Review - 47 Ronin #5

"I know that it was your desire to see that each of your companions died honorably."

Samurai have historically been lauded for their loyalty and honor, traits they carry with them even through the deaths. Behind those traits stands an immense amount of pride though, pride that prompts devoted samurai to avenge their fallen master. There's a lot of avenging going on in 47 Ronin #5 from Dark Horse Comics.

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

Asano's loyal retainers have planned for a year to seek revenge for their slain master. Their plan culminates in an all-out assault on Kira's compound, where he's hiding behind an army of samurai loyal to him. What follows are pages and panels of intense Ronin battles, with the avengers making their way through Kira's Ronin hordes. Peppered here and there are other story points that wrap up the series quite nicely.

Richardson does a fantastic job retelling one of Japan's most famous stories. Much of the series to this point has been strategy and plot, slowly building up to the climatic fifth issue where readers get to see the entire plan come to fruition. Asano's retainers showcase their chemistry and sheer combat ability, rather effortlessly moving through Asano's legions. The issue is paced extraordinarily well, blending combat with dialogue perfectly and offering the reader a great blend of action and story.

Sakai's illustrations are, again, phenomenal. There are many panels full of samurai moving through the compound and Sakai makes sure each of them gets the same attention to detail. Considering there's samurai fighting, Sakai also manages to show blood on the pages, but in a way that's not overtly gory. It's almost as if he just flung a red paint brush at the panel, slicing through it with the same force of a samurai's blade.

47 Ronin #5 is the perfect end to what has been an awesome mini-series. The previous issues have all been building up to this and the creative team ties everything together beautifully. Readers will get a great sense of satisfaction at the conclusion of the issue, seeing many storylines resolved cleanly and in a complete manner. It's a book that definitely deserves your attention, especially if you've been reading the series to this point.

47 Ronin #5 is in stores now with interiors below.