Usagi Yojimbo

Usagi Yojimbo #9

by Alan Rapp on March 25, 2020

in Comics

Usagi Yojimbo #9 comic reviewThe two-part “Tatami” story concludes as the Neko Ninja attack the caravan carrying the ceremonial mats, destroying them and disrupting Lord Gifue’s tea ceremony with the Shogun. Despite the considerable efforts of Miyamoto Usagi and Chizu helping out to defend the mats against the ninja, the encounter ends with the mats destroyed and the villains triumphant.

We don’t often see Usagi fail when he sets his mind to a task, but although he and Chizu (and many of the soldiers guarding the mats) escape the encounter unscathed, the ninjas complete their task in undermining the upcoming ceremony between a rival lord of their employer and the Shogun.

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Usagi Yojimbo #8

by Alan Rapp on February 11, 2020

in Comics

Usagi Yojimbo #8 comic reviewTatami plays a large role in Usagi Yojimbo #8 as writer/artist Stan Sakai offers some history to the ceremonial mats grown and crafted together over the course of two years. It’s the transport of these handwoven mats that garners attention of both Miyamoto Usagi, bandits, and ninja with the rabbit ronin’s travels lead him back to the Northern Provinces of his homeland.

Usagi’s return to the lands once controlled by his former lord brings mixed feelings, especially after running across a former samurai of Lord Mifune who know serves Lord Hikiji. That’s not the only familiar face to cross Usagi’s path as he runs into the former ninja Chizu while helping the fend off the Neko Ninja’s attack on the tatami as a political ploy to undercut his rival Lord Gifu.

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Usagi Yojimbo #6

by Alan Rapp on November 18, 2019

in Comics

Usagi Yojimbo #6 comic reviewWith the 35th anniversary of the character’s first appearance, creator Stan Sakai takes us back to the beginning by expanding the original 8-page story in which the character appeared (“The Goblin of Adachigahara”) in this look at the wandering rabbit ronin’s travels leading him back to the plains of Adachi where Lord Mifune fell in battle years before.

Available in multiple variant covers, Usagi Yojimbo #6 is certainly worth picking up for both longtime readers and newcomers to get a glimpse into what makes Miyamoto Usagi tick.

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Usagi Yojimbo #5

by Alan Rapp on October 10, 2019

in Comics

Usagi Yojimbo #5 comic reviewTragedy comes in the conclusion of “The Hero.” True to his word, Miyamoto Usagi helps see Lady Mura back to her father, but there is little comfort the honorable elder can offer. Instead honor insists she return home with her husband, whose sudden appearance does nothing to lessen Usagi’s opinion of the man.

The end of the comic mirrors the opening pages from Mura’s story, just as tragedy befalls the hero in her tale so does it the author who the husband kills on the road back home (blaming the same bandits Usagi fought off earlier in the comic). Usagi doesn’t act on his suspicions, but karma has a role to play in the killer’s future.

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Usagi Yojimbo #4

by Alan Rapp on September 16, 2019

in Comics

Usagi Yojimbo #4 comic reviewUsagi Yojimbo #4 begins a new arc when Miyamoto Usagi encounters Lady Mura on the road. A talented writer whose work captures Usagi’s attention, even causing the ronin to imagine himself as a character in her story, Usagi decides to walk a ways with Mura who is on her way to see her father after a dust-up with her abusive husband the night before.

Hearing of her arranged marriage, and her husband’s anger that her prestige has now outshines his own, inspires Usagi to offer his services as bodyguard to Mura on the road, which turns out to be a fateful decision when her husbands thugs show up to forcibly return her home (and are sent back without Usagi removing the blade from its sheath).

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