Starting Over with a Classic in the USAGI YOJIMBO Volume 1 Review
USAGI YOJIMBO Volume 1
Writer: Stan Sakai
Artist: Stan Sakai
Cover Artist: Stan Sakai
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Pick this op on comiXology
Perfection can come in many forms. A 300 pin game in bowling, a Bullseye in darts, an immaculate inning of baseball (striking out 3 batters with all strikes). But when it comes to comic books, my vote for the “Perfect Comic” goes to Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo, hands down. Reading more like an epic samurai saga, the imagery of Usagi is so amazing you can feel the wind in the air, the blades of grass beneath your feet, and smell the blood of battle.
Along with colorist Tom Luth, Stan Sakai’s art is a highly unique blend of whimsy and unbridled fury. At first glance his art appears to be like a children’s book. Once you start turning the pages, though, you quickly realize that this book is not safe for kids; heads definitely do roll in Sakai’s well detailed fight scenes. While the action scenes satiate the bloodthirsty, Stan Sakai’s art has great range, triggering all kinds of emotions.
The display of range certainly doesn’t end with just the art. The writing aspect of this title is the real money maker here. Each separate tale would leave one to believe that he’s exclusively dedicated to each individual genre. The three part Bunraku story gives you the chills of horror, while The Adachi story is quite humorous. Of all the tales in this volume, my personal favorite is Hero. It’s a great jumping on point for anyone unfamiliar with the Rabbit Samurai, and gives a beautiful, yet unflinching look into the traditions of Feudal Japan.
Simply put, Usagi Yojimbo could easily make an argument as one of the greatest comic book characters ever created, and Stan Sakai can easily be regarded as one of comic’s greatest creators. Usagi Yojimbo Volume 34 (by its original numbering) does a great job of staking both of those claims.
Usagi Yojimbo Volume 1