The tranquil world of 14th century Japan just got a whole lot bigger in every conceivable way thanks to Honor and Curse #3. Picking up after issue #2’s killer cliffhanger this issue still maintains the series kickass action but also does an impressive amount of world-building to expand more on its mysterious themes. What is the spirit that possesses Genshi? Where do Nishiro’s allegiances lie? How will Genshi survive? All of that and more are answered in Honor and Curse #3.
Honor and Curse #3 is once again written by Mark London with artwork from Nicolas Salamanca, Tekino and, Miguel Angel Zapata and picks up straight after issue #2’s shocking conclusion. Genshi isn’t down for the count just yet and with a little help from the Tengu, a spirit that is possessing Genshi he gets back up and goes full-on Beast mode! It’s not quite enough to defeat Lady Yua who has her own Tengu spirit and can control it far better than Genshi. This is easily the best battle of the entire series so far, not only from an artwork perspective but also from a storytelling one. We are finally introduced to and learn more about these spirits through the fight as if it wasn’t gripping enough. The clashing of red and blue looked stunning as did the action itself. Talk about an opening.
The second half of the issue then takes a much slower pace, and this is truly where the world building starts. Nishiro, Genshi’s master, not only rescues his apprentice but then goes onto explain the origin and power of the Tengu spirit. This was really interesting and is why this entire issue had a fantasy storybook feel to it. It was nice to sit back for a while and relax a little after all the intense action and drama of the last two issues. After such an interesting introduction I am very excited to learn more about the Tengu in later issues.
Genshi and Akemi’s relationship is expanded on ever so slightly here and serves as a nice bit of comic relief when she turns to Genshi’s old pal Amano to try and find out where he is. They were both a little absent from this issue which is perfectly fine considering it spends the majority of its time with Genshi and Nishiro but I hope to see more of them in the future.
Honor and Curse issue #3 was a really fun ride for two completely different reasons. The action-packed opening sucks you straight in but the issue isn’t afraid to sit you down and talk to you. It was nice to learn more about the wider world of Honor and Curse and I hope its a trend we see follow in future issues.
Genshi is yet again the star of the show but his character has changed quite drastically throughout the issue. Now, Genshi and his spirit Tengu almost feel like two sides of the same coin whereas before I was given the impression his spirit was an unwelcome visitor. Not only does it save Genshi’s life but it is also shown to be controllable by lady Yua. Genshi and his Tengu spirt might not be exactly what we expected and that is super interesting. It was also really cool to see Lady Yua and her Tengu spirt battle Genshi and his. She is still as cruel and devious as she was in issue #2 but she too has had her character changed slightly by introducing her Tengu. At one point I even felt kind of bad for her, if only for a short second.
Both characters stole the show and I cannot wait to see more of them and their Spirits.
Like I said Amano and Akemi take a back seat in this issue but it’s nice to see both of them pop up. Amano is still good for some comic relief and Akemi’s distress for Genshi felt genuine and real. I really want to see more of Amano in future issues, mainly because he’s so likable but for now I’m happy for him to take a back seat in favor of Genshi’s own journey.
Lord Haruki, Akemi’s father has, up to now been more of a puppet master villain. Controlling things from behind the scenes and pulling the strings. He’s a villain you love to hate but not in the same way as someone like Lady Yua. That all changed in issue #3 when he got his hands seriously dirty. Without spoiling the end for readers still catching up, Lord Haruki is not messing around anymore and the possible implications for his daughter Akemi are really interesting. His relationship with his daughter and her lover is something I am very interested to see develop in the future.
Honor and Curse has always looked fantastic and here, it might look the best its ever been. The previous two issues have always peaked when the seriously creepy spirits show up for a cameo but now they’re taking center stage. The battle between Lady Yua and Genshi is easily the coolest battle of the series so far, and thats saying something. The dark setting of issue #2’s end is made only darker when Genshi and Lady Yua go toe to toe. The use of red and blue here is not only really cool but a nice visual aid to remind you who you should be rooting for. Japan is beautifully captured once again in the second half of the issue and serves as a nice change of scenery.
Something I only really picked up on in this issue but has been a staple of the series so far is the way peoples facial expressions are drawn. Without saying a word you can see Akemi’s innocence in her face, Lord Haruki ruthlessness, and Lady Yua overconfidence. The way these characters are drawn adds real weight to the story and all the mystical spiritual fighting that goes with it.
Honor and Curse #3 perfectly pays off what issue #2 set up. The action is intense, the story as a whole improves massively and the world building achieved here is impressive. Genshi is on a different path from Akemi and Amano it feels like, and whilst I’d rather see them all together their separate journies are really interesting to read.
Heres to issue #4 and the continued spiritual mayhem our heroes will no doubt find ourselves in.