Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Review - Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #1


"I call it Kameyama."

Usagi Yojimbo is one of the fiercest rabbits fighters you'll ever have the privilege of encountering. He's loyal, wise and combat ready, making any stories about him a fantastic read. Dark Horse has another book to enter into that pantheon in Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #1 written and illustrated by Stan Sakai.

Twenty years in his future, Miyamoto Usagi fights as a general for Lord Noriyuki, against the treacherous Lord Hikiji. In the fury of the final battle, a metal rocket crashes to earth—and inside is an enemy that neither side could have ever imagined. Even with Usagi Yojimbo on the front lines, things are a little more than the armies can handle. And don't forge about the rather epic battlefield littered with valiant soldiers fighting for their respective causes.

Usagi Yojimbo is a character that Sakai knows extremely well and it definitely shows in Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #1. The conversations on the battlefield are handled masterfully, with Sakai infusing the players with an abundance of detail and character based on their war time decisions. Some are reluctant to fight amidst the changing technology around them, while others still rush headlong into battle with little to no regard for the consequences. Sakai showcases the elegance and pageantry that can be found amidst the chaos of war in a way that feels enjoyable to read. His dialogue is very clean and straightforward, not bogging the reader down in an excess of words.

Sakai's illustrations are very familiar to fans of his universe. His ability to anthropomorphize animals is among the best and all of his characters exhibit a wide range of facial emotions. Usagi Yojimbo carries his typically stern expression that rarely flinches, even when faced with a charging front. The other characters showcase their predominant personality types as tied to the animals illustrated. The serpent looks like a schemer, the rhino looks aggressive and the panda a battlefield leader. Sakai's illustrations are extremely simple, but they're so effective when it comes to showcasing the action.

Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #1 is another solid entry in Sakai's most famed character. Usagi Yojimbo and the others are faced with a new evil in technology. It's something they've encountered before, but not something they're ready to deal with completely. Sakai's story is very elegant and an enjoyable read, while his illustrations reflect a similar beautiful simplicity. This is a book that fans of Sakai's will not want to miss and even those who aren't familiar with his universe will want to delve into the madness.

Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #1 is in stores now with interiors below.






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