47 Ronin – Issue 1

11 Nov

Recently I read the story of the 47 Ronin (masterless samurai) in a collection of old Japanese tales. It’s a treasured true story in Japan, with a new TV movie version broadcast every Christmas. Japanese see it as an honourable revenge story but I thought it was a tragic waste of life, though a great story nonetheless.

Anyway, I was pleased to hear Dark Horse would be publishing a five-issue mini series of the story, and ordered it right away.

The cover was a bit underwhelming, but the art inside pretty nice, and seems to be inspired by Japanese woodblock prints. It’s a pretty simple style and also has the feel of one of those educational comics.
The first issue covers the very beginning of the story, with inexperienced Daimyo (local feudal ruler) Lord Asano summoned to the Shogun’s palace, where a tragic incident in the final page sets off the 47 Ronin on their road to revenge. It’s an issue light on action and has lot of dialogue, but it has to be this way. Every story must have a beginning! There’s some really cool stuff to come though later in the story and it’ll be interesting to see how the style holds up when things get violent.

Like I said it’s a great story, and one well worth picking up and following, though I think it may be a few issues until the action hots up. Oh, and there’s a Hollywood movie on the way any day now starring Keanu Reeves of all people!

Rating: B

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