Last week I read Infinite Kung Fu, which was an excellent kung fu adventure story. I enjoyed it so much that I decided I needed more kung fu! But where to get it? Then I remembered I had taken advantage of the Weekly Whiz Bang a couple of weeks back and picked up THE PATH #1-10 written by Ron Marz, issues 1-4, 6-7, 10 illustrated by Bart Sears, #9 illustrated by Matt Smith, inks 1-4, 6-10 by Mark Pennington, #5 illustrated/inked by Walter Simonson, published by Crossgen, It doesn’t get much more kung fu than a samurai story.
Obo-san’s brother is dead. And with his death Obo-san gained control of a weapon with incredible power. Obo-san will only use the weapon to battle the Gods whom he believes are responsible for his brother’s death. The Emperor wants the weapon to crush the neighboring kingdom and expand the empire. Obo-san flees with an entire army chasing him. All the while, it appears the Emperor is quite mad, and the neighboring kingdom can’t help but think that with the army gone it’s the perfect time for an invasion.
To start, Sears’ art is just stellar. He changed his style slightly and it’s incredible. This is what they call a ‘peak’ because it’s some of the best he’s ever done. Actually, the art in the entire series is just great. Simonson turned in a fantastic issue that isn’t as strongly Simonson as you would expect. It’s almost like he softened his lines for the one issue and it’s really fun to see. Matt Smith’s style is similar enough, and Pennington’s inks help too, so that you’re not immediately aware that Sears isn’t on issue 9. Overall, the art in the entire series is just great.