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 with issue #5 readers get a special treat, and one of the best cliffhangers in recent memory.
Here’s the official word from Darkhorse:
Another Martian rocket crashes into the territory of the Komori, the outlaw clan of ninja bats. Will Tomoe’s husband convince them to set aside their differences with the shogun and team up against the alien threat? Meanwhile, Lord Noriyuki reveals the astonishing secret weapon he believes will win the war—you just have to see it to believe it!
Much of the magic from this recent run has not come from the plot — for the most part, Sakai has remained true to the Well’s classic, where giant pods rocket down from outer space and wreck havoc on earth. 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. And it’s worked. And it could’ve worked for the final issues, too, if that’s how Sakai played his hand. But with issue #5 Sakai suddenly veered from the script and pushed this arc into a new and awesome territory. This pivot comes in the form of a secret weapon developed by the earthlings to fight the martians. While it would be in poor form for me to tell you what it is, I will tell you this: you need to read this issue, and the next one still to come.
And yes, yes, yes. The art is wonderful — as expected. 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.
Readers will love the new direction that Usagi Yojimbo: Senso has suddenly taken. It was worth the thirty year wait.