The Cycle of Air is the third arc in the Okko
series with the Water and Earth Cycles coming before it, but donít
let that scare you off if this is your first foray into the world of
Okko as writer, creator and artist Hub has created an accessible and
enjoyable story for first time readers in the Cycle of Air.
Hubís series follows the ronin demon hunter Okko
and his motley band of followers Noburo a half man/half demon,
Noshin a sake loving monk, and a Tikku a one-time fisherman who is
now Noshinís apprentice. They have been summoned by Lady Mayudama,
of the Land of the Divine Winds, to try and heal her daughter but
thatís not all thatís waiting for Okko and his friends.
I recently watched the brilliant film
Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame. Mixing
awesome martial arts action with the investigation of the supposedly
paranormal it had a great story to match its compelling action
sequences. Hubís Okko series is pretty much the comic book
equivalent of Detective Dee.
The Cycle of Air
displays the investigative nature of the series at the beginning as
Okko and the Noshin seek to expel a pesky demon before moving on to
pure awesome Samurai-action later on. Hub blends the two together
well so the series contains an interesting story that is also filled
with action so the reader is never bored, their attention grabbed
for the whole 100+ pages.
Hub also peppers his story with engaging and well
written support characters. Whether it is the story telling healer
or the wise old noodle cart vendor to the two Samurai out for Okko
and his friends the book is filled with good thought out characters
who make an impression even in small roles. A lot of this is to do
with the dialogue, which is quite strong and helps give each
character a bit of personality.
Hubís artwork is simply stunning. The use of a
vibrant color scheme and incredible detail makes it a book you just
want to sit and look at for a while. Things like the grass and the
trees look so lifelike and I like the way the flow of the day is
echoed in the book with it becoming lighter or darker as it goes on.
Hub gets a lot of detail in expressions and each character looks
unique, with some of them almost having a Samurai Jack sort
of look. Probably the only problem with the art is thereís sometimes
too much of it. Each page is filled to the brim with panels, in
different shapes, sizes and layouts and while the variety is good it
can sometimes be overwhelming and it would have been nice to let
some panels be bigger. The action was generally really well done, it
was fast, exciting and felt authentic but occasionally it looked
like someone had been cut or punched yet in fact they had dodged it.
Simply put Okko: The Cycle of Air is a hardcover
collection you need to buy. The story is interesting and contains
variety (not just action) while Hubís artwork is some of the best
around. Each page just leaps off the page at you and the bright
color scheme demands your attention.