Still trucking after a thirty-year run, Usagi Yojimbo continues with his strangest story yet: a re-telling of War of the Worlds, but in feudal Japan, and with the aged cast of Sakai’s beloved characters. And while it’s not perfect, it’s still pretty damn satisfying.
Here’s the official word from Darkhorse:
Trapped underneath the wreckage from another Martian rocket’s crash landing, Usagi and Tomoe only have one way out: through the alien craft! As they desperately fight for their lives, one major villain returns, and another makes a fateful decision. With the town ravaged, and more rockets on the way, is all hope finally lost?
What’s been fun about this series is not the plot — let’s be honest, most everyone knows how War of the World’s rolls out, and will probably end (thank you germs!). Rather, what’s kept readers engaged is Stan Sakai’s art, and willingness to fast forward his universe several decades to show us how his cherished characters might live, love and die. Issue #4 is no different, as Sakai wipes out long-standing continuity, scripts those conversations between characters that readers have been longing to read, and ends the lives of several others that have escaped death time and again. Yes, Sakai takes special delight in wrapping up long-standing story elements from this decades long run and geeky will readers won’t be able to put this comic down. That said, this run is lacking one crucial element: the development of new dramas or new storylines that would make this a story enjoyable for new readers or as a standalone arc. Right now it feels more like a postscript than a freestanding adventure and with even the plot line borrowed (thank you H.G. Wells!), there is nothing entirely new here.
That said, the art ROCKS. Sakai delights readers with large panoramic, beautiful fight scenes and detailed destruction. One of the perks of reading Usagi Yojimbo is that Sakai knows these characters so well; he’s become adept at communicating just as much with facial expressions as he does dialogue and Senso is no exception.
Hardcore fans will love Usagi Yojimbo: Senso. Even if they secretly suspect it could have been so much more.