The Devil's Red BrideThe Devil’s Red Bride #1

Writer: Sebastian Girner
Artist: John Bivens
Colorist: Iris Monahan
Letterer: Jeff Powell
Designer: Tim Daniel
Publisher: Vault Comics

From the first page, The Devil’s Red Bride #1 delivers exactly what you’d expect from a samurai tale set in 16th century Japan. Epic battle panels filled with blood, a story steeped in history, and a war-torn world with all sides fighting to hold onto their honor. What sets Vault Comics’ “brutal samurai grindhouse epic” apart from other stories in this genre is just how layered and visually impressive the whole experience is.

Written by Sebastian Girner (Shirtless Bear Fighter, Scales & Scoundrels) and illustrated by John Bivens (Cult Classic: Creature Feature, The Spread), Iris Monahan is on colors and letters are by Jeff Powell. Tim Daniel handles designs, and Daniel along with Nathan Gooden, offers variant covers.

Girner’s plot delivers multiple levels of quality storytelling. On the surface, you find a straightforward narrative about feudal Japan and a clan affected by the war raging around them. Vengeance and honor go hand-in-hand, and there is a solid historical foundation on which the plot securely sits. The story goes much deeper, however, and from the first issue, you can feel the twists and turns coming in subsequent installments. Even though Girner isn’t necessarily going for horror, an unsettling vibe is felt through every page, making the experience even more impactful.

Bivens’ art is incredible in this book. While I’ve enjoyed his pages in other stories, there is something so raw and visceral here that made it impossible to put down. Coupled with Monahan’s gritty, blood-tinged palette and the right choices in Powell’s lettering, the visuals perfectly bring Girner’s story to life.

The Devil’s Red Bride #1 is scheduled to hit stores this week on Wednesday, October 14. It is definitely worth a first look.