Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Classics - Space Usagi #1 (of 3)

   The great ideas in comics also have something of a timeless quality - which is to say, they can be adapted to other formats.

   Thus it is that Usagi Yojimbo, the comic about the adventures of a masterless samurai (a ronin) in Japan during the Edo period, is easily moved into the distant future, where he becomes Space Usagi.

   Published by Mirage Publishing in 1992, writer and artist Stan Sakai created this entertaining mashup of samurai movies and Star Wars.

   It seems appropriate, because George Lucas has cited classic movies like The Hidden Fortress as inspirations for his original film.

   The story finds Usagi fighting to protect the planet and orbiting castle for Lord Hideaki and the Shirohoshi Clan. He becomes the bodyguard for his master's son and finds himself embroiled in a story of struggle, betrayal and murder.

   As always, Sakai provides glorious, cinematic artwork that makes the story sing. It's a story told with great energy and the economy of a master craftsman.

    The Usagi stories rarely disappoint, and this series was especially inspired. Sakai seems to be having a blast, and we get to tag along. Great fun!

Grade: A



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