David Mack's KABUKI is one of the few books that I've been able to captivate attentions merely by opening it and placing it down on a table in front of people. This action is inevitably followed by oooohs and aaaahs and gaping mouths as one-by-one the observers are sucked into Mack's seductive art. Many before me have coined KABUKI as poetic and I can roll with that, maybe in an early Peter Weir kind of way, with a little Luc Besson thrown in for good measure.
Ultimately, CIRCLE OF BLOOD is a revenge tale set against the backdrop of a near-futuristic Japanese underworld. The titular Kabuki is a deadly assassin whose face was hideously scared as a young girl and has been transformed into an operative for a shadowy anti-crime organization known as the Noh. But when the man who scarred her resurfaces, her past is resurrected and her loyalties and identity are put to task - assuming she can pick-up the pieces of her shattered psyche.
CIRCLE OF BLOOD is the most linear of Mack's KABUKI stories, which become increasingly less plot-centric as the series evolves beyond the action/crime machinations of this first volume. So it's appropriate that the art here is Mack at his most traditional, working in black-and-white pencil and ink versus the acrylic paint that he's become famous for. Although there's really nothing traditional about the art or the page compositions as Mack throws aside typical conventions to produce a truly distinct and original aesthetic.
Just one final caution about showing KABUKI to others - don't expect to walk home with it once you do.
Peter Aaron Rose is a writer, producer and technologist who lives and works in San Francisco, CA. Under the pseudonym "Peter Siegel", he recently authored Killing Demons, a graphic novel available from Engine Press and Platinum Studios.