Review - Swordsmith Assassin #2

Swordsmith Assassin #2 picks up right where the first one left off. Which works well when you’re reading a sequential story. Toshiro continues his quest to find the swords he crafted in an effort to allow his family to rest in peace. The first two issues so far have been a solid telling of one man’s quest to bring peace to his family (in addition to the world) despite his actions being the cause of much violence. Does the second issue continue the story of a lone samurai effectively? Read on to find out. The first issue ended with Toshiro in the presence of a mighty warlord seeking the sword he crafted for him. General Rennier has the power to pretty much drop Toshiro instantly (because of his sheer numbers), but he’s intrigued by the swordsmith’s story. Who wouldn’t want to at least here why a seemingly harmless swordsmith would want a sword back that he himself crafted? Cue a flashback. Toshiro tells the story about how he was weak. Sure, he knew how to make swords that became de fact tools for killing. But he was probably the last person you’d want using one to defend you. This became readily apparent in his quest to find all the swords he created. Sure, some of the owners were quite willing to part with their sword for the right amount of money. Others however were not quite as willing to part with their prized possession without a little bit more persuasion. One such owner was a great warrior named Musashi. Musashi was especially fond of his Toshiro sword because of its usefulness in quelling a peasant rebellion. Musashi was intrigued by Toshiro’s desire to reclaim the sword, but it wouldn’t be such an easy task. Instead, Musashi takes it upon himself to train Toshiro to use his own machinations for pain. What entails is a sort of comic book montage (just play a song in your head while reading) where Toshiro learns to effectively use the sword. After intense training, Musashi offers up the sword as a sort of reward for being persistent and learning. The ability to effectively use his own swords greatly helps Toshiro in his quest to collect all his swords. Those that would previously have been apt to simply laugh in the face of Toshiro at his request would not be laughing anymore when they lost an arm. Toshiro’s offer of exchanging the sword peacefully was limited in its duration, as Toshiro would eventually kill those bearing his sword if they didn’t “come peacefully.” I’m a big fan of this book so far. The story really isn’t anything that’s revolutionary or anything. If you’ve seen any of the Zatoichi films then you can pretty much predict what’s going to happen when a samurai doesn’t get what he wants. But the artwork fits the story really well and adds a unique perspective on such a timely subject. It’s a little unclear at this point if General Rennier will go quietly without a fight in offering the sword back to Toshiro. What is clear is that Toshiro will get the sword (and all others) even if he has to go to great lengths.