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Wow! This is a great book. Usagi Yojimbo came out this week and it doesn't disappoint. In fact it is one of the best issues of this series. It has everything – great action, a surprising twist and moral teachings. It also offers us a stupendous supplement on the origins of seppuku. This book gives us all the great things the Samurai genre is all about. But what is more surprising is how Stan Sakai is able to keep this book interesting after all these years.
As you may know already, The Red Scorpion gang has been causing havoc across the land for months now and its members are the perpetrators behind many of Usagi’s recent problems. In this issue, Usagi finally faces the Red Scorpion himself! Yes, we see who the real Red Scorpion is. But defeating both the Scorpion and a horde of mercenaries may be too much, even for Usagi Yojimbo. This is the action-packed, heart-pounding conclusion to the awesome story arc “Those Who Tread on the Scorpion’s Tail”!
Now, the book picks up directly from the last panel of the last issue: A duel between Usagi and one of the mean bastards from the fencing school that killed the magistrate's son. From that point on, it's pure nonstop, sword-slashing samurai action. As the story moves forward the action keeps getting bigger and bigger. Last issue was the setting for this conclusion and although it was a good issue, it didn't give us anything to "wow" us and was just an interesting normal issue with great art. This issue exposes Sakai as a great writer and it really shows why Sakai is able to keep the longevity of this book so fresh and interesting.
In this issue the identity of the Red Scorpion is revealed. No spoilers here because the revelation is quite a surprise. It's a really unexpected twist that exalts the story to an astounding higher level. By spoiling this surprise I would be stealing you of the joy that comes from the pleasure of reading an amazing story. This issue also gives us a fantastic seppuku scene. Again no spoilers here on who but this scene is what really centers on the whole story arc and gives a much satisfactory ending. Combined with the supplement on the origins of seppuku or hara-kiri, that scene turns into a more powerful resolution because the readers will get an excellent understanding on this ritual.
If you just got this book, you won't get any character development from our main hero here but that doesn't mean you shouldn't pick this book up. This is actually a great jumping on point for all those curious in the adventures of this bunny ronin. Why? Because Usagi Yojimbo kicks major ass in this issue. Don't believe me? That's because I forgot to mention that he fights over fifty mercenaries at the same time. Awesome, right?
This is a book that should be in your collection. Everything about it is great and shows a master storyteller recharging his craft. This is probably one of the best books of this week because it's a solid simple story that delivers a great experience to every type of reader.
Overall Score - 10/10
*Classic - As close to perfect as a comic can get; story, art, presentation are all a thing of wonder. Buy it now, damn it!*