James Stokoe is one of the most reliable comic-book creators when it comes to delivering pure awe. As a writer/artist/colorist/letterer, he is fully tapped in to all of the elements that make this medium magical, and his work is all about going to extremes, whether it’s the detail in his linework, the expression of his character, of the energy of his action. After spending a few years working on licensed books like Aliens: Dead Orbit and the occasional superhero short story, Stokoe made a triumphant return to creator-owned comics with last year’s Sobek, one of our best comics of 2019 and a multiple Eisner Award nominee. And he’s continuing on the creator-owned path with Dark Horse Comics’ Orphan And The Five Beasts (on sale March 17), his love letter to the thrilling adventures and rich worlds of Hong Kong action films.
A kung-fu epic following an adopted warrior on a quest for revenge, Orphan And The Five Beasts gives Stokoe the opportunity to let loose. The A.V. Club has an exclusive look at the miniseries’ four covers, which connect to form one jaw-dropping tableau of explosive violence and eye-catching character designs with a splash of psychedelia. There’s a fun story unfolding over the course of these covers, which start with more traditional kung-fu visuals before going into the really weird shit like a killer chef standing on the edge of a bowl of soup, surrounded by dismembered arms. Given how dynamic this static image is, readers are in for a real treat with this book’s fight sequences, and the kung-fu influence should take his action skills to even greater heights.