REVIEW: 'Hitomi' #4 by H.S. Tak, Isabella Mazzanti, and Valentina Napolitano


Writer: H.S. Tak

Artist: Isabella Mazzanti, Valentina Napolitano

Layouts: Nicoletta Bea

Letters: Rob Jones

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: January 25, 2023

Cover Price: $3.99

The time of war has come to the land. Hitomi spurns Yasuke's warnings and joins a military campaign, hoping to make a name for herself. To Yasuke's dismay, she does...


★★★★1/2 (4.5/5)

I'm a sucker for the mentor-and-apprentice dynamic of fictional storytelling. Comics especially has mined this trope with great results in the form of superheroes and sidekicks. 'Hitomi' by  H.S. Tak, Isabella Mazzanti, and Valentina Napolitano has its own take on that relationship with its own twists and motivations but it works in a compelling fashion. It works as a fascinating historical drama featuring Yaskuke, a man of African origin who served as a retainer and weapon-bearer to the Japanese daimyƍ, and a determined young woman training to be a superior warrior to avenge the murder of her family. His calm demeanor and her prickly exterior make for some interesting conflicts in personality and that dynamic comes into play when Hitomi decides to join the war effort as he contemplates returning home. 

I've noted how involving the series has been in previous reviews but 'Hitomi' really does suck in the reader and you're just invested in the two leads and their adventures together. So much original work is created with the purpose of being adapted in some way and it can feel like a pitch to some corporate media company somewhere. That's not what's happening here but it does feel like 'Hitomi' could easily be adapted into a prestige live-action streaming series. It's as satisfying and engaging as anything in the zeitgeist. Seeing the two go their separate ways really emphasize where the two are in their journey and how they've formed a bond. Hitomi's plans seem to be going right on schedule as she makes her impact in the military Yasuke has to decide his path forward. Issue four is a consequential development for both characters. It's the type of growth and advancement of the story that makes this series quietly one of the best. 

Isabella Mazzanti and Valentina Napolitano continue to take readers back to feudal Japan with a style and tone that is perfectly suited to the story. The attention to period detail and creative panel designs really add to the dreamy quality of this transportive tale. It's both modernly creative but feels vintage at the same time. 

'Hitomi' has been an utterly entertaining adventure of classic mentor-apprentice tropes that works on every level. It's wild that this is the penultimate issue when this deserves to be an ongoing series. Hitomi and Yasuke have only just begun to scratch the surface of what this unconventional partnership has to bring. Action, drama, and history all in one great package.