Story: Kennedy Xu
Writer: Colin Johnson
Artist/Covers: Ken Chou
Daomu is an intense horror/adventure series that was originally produced as a Chinese series by Kennedy Xu. The series was then brought to an American audience by Image Comics and ran for 8 issues before it was cancelled. The 8th issue provided no closure however, and just teased that issue 9 would be released (and with an awesome cover). The series was recently picked up by Magnetic Press, who is going to collect the 8 issues in a really nice hardcover for the first time as well as give it a much deserved conclusion by including the previously unreleased issue 9.
I'll keep the spoilers to a minimum. The series is centered around Sean Wu. While catching up with his estranged father, a mysterious figure arrived and started to shoot up the restaurant they were in. Sean's father got shot, and while he was dying gave Sean a key to a black coffin. Upon finding the black coffin, Sean discovered the body of a creature that is clearly not human, his Uncle Tsai finds him and brings him up to speed on the families unique and secretive tomb robbing business and those who assist them. This organization, known as the Daomu is tasked with discovering the unknown, and exploring the darkest and most frightening corners of the world.
In order to be initiated into this exclusive club, Sean must take a team of Daomu into a crypt and steal a specific skull, which is the first of a few crypt adventures that Sean goes on in this series. There is danger around every corner, as every tomb is stuffed with traps, mysterious predators known as Ghost Hunters, a rival tomb robbing group (the Coral Corporation) who has questionable motives with the artifacts they find, and, of course, monsters. Kennedy Xu and Colin Johnson do a great job of chronicling these adventures as well as cultivating character growth in Sean, providing an eerie story and a character you see react every step of the way.
The art is a quality companion to this story. Whether above or below the ground, Ken Chou chooses his light sources very carefully. Many times this adds an extreme sense of claustrophobia and seclusion, providing backgrounds that could easily have danger lurking in them. Everyone is drawn to be very serious and focused, as the situation calls for. There isn't a huge range of emotions, however when the characters become frightened it is very apparent how real the threat is. The monsters are what really shine, as each one has a little something that we have seen before, but with a new twist that makes them all demented and fearsome entities. Chou gets massive kudos for the gorgeous cover art as well.
This series sucked me in immediately after I picked up the 0 issue on Free Comic Book Day a few years ago. With mystery ringing through the entire series and the curiosity about what the characters will run into next, it isn't hard to find this title captivating. If you like following a main character from the very beginning of a journey and seeing how he grows then check this out. I will also recommend this to anyone who is curious about the "hidden world", the unfound secrets of the planet. These issues can be found for pretty cheap and have incredible covers, but I would recommend getting the full hardcover (available at http://www.magnetic-press.com/daomu/ soon) so you can have the complete story, as well as give the creative team it's much deserved due.
Below are all of the covers for issues 1-8 as well as the teaser for 9. Thanks for reading folks!