REVIEW: USAGI YOJIMBO #1 – The Ronin Rabbit Is Back In Full-Color Glory

FIRST IMPRESSION

If you love comics, you owe it to yourself to check out Usagi Yojimbo #1 from IDW. This is a classic property being given a fantastic new launch. Having a monthly Usagi book is a gift, so take advantage and follow the rabbit!
Story
Art
Colors
Letters
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Stan Sakai brings his beloved rabbit ronin Usagi Yojimbo to IDW with a brand new full-color series. Colored by Tom Luth (Groo: The Wanderer) USAGI YOJIMBO #1 starts an epic new chapter the ongoing adventures of Usagi.

Miyamoto Usagi wanders Edo period Japan on his warrior’s journey. In the start of this three-part story, Usagi becomes embroiled in a puppet drama where the players are not quite what they seem!Usagi Yojimbo

Usagi Yojimbo #1
‘Bunraku’ part 1
Written by: Stan Sakai
Art by: Stan Sakai
Colors by: Tom Luth
Letters by: Stan Sakai

Story

Usagi Yojimbo has always been a deceptively ‘simple’ concept; a samurai rabbit. It’s the kind of ‘funny book’ idea that has been rooted in comics since the newspaper strip days. What Sakai has always done, though, is execute his idea with such care and attention to detail (throwing in LOADS of history, mythology and a growing cast of recurring characters) that an entire world has been created over the years. And it’s such a rich world, that it’s easy to drop in and out, catching glimpses through the eyes of Usagi. That’s what the best Usagi stories have always done, and “Bunraku” continues that tradition. “Bunraku” re-introduces readers to Sasuke, a supporting player and demon fighter with a mysterious past. It also touches on Japanese puppet drama, the titular Bunraku. Both of these build enough plot points and narrative momentum to get a solid story started. It’s a great introduction for new readers and a welcome return for long-time fans. There’s plenty of action, demons and monsters too.Usagi Yojimbo

Art

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Stan Sakai’s art has always been phenomenal. His care for the craft is evident in everything from the line work to the lettering (Fun fact: Sakai lettered the Spider-Man newspaper strip for years). He is able to capture the true emotion in the faces too, which is not always easy with anthropomorphic characters that can easily slide into parody. “Bunraku” is no different, and when you add in the vibrant colors of Tom Luth, you get a comic book the pops off the page. This is classic, elegant and effective sequential art. It truly understands the language and narrative nature of comics.

Conclusion

If you love comics, you owe it to yourself to check out Usagi Yojimbo #1 from IDW. This is a classic property being given a fantastic new launch. Having a monthly Usagi book is a gift, so take advantage and follow the rabbit! Find it at your local comic book shop.

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Manuel Gomez
Assistant Comic Book Editor. Manny has been obsessed with comics since childhood. He feels every New Comic Book Day is a holiday. He also probably plays way too much Magic: The Gathering.

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