Created by: Michael Benaroya and Owen Wiseman
Script by: Owen Wiseman
Art by: Nam Kim (pencils), Matthew Dalton (inks) and Jo Chen (cover)
Colours by: Sakti Yuwono
Letters by: Josh Aitken
Published by: Image
The previous issue saw the kidnapping of Mayuko, but also her discovery by her brother Jun at the end of the issue. However, a lot of time elapsed between kidnapping and discovery, which is why this issue flashes back to show what happened to Mayuko during this period, as we already know what Jun and Katashi were doing.
So far I have been quite critical of the way Jun and Katashi have acted and this issue only further cements the fact that Mayuko is the most honourable, intelligent and the bravest of the three main characters. Seeing this character go through the horrible ordeal of essentially being trained to go into forced prostitution is very sad, but the characters unyielding determination to not submit, while others crumble around her, is by far the best plot thread of this series to date.
The best writing also comes from Mayuko’s ideas about suffering and the different struggles that men and women must endure, and this is just one of the many interesting examples;
“The world is crueller to women, men at least have the satisfaction of sliding steel into occasional flesh. Many a woman has sat for a day or a lifetime at the side of her most hated enemy without daring so much as an unkind word, not for fear of her enemy, but for fear of the world. Perhaps suffering cannot touch her, but neither can she lay hand to suffering”.
The art is also excellent; managing to get all the required emotion across, from sadness and fear, to strength and determination. The people in control of, and the men who want to abuse the women are suitably grotesque, while the women themselves are drawn and made up in such a way as to be heartbreakingly beautiful.
This is by far the best issue of the series so far; I’ve said everything that needs to be said.