Jikan Chronicles Book 3
Published by Paragon Comics
84 Pages – paperback
available from Lulu.com – £5.00
Edited by Dave Candlish
Cover Art: Dave Candlish
Jikan was created by Dave Candlish
Genre – Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror
Jikan is a time travelling Ronin from Fuedal Japan. He travels from place to place fighting demons, most often arriving where he is needed rather than where he might want to go. Think Doctor Who of it as if Akira Kurosawa had made it, perhaps. His main intent is to destroy the Demon Queen, Shimasu.
These stories are reprints from the regular editions or annuals of the anthology Paragon. There are stories from three writers in this volume, so I guess that’s more Doctor Who than Akira Kurosawa. (I’ve used the Dr Who/Kurosawa comparison before but it is a good one). These are all regular writers for Paragon and write for other small press publishers.
Similarly there are a number of artists involved and they too can be seen in a number of publications. Matt Soffe and Neil McClements were recently in To End all Wars from Soaring Penguin.
The styles of writing vary from tale to tale, you’d expect this with different writers obviously. but Jikan’s motivation is always the same. He is still grieving the loss of his wife (there was a big reveal regarding this in the latest issue of Paragon) and he is intent on slaying as many Demons as possible.
There is a ‘story so far’ introduction that will assist new readers.
I’ll give a few brief comments on each story and sum up my thoughts of the book after describing the contents.
Cold as Ice
Script: Dirk van Dom
Pencils: Tom Newell
Inks & Letters: Jim Campbell
Appearing in a blizzard in a snow covered landscape Jikan finds himself in an un-dated setting, perhaps late 20th or early 21st century. A military team excavating a tunnel under the ice unearthed more than they were expecting.
A fast paced story with an intriguing ending. The snowscape and military complex give a varied setting the art is simple but shows some good motion and deals with a difficult landscape well.
Script: Dirk van Dom
Art: Mike Kennedy (pt1) James Corcoran, Dave Snell, Matt Soffe
Ken Reynolds (pt2)
Jikan finds himself in the ocean, with a ship nearby. Clambering aboard he finds it full of passengers beyond expectation and he decides to hide and rest. Demons however intervene to bring devastation and destruction unto the Titanic.
The art styles are quite different between the two parts. I didn’t find it distracting but I had noticed it was a two part story before I started reading, not simply because of the ‘part 1’ on the title page of the first part but also because I always skim through an anthology before I read it, to get a feel of it. So I noticed the change of style ahead of reading.
Script: Mark Howard
Art: Ross Bamfylde (pt1), Dave Metcalfe-Carr (pt2), El Chivo (pt3)
Letters: Ken Reynolds (pt1&3), Dave Metcalfe-Carr (pt2)
based on an original story by Chris Cronin
Jikan finds himself in the future, beyond our time. He re-meets Professor Mane and Thorvald, a Viking who is also cursed to travel through time fighting Demons. The presence of two such men causes something to happen that is new to them since they were cursed.
Another multi-part story with different artists on each part, again I knew in advance due to my skimming. Interesting though the styles differ I think readers will find the transition from part 2 to part 3 reasonably smooth. Importantly the chapter breaks in the action are very clear which helps in the transitions.
Last Day on Earth
Script: Mark Howard
Art: El Chivo
Weary of battle against more foes than he has faced in other time periods Jikan can feel his strength failing. A young boy and his dog looking for herbs in the forest come to his aid.
A cliff hanger ending to the chronicles and an interesting guest appearance or two in this story.
Hansel & Gretel
A text story with Jikan involved in a version of the well known fairy tale.
Art: Neil McClements
This is a story that is currently outside the Chronicles as it is an unfinished tale. Jikan finds himself in fuedal Japan in 1192, his own time and his own country. He is however severely wounded and in serious need of assistance.
This first part of an unfinished story is notably free of violence. That in itself intrigues me greatly as to what direction the rest of the story would have taken.
The Chronicles are as I said the work of several creators so this does indeed feel like an anthology in many ways despite the single main character throughout. However given the overarching concept of Jikan this works. The character of Jikan is consistent between the stories as is his concern for innocents and his motivations.
The variety of the stories that make up the Chronicles works well for me. The varying paces and settings keep interest and of course also allow a reader to step away and return.
I’ve mentioned the differing art styles on the multi-part stories. I assume this is due to a mix of reasons, mostly the fact that art takes time and small press artists tend to have a ‘day job’. Personally I don’t find it off putting but I know some readers do. There are other readers though who may find it interesting to see varying styles and have no concern at all in the difference.
A satisfying read and the cliffhanger ending certainly left me wanting more, as did the final story in the ‘Extras’.