Thursday, May 2, 2013

Review - 47 Ronin #4

Anyone who doesn't respect the samurai code must have problems with things like loyalty, honor and commitment. All three characteristics and more are on full display in 47 Ronin #4 from Dark Horse Comics.

The issue is written by Mike Richardson, illustrated by Stan Sakai, colored by Lovern Kindzierski and lettered by Tom Orzechowski and Lois Buhalis.

Oishi Kuranosuke Yoshio has become something of a useless drunk, staggering from one bar to another brothel, his focus on vengeance no longer important. It's so bad that he even divorces his wife on the street. He shames the samurai code and is left in the mud accordingly, disparaged by others. Someone as revered as Oishi has a few tricks up his sleeves though and demonstrates why he was the Chief Retainer for Asano.

Richardson is deftly handling the comic adaptation of the property elegantly detailing Oishi's "fall from grace." This is the fourth of five issues and could be viewed as the most important in the series and Richardson ensures that things keep moving forward. Richardson maintains a constant infusion of the samurai code and that fuels the book, dictating the actions of all the characters. It's a book that feels true to history and that really helps the authenticity.

Sakai's art is gorgeous. There are some panels that showcase character faces in various emotional states. These panels really help accent the undercurrents of the story, showing characters masking their pain. $7 Ronin is a somewhat painful tale, but Oishi is the driving force behind attempting to avenge his master and Sakai does a great job driving that emotion home.

To put it simply, this is a great series and the fourth issue proves why. It keeps everything moving along at a very even pace and proves Oishi is still determined to seek his revenge. He suffers in all facets of his life to do so, but he maintains a stout loyalty to his cause. The fifth issue is shaping up to be a great end to the series, but until then, make sure you get maximum enjoyment from the fourth issue.

47 Ronin #4 is in stores May 1.

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