Review - Samurai Jack #1

"Um yes - please stop yelling."

Samurai Jack aired as a cartoon in a different time. That time was almost a decade ago, but the thing is the story still holds up very well. IDW agrees and is launching Samurai Jack #1, the first issue in the triumphant return of the time-traveling samurai. The issue is written by Jim Zub, illustrated by Andy Suriano and lettered by Shawn Lee.

The legend of Samurai Jack is far-reaching. Not just because he's really that good, but because he's forced to travel through time and space in an effort to find a way to undo all the bad that Aku has done. It's that quest that sends him after the Threads of Time, which when combined together will reform the Rope of Eons. It's a simple enough task, until it starts him off smackdab in the middle of gladitorial combat against a group of relatively angry warriors. Jack will not allow something like that to stand in his way though.

Zub has created quite a loyal following with Skullkickers primarily because of his sense of humor and that sense carries over perfectly to the world of Samurai Jack. Jack is as calm and stoic as ever, relying on his pure ability and situational awareness to come out on top of difficult situations. The story doesn't try to reinvent the wheel either, with Zub relying on the show's premise as a driving force for Jack's travels (and travails). Aku doesn't get much time here, but his inevitability as a major player will remedy that in future issues for sure.

Suriano's art is very well done, featuring the sharp and bold edges that Genndy Tartakovsky made famous. The colors appear a little washed out for most of the work, which helps to add a more storied look to the book that's pretty interesting. The hermit and Dreezun both exhibit the wild creativity in terms of character design that remind you you're reading a book about a time-traveling Samurai. The other gladiators are illustrated with just as much gusto as the main characters, highlighting the general zaniness of the world he lives in.

Fans of the Samurai Jack show will feel right at home here. Zub and Suriano do a great job picking up where it left off, offering up continuity in the way of story and art that will appeal to new fans as well as old. The story is tried and true and the characters are all familiar, welcoming readers with open arms. Samurai Jack hasn't lost any of his steely calm and combat prowess, which will make for some great stories down the road. Fans of the show will definitely want to check the book out, while fans of great samurai time traveling stories may also find something of interest.

Samurai Jack #1 is available October 23 with interiors below.