The GeeksverseUsagi Yojimbo #138

Usagi Yojimbo #138
Published on Thursday, June 23, 2011 by

Sword swinging fun from the furry fighter that everyone loves and more people should be reading. Usagi Yojimbo #138 is a continuation of the ongoing Asian sword and sandal created, written, and illustrated by Stan Sakai.

Once a loyal retainer until his lord’s death in battle, Usagi is a warrior on a pilgrimage looking for a purpose and harmony. Along the way he has confrontations with the Red Scorpion Gang and other adventures where his skill and his inner being are tested. Issue # 138 is the third part of “Those Who Tread on the Scorpion’s Tail.”

The story opens with Ishi wanting to test his skill against Usagi in a less than friendly competition of swords. Ishi is trying to save the reputation of the school, with himself as the head, although he is not concerned with the deaths that the school has caused. Sword master of the school, Suzuki, echoes the same sentiments later in the book as he faces another opponent. His perspective on reputation seems skewed. As always our rabbit ronin fight for honor with honor. Honor and reputation should not be so easily confused.

Also per usual Stan Sakai draws black and white comics well. His characters are distinct with purposeful movements from frame to frame. The background and the characters are not skimpily detailed. Sakai has been drawing these characters for a long time and is truly a master with the pen.

Perhaps it is because I grew up on Adam West era Batman, or because I’m a huge fan of Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon, but I have found myself paying close attention to sound effects recently. Larsen uses crazy letter combination to capture sounds in the readers minds. Saka uses some nice zwitt, spolok, slat, slplot, split, flip and other fun sound words. Sakai is more subtle with the inclusion of the sounds, but they are equally well placed.

Jumping into the third part of this story arc cuts to the heart of the action and betrayal. Everything necessary is explained well enough for new readers to follow along, although picking up the last two issues would still be advisable.

After all of the years, this black and white epic is still unique on the comic shop shelves. This is more historically based than the Ninja Turtles, grittier than Darkwing Duck, and just plain more fun than most comics on the shelves today.

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