[Comic Book Review] AWA Studios’ AMERICAN RONIN #1

PopCultHQ received an advance review copy of AMERICAN RONIN #1 from AWA Studios. Available Wednesday, October 7th, the creative team for this issue features writing from Peter Milligan, art from ACO, colors by Dean White, and lettering from Sal Cipriano.

Here’s PopCultHQ’s spoiler-free review of…

American Ronin #1 - Cover A
American Ronin #1 – Cover A

AMERICAN RONIN #1

Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: ACO
Colorist: Dean White
Letterer: Sal Cipriano

Cover Artists:
Cover A (Main): ACO
Cover B (Variant): Mike Deodato Jr.

In Shops: October 7, 2020

War is over, democracy an illusion, real power now lies not with nation states but huge corporations engaged in a silent war for global domination. Their number one weapon: highly-skilled, technologically-enhanced operatives trained since childhood to pledge their allegiance to the corporate flag. But what happens when one such operative breaks free of his mental chains and decides to bring the whole system down? Can one “Ronin” make a difference?

American Ronin #1 - Cover B
American Ronin #1 – Cover B

PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
AMERICAN RONIN #1

Wow. From the very first page, you are immediately hit with a visual spectacle bursting with detail and alluring colors. The layout also catches the eye, subconsciously telling the reader they can expect a multifaceted delivery of visual storytelling. And boy, do we get it! It’s intensity in ten cities. It’s everything you could hope for in a medium such as this.

AWA Studios has been making an impact with their titles and AMERICAN RONIN further solidifies them as a publisher that can deliver top-notch material on the regular. The story is exciting and will grab you, the teamwork of artist and colorist is so cohesive with interiors quite pleasing to the eyes, and lettering which really hits you with the narrative and brings everything altogether nicely. You might even say there’s a harmony among the creative team. Give it a read, you’ll be glad you did and you’ll understand exactly what I mean.

Writing: Just brilliant. That’s the best way to put it. Writer Peter Milligan just showed me some next-level, psychological mindf**** of a story that still has me mesmerized. There are so many layers to the complexity of this Ronin and what drives him that it’s impossible not to become entirely engrossed with the narrative. Milligan has laid out the groundwork for an incredibly compelling adventure, a fully-loaded arsenal of intrigue, and a look at the shadiness of powerful corporations and those who run them. As impactful as this first issue is, in reading Peter’s narration and dialogue you can just tell he has put a lot of work into the magnitude of what is still to come.

Art: ACO’s illustrations had me sprung from the get-go. His attention to detail and expressive form are extremely pleasing to the eyes. The non-traditional panel layouts thought-out by ACO (and Milligan) really give the artist the ability to put his full range of talent on display.

What I found most impressive, and you likely will as well, is ACO’s angles and viewpoints. He provides an incredible amount of depth to not only the primary focus, but the backgrounds, the Hong Kong landscape, the tight alleyways, and the tertiary items in the scenes. The full-on realism felt in this story is amplified by ACO’s brilliant visuals and his illustrations alone would have me back for issue two.

Colors: Dean White masterfully delivers a stellar performance. The intensity explodes off the pages and grabs you. The softer blues & purples really make for a fantastic backdrop and provide a lot of emotion to the scenes. White provides boldness which adds to the punch of the graphic shots, yet still producing more subdued tones for the Hong Kong cityscape. Dean makes for the perfect compliment in bringing out ACO’s illustrations and I really enjoyed their pairing.

Letters: Sal Cipriano had his hands full with this debut issue. I cannot recall a time I’ve seen as much work from a letterer as I have in this issue. But that’s not a bad thing because Sal takes it like a champ. His methodical placements are never a detraction from the art. His captions give weight to the voice narration for the reader. I also found his sound effects to be quite complimentary of ACO’s linework. If you ever need an example of the importance a talented and experienced letter can provide, look no further than AMERICAN RONIN #1.

AMERICAN RONIN #1 is a beautifully-delivered premiere. An intelligent, cerebral thriller, you get so much jam-packed into this first issue: an engrossing story, stunning visuals, an espionage feel, and high-quality work all around. Put AMERICAN RONIN on your radar and get your pre-orders in now. This is a series you cannot afford to miss!

5 out of 5 stars


Print Edition Buy Now


Writer – Peter Milligan

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Artist – ACO

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Colorist – Dean White

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Letterer – Sal Cipriano

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Publisher – AWA Studios
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About Jason Bennett 6481 Articles
Jason Bennett is PopCultHQ's chief editor, a contributing writer, and comic book reviewer/reporter. One with the Force. Browncoats Unite! So say we all! Follow Jason on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @TahoeJBennett

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