The Assassin (Arcana)

 ASS8   (Arcana, 2005)

™ and ©2005 Arcana Studio, Inc.

This one shot about a group of journalism students investigating the murders of local business leaders focuses on a Japanese racial angle and plays like an adult version of an after-school television special. The assassin, sort of a post-modern geisha, wears white face make-up and kills people with her hair ornaments.

More complex plot-wise than the average manga and much less melodramatic, The Assassin gets narrative tension from the mismatched band of protagonists and a pair of competing love interests. Rendered in full-color by Vicente Cifu, the strong use of muted reds and purples makes The Assassin a visually pleasant read.

— Leland Burrill

From the Comics Buyer’s Guide:

What will a student do to write a paper for journalism class? When a powerful CEO is murdered in his bed without visible signs of struggle, a class assignment takes Paul Smith and his friends Tiffany, Rico, Jenny, and Art into the heart of a murderer.

Will the Kanzashi Assassin keep killing? With two murders in as many days and an imagined “fling” with Rico, will Maiki’s alibi hold up? Is her sister missing? This story could get very interesting.

Sean O’Reilly and Vincente Cifu have given readers a story with amazing possibilities. A Japanese assassin, a family grudge, and an varied cast of characters provides the framework for an ongoing series.

The manga–style art suits the locale and cast. Paul bears a resemblance to Shaggy without the silliness, but it’s probably the goatee he wears—and Cifu handles the transitions between scenes well.

— Tim Lasiuta

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2 copies available from $1.99
No cover price shown; ca. 2005Sean O’ReillyVicente Cifuentes