inspired aren’t worthy of such – it’s just going into reading this, I had no idea what was in store for me. Plus, considering the subject, I think the book really stands on its own merit.

This is the third in a limited edition, completely self-published series, based on real-life Korean admiral Yi Sun-sin; just guessing here, but I think his name was spelled phonetically in the graphic novel to help the uninitiated (raises hand* Hi, my name is Adam) pronounce it properly.

Anyway, despite having no formal training, and prior to the Imjin War, no naval experience, the Admiral managed to go undefeated in at least 23 different maritime engagements with the Japanese. Now, I really don’t care who you are, that is nothing less than amazing.

As for the graphic novel, it’s pretty good, too. It has the feel of a sweeping period epic, but still includes enough action to keep even the casual reader interested. “The Fallen Avenger” series follows the five-part mini that was dedicated to telling the world of Admiral Yi’s military exploits. This run focuses on what happened next, and as the title implies, for Yi, it hasn’t been very flattering. I expect by the end of this, we’ll see more of the avenger and much less of the fallen aspect of the Admiral’s character.Yi_Shoon_Shin_insert

There are some liberties taken with the dialogue, but only in the sense that the exchanges are bit contemporary in tone; everything said is in the spirit of what you’d expect from soldiers and sailors. There is no sugar-coating, or censorship to speak of, so be ready for some mature dysphemisms. The artwork is surprisingly detailed, and well above what one might expect from an indie title. No disrespect to the other indie creators out there, but this book is really in a class by itself.

If you’re interested in Korean and/or Japanese history, give this book a look over at the Yi Soon Shin website, you’ll be glad that you did.

By: A.C.

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