Kabuki Library Edition Volume 4
Written by David Mack
Art by David Mack (with Rick Mays)
Cover by David Mack
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: November 2, 2016
Cover Price: $39.99
There are an amazing quantity of folks that I appreciate for one reason or another. Some are writers, others are artists, and even a few are activists. But no one person covers the full range like David Mack. I have been a fan ever since I first discovered his Kabuki comics when they were being published by Caliber Press back in the nineties. Many publishers and opuses later, Mack has become one of the most prolific of all comicdom’s creators. With his latest release, Kabuki Library Edition Volume 4, he concludes his large, heavy bound editions of his iconic characters and their tales.
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Never one to skimp on his works, Mack has presented his readers with a massive tome that concludes the collecting of the series in oversized, heavy bound library editions. Not only has he managed to produce some stupendous editions but it’s all being done to help celebrate twenty years of Kabuki. Composed of over four hundred pages, this edition collects the story arcs of Kabuki: Masks of the Noh and Scarab: Lost in Translation. Also included are dozens of the original covers, annotations of different pages and stories, plus a vast array of character designs, scripts, and random artwork.
In the first section, Kabuki: Masks of the Noh, Mack takes an entirely different approach to storytelling and artistry. Utilizing each of the other agents in a first-person perspective, he tells the tale through their thoughts and we see through their eyes. Building upon that concept, he employs a different artist for each of the characters in order to give them a sense of uniqueness and individuality. As the spotlight hits them each in turn, we are given a deeper understanding of each of them and their specific part in this all. Every time Kabuki was shown, though, it was Mack’s art that we saw. This was a tremendous undertaking especially for a relatively young creator but it worked out perfectly. It feels seamless and looks spectacular. This story contains all four issues of the comic mini-series of the same name.
Expanding on what he did in the prior story, Mack goes one step further by building an eight-issue run around a character other than Kabuki. Scarab: Lost in Translation deals heavily with how Scarab became who she is in The Noh. The events and people who shaped her prior to becoming an assassin give the reader a deep dive into her persona, something that a first felt odd but later transitions into near perfection on the page. Notable here is that for the entire Scarab run, Rick Mays handles the art just as he did with the Scarab character in the previous story. His use of the same shading techniques and bold depths convey a sense of uniformity with Mack’s work without losing the distinction that he brings to the comic. While not everyone loved this mini-series they way I did when it was released, I can wholeheartedly say it provided more depth to the franchise and allowed Mack to shine strictly through his writing which is second to none.
The art. For me, it’s all about the art. Whether it’s his amazing layered watercolors or his mixed media masterpieces, Mack just oozes talent. He’s been recognized by his peers as a titan in the comics world, never failing to live up to his reputation. For the rest of us, he is a New York Times Bestselling Author and master creator. I have to say he’s also one of the most attentive people in the world of comics. Virtually every time I post on Facebook or Twitter with a reference to him or his work, he either shares or responds. How cool is that?
This book is loaded with goodies, just as the first three volumes. With over seventy pages of extras that include sketches, fan art from other artists, detailed scripts and storyboards, you won’t be disappointed with this in any way. Perfect for the fan to complete his collection or as a starting point to read what is arguably one of the greatest modern comics around, I consider this a must have. Yes, even though I own the original issues, it’s worth it just for the extras. Chew on that one, why don’t you. It’s available today and you owe it to yourself to grab a copy.