Iron Style is an anthology style comic book from Australia with a focus on Manga or Shonen styled stories. I was sent the first issue from publisher Ashcan Comics and told a little about the company in the process to which you can check out their website for more information. The anthology is about 75 pages split between four stories, each obviously by a different set of creators.
The first story “Path of the Slayer” is definitely the most Manga influenced in terms of art style and even story structure. The opening shows an epic battle in a cathedral between what looks like angels and a woman that’s wiping the floor with them. After the battle continues for a few pages it jumps twelve years in the past showing the same woman acting as a mere house servant. We’re introduced to other characters including a young Master Jed who is a Slayer. The story isn’t bad, but it’s clear that this is an epic tale that will span many chapters. I don’t think it was the strongest story to open the book with considering it essentially starts at the end of the story and then starts over. Once I got to the actual character introductions I liked it, but my initial thoughts were, “What’s happening in this story?” The art style was very good and I loved the usage of grey scale as it gave it a pure manga look. I’m looking forward to checking out more for sure.
The next tale, “Super Actions Team XD” had to be one of the coolest and funniest stories of the book. The story follows Lantern Jack as he’s tracking the spirit trail of someone named Kodo, he and his floating jack o'lantern head come across some robots and a fight breaks out. During the fight a man with a dog mask shows up and steals the info that Jack was looking for and takes off. What was really enjoyable about this story was the RPG style self-awareness that it had. When Jack begins to fight it shows his level, abilities and his weaknesses and immunities; it’s very cool, but what is cooler is that everyone in the world is aware of their level. The story was a fun romp and all the video game references were cool and not overbearing. I really enjoyed the detailed and gritty art style as well.
The third story, “Die, die, die” is essentially about a band traveling in a post-apocalyptic world playing gigs and kicking ass. They’re attacked and forced to stop off at a mall in order to get new equipment and things go wrong of course. I don’t think this particular story was for me; sure I liked the vibe of the world, but it was a bit too transparent with its format and structure. I got the feeling that I had read the story somewhere before, which doesn’t mean that it’s bad by any means. I’m sure that it’s a great exposure for others, but I just didn’t take anything new or exciting from it.
The last story was by far the best. It’s called “Money and Vile Means” and follows a group of traders that discover a planet not on the space charts. They decide that instead of reporting it, that’ll begin using it for their own benefit. The problem is their scientist disagrees with the crew’s decision. As they gear up to leave they’re attacked by a strange creature that begins picking them off one by one. The story is pretty obvious, but it’s really well executed and reminded me of something out of the later versions of Twilight Zone or Outer Limits. The art style was also least Manga infused, but it worked incredibly well with the story.
Overall I think it’s a great first issue and captures the Shonen style of comic book that it set out to capture in the first place. The mixture of stories has a bit of everything allowing people to pick their favorites to look forwards to, while still enjoying the rest of the tales. All of the writing is very strong and the art is at a professional level. If you’re interested in the title you may need to wait to purchase it as the publisher is crowdsourcing a campaign to get the book in print. You can help fund it here or stay tuned to their website for more details.
Credit’s in order of the stories
Writers: Kade Morton, Zac Smith-Cameron, JJ McGhie, Kade Morton
Artists: Rachel Foo, Emmanuel Hernaez, Karina E Parks, Daniel Watts
Publisher: Ashcan Comics