Monday, July 24, 2017

Review - TMNT Usagi Yojimbo #1 (@IDWPublishing)


"Get him! He's only one guy!"

Usagi Yojimbo is a legend among both samurai and rabbits. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are a legend among both ninjas and turtles. Group them together as in TMNT Usagi Yojimbo #1 from IDW Comics and you've got plenty of legend to go around. The issue is written and illustrated by Stan Sakai and colored by Tom Luth.

The TMNT are teleported to a world of talking animals-the world of Usagi Yojimbo! When the samarai rabbit embarks on a quest to save Japan and the deadly Jei blocks his path, a Turtle team-up may be the only chance for survival!

Sakai knows how to make a Usagi Yojimbo story work and that knowledge is extremely handy in his approach to TMNT Usagi Yojimbo #1. His script develops naturally, showcasing Usagi's talents before introducing the Turtles into the fold and funneling the entire narrative through Splinter. The true talent of Usagi and the Turtles is their combat prowess and Sakai leans heavily on that to keep the pace of the issue fast. Splinter provides much of the expository dialogue--explaining to the reader the stakes--while the others work in their various takes on the situation. And Jei is made out to be quite a formidable opponent, prompting some pretty epic battles along the way.

Sakai's style is gorgeous in its own way. Usagi's billowing robes follow him through sword-swings, Splinter's face contorts when summoning the Turtles and the Turtles themselves sport lean physiques. Just about every page features a battle, giving Sakai plenty of opportunity to flex his muscles in terms of illustrating gorgeous fight scenes. There are two particularly stunning double-page spreads that showcase all the key players in the throes of combat, emphasizing how gracious they are in combat. And Luth's colors provide an appropriate level of oomph to the book, giving the book a throwback look of sorts.

TMNT Usagi Yojimbo #1 is a fantastic read that pays homage to great characters. Usagi and the Turtles always make for a great team-up and their talents are on full display in the issue. Sakai's script is evenly paced and blends in plenty of action. Sakai's artwork is familiar yet effective in showcasing all the combat. TMNT Usagi Yojimbo #1 is a lot of fun and hits everything it aims to be.

TMNT Usagi Yojimbo #1 is available July 26.

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