My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Stan Sakai: the most consistently excellent writer and illustrator currently in comics.
Usagi Yojimbo is–for all the fight scenes, all the black-and-white blood, all the battles–a very quiet comic. It’s about Miyamoto Usagi, a wandering ronin who travels the warrior’s path of learning. He meets people, some of whom he helps (and some of whom he comes into conflict with). That’s…it, really. I think you need to SEE Sakai’s illustrations to understand what makes this truly great–not a surprise, as comics are a visual medium as well as a written one.
My favorite stories from this volume were…well, every single story featuring Jotaro. Particularly, though…I enjoyed The Pride of the Samurai. It’s a short, you could read it stand-alone, and it makes perfect sense. That’s how a lot of Usagi Yojimbo stories are: a perfectly self-contained short story you can jump right into, no background needed. Like each story is a perfect little cupcake that someone has baked just for me.
If you have any interest in samurai, or the Edo period, or comics, I really strongly recommend this. But hey–don’t start with volume 4, as good as it is. Pick up volume 1 and keep going from there. Trust me–it’s worth it.