Peach Momoko’s epic adventure blending Marvel characters and Japanese folktales continues this week with the second one-shot chapter Demon Wars: Shield of Justice. Playing off Marvel’s Civil War event, a fight is brewing between the yokai, and standing at the center of it all is the main character Mariko Yashida. Continuing the story started in Demon Wars: The Iron Samurai, Momoko, co-scripter Zack Davisson, and letterer Ariana Maher reveal a conflict is brewing.
Demon Wars: Shield of Justice opens with Mariko noticing portals opening in doorways. Forgetting her previous adventures, she thinks she’s losing it, but soon she’s in the other world and realizing the truth. Once the fantasy realm kicks into gear, it’s fun to see all the Marvel versions of yokai, a class of supernatural entities and spirits in Japanese folklore. Momoko’s imaginative blend of folktales and heroes is a fun concept that continues here. Plus, if you’re unfamiliar with the spirits she’s adapting, we get some great background in the back matter, adding value to the overall read.
As far as the story, there is a Captain America character that seems to be the main villain facing off against heroes like Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Iron Man. Something is going on corrupting people, it seems, and is not themselves. Expect some Symbiote connections, as we’ve seen in the past, popping up. I can’t say the Civil War connection is obvious beyond Cap and Iron Man facing off, but I’m still here for the cool new iterations of Marvel mainstays.
The dialogue keeps the plot moving nicely, sometimes doing some heavy lifting to get critical details across to the reader. As someone who has read every issue of Momoko’s epic, I still have to refer back to character names. Still, in general, the dialogue keeps things relatively easy to follow. Lettering by Maher blends well with the art, never feeling intrusive of Momko’s work. There’s a beauty to how Maher’s word balloons flow into each other.
The most remarkable aspect of this issue is how the real world and the fantasy world meet from Mariko’s perspective. The gateways Mariko sees are unreal, masterfully crafted by Momoko. This issue has a good bookend feel thanks to these connections between the natural world and the fantasy world. There’s a whimsical nature to the rendering of the world that’s also unmistakable. An endearing quality persists, be it the simple yet compelling character design or how the trees envelop a character in a panel. You can easily see this world translating into animation.
The plot thickens in Demon Wars: Shield of Justice, which continues to show the fantasy realm and the real world are bleeding into each other for Mariko. If you’ve enjoyed this epic blend of heroes and folktales, along with Momoko’s endearing art, you’ll love the next chapter. There’s no mistaking it: Peach Momoko is a visionary.
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