Monday, June 24, 2013

Usagi Yojimbo, Book 27: A Town Called Hell

 I never cease to be amazed at what USAGI YOJIMBO creator Stan Sakai manages to accomplish with each successive volume of his Samurai rabbit saga. The books have a rich backstory, which is very rewarding to longtime readers, but you could also come in cold and have everything you need to know laid out for you right there in the story, and have the same level of enjoyment as someone who has been with the series since the beginning, which was nearly THREE DECADES AGO! Sakai somehow manages this feat without any extensive text recaps, or intrusive info-drops. It's purely organic.....you just read, and he somehow, magically, manages to introduce, or re-introduce, the reader to his large cast. This is masterful stuff, and every comic-book fan owes it to themselves to dip their toes into the Usagi pool.

 USAGI YOJIMBO, BOOK 27: A TOWN CALLED HELL is mainly concerned with Usagi's trip to the titular town, where a pair of rival gang bosses are engaged in a turf war. Usagi brings the war to a clever end, but his solution is soured by the machinations of the winning gang boss, which sets Usagi on a collision course with another Samurai named Kato. The "TOWN CALLED HELL" saga bookends the collection, and in between those stories are a few stand-alone tales, which run the gamut from humorous to horrific. (I'm really loving the Horror angles that Sakai has been bringing to the series lately.)

 USAGI YOJIMBO, BOOK 27: A TOWN CALLED HELL collects issues 124-131, and includes all of the covers, story notes from Stan Sakai, and an introduction by Geoff Darrow. Highly recommended.
 Dark Horse Comics provided a review copy.