(1 for $1 special reprint)
Dark Horse Comics (August 2010)
I believe this is the first Dark Horse comic, and not the first ever issue of Usagi Yojimbo.WRITER/ARTIST: Stan Sakai that’s it for credits
In this first issue, Usagi comes to a town where the police captain is corrupt. Here Usagi runs across his old friend, Kitsune, a thief, and her mute accomplice, Noodles. Pressured by the village leader to capture the thief and by the mob to settle his debts by letting them run free, the captain decides to frame Noodles as the thief.
I can’t judge the reputation of a years-long series on one issue. Usagi Yojimbo has been published by five different comics companies over the years and has developed a huge fan following (including one of my namesakes, as I’m not the only “ShadowWing” on the internet). This review is on this issue alone.
What they got right: Although a serious story, Sakai draws the series in what would be considered a cartoonish style, and it works for this comic. This issue at least would qualify as “all-ages”, as there isn’t a lot of gore one would expect from a samurai comic, but that doesn’t mean the whole series qualifies so do you homework before giving it to your kids. Sakai sets up the back story well in a handful of pages, and then gets into the story, Usagi coming across his friend naturally (as these stories go) and giving those of us who don’t read the series the information we most need to follow the story.
What they got wrong: I wish Dark Horse had picked a done-in-one story to showcase the character. The series under Dark Horse is currently in the three-digits, so finding #2 would be rather difficult unless you can find the collected books.
Recommendation: If you’ve been curious about the series, this $1 reprint may not tell you everything, but it might be enough to get an idea about said series.
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