Review - Samurai Jack: Lost Worlds #1 (@IDWPublishing)

"He always comes back."

Samurai Jack travels through time and space, partly because he's sort of banished but also out of a sense of duty. It's the latter that carries the action in Samurai Jack: Lost Worlds #1 from IDW Publishing. The issue is written by Paul Allor, illustrated by Adam Bryce Thomas and lettered by Christa Miesner and Robbie Robbins.

Under the leadership of the benevolent Samurai Jack, society has prospered-everything is in line with his philosophies, his storied stoicism, and of course his hair. Of course, this is all news to Jack who doesn't much care for this impostor using his name. But which one is the real Samurai Jack?

Allor knows that honor and duty are the two core characteristics that make Jack tick and he allows Jack to display them in spades in the issue. The approach is rather intriguing as Allor pitches it as an almost existential crisis of sorts as Samurai Jack is coming to grips with hie legacy, both literally and figuratively. The issue crescendos extremely quickly and--because much of the issue is spent focused on Jack battling himself--there's very little time to deal with the emotional fallout. Allor cruises through the first 3/4 of the issue without focusing on the seemingly requisite moral awakening that Samurai Jack as a character often finds himself experiencing. And the issue also feels more like a one-shot as opposed to the start of a miniseries as Allor doesn't really set anything else up other than Jack traveling some more.

Thomas does a marvelous job with the illustrations. Samurai Jack has always been the embodiment of sharp angles and Thomas adheres to that dogma beautifully, crafting panels that feel as if they're pulled straight from the animated series. It would be easy for the reader to lose track of what's happening when two identical characters are pitted against one another, but Thomas does a great job of keeping things clean and consistent so as not to sow unnecessary confusion. What's probably the most emphatic about Thomas' illustrations is how he handles the combat between the two fighters; there's a beautiful rigidity in the linework that somehow affords the characters fluid motion. The book is bold and colorful as well, allowing the stark white of Samurai Jack's gui to stand out against the villagers.

Samurai Jack: Lost Worlds #1 feels very much like a book in the Samurai Jack universe, even boasting two Jacks to contend with. The real Samurai Jack is on yet another journey to help where necessary while also seeking to find himself. Allor's script is extremely fast-paced and does a great job of getting to the core of Jack's personality. Thomas' illustrations are simply gorgeous and make a strong impression on the reader, mainly in how he handles the combat between the two. Samurai Jack: Lost Worlds #1 is an issue that reads like a one-shot and is quite entertaining; hopefully the remainder of the series feels just as good.

Samurai Jack: Lost Worlds #1 is available now.