Usagi Yojimbo #143


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Usagi Yojimbo #143


  • Words: Stan Sakai
  • Art: Stan Sakai
  • Story Title: "Shoyu" Part One
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: $3.50
  • Release Date: Jan 26, 2012

When the origin of soy sauce is threatened, Miyamoto Usagi is there to defend in this comic that summarizes so much right with the field.

Usagi Yojimbo has been a title that's always floated on the realm of attention. The largest attention the core character has gotten was various appearances in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise around two decades ago. Regularly published since 1987 by Stan Sakai, there's a certain magic at work with this samurai hare.

When a writer and an artist work really well together, it shows. Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan, Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul, and so forth, show the power of synergy. When the writer and artist are one and the same, you get something special.

The first part of this storyline gets one thing right; any comic could be someone's first with that character, and this issue tells you everything you need to know. Usagi is a wandering samurai, truthful and heroic, and innately trusts people and listens to the stories they have to tell. While a good chunk of the issue is devoted to how soy sauce is made, Usagi attentively listens and gains a new appreciation for the delicious condiment.

The reader, however, will gain a new appreciation for Stan Sakai's fun book with enjoyable art and writing. The only issue that prevents this story from being an amazing done-in-one comic is that it's part one; there's no real sense of closure for the mystery and battle at hand. Still, any reader who'd pick this book up should want to look forward to the rest of the story, and hopefully be encouraged to track down more of the past. First impressions go a long way, and the days of this being perceived as a tie-in to the Ninja Turtles are long gone.

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