Just like every fan of Marvel, I was quite excited when I s aw the trailer for What If? I even made a social media post when the series was announced, not only because it was a show I was excited for, but I personally collected all of the issues in the series of the second run in 1989. I loved how they put these very familiar characters in very different situations. Phase 4 of the MCU is all about how every choice leads down a different road.
This particular juxtaposition allows a world of possibilities which I believe will only leave fans more confounded in the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel. These recent onscreen interpretations reminded me of the dearth of similar explorations within their comics. One of the most celebrated ones being Neil Gaiman’s take on the X-Men, Marvel 1602. Thankfully, Marvel has been always liberal in the exploration of their canonical characters, which lead me years ago to find their masterful 5 Ronin, which puts some of their best characters in feudal Japan, starting with the X-Men’s brooding leader, Wolverine in the debut issue.
We are taken to 1600 Japan, and clans from the east and west have a standoff on the battlefield of Sekigahara and the narrator, a loyal samurai, his master falls during combat, rendering him a Ronin, left to be a sword for hire. As this samurai, who physically resembles Wolverine, is betrayed by someone who belongs to clan, who decapitates him, but weeks later, he reemerges. As his legend grows, as the “Ronin who cannot die”, but nothing is what as it seems. By issue’s end, we find out out they did not merely to belong to the same clan, but something much more, leaving fans both bewildered and entertained.
Overall, 5 Ronin #1an excellent debut issue which will have the reader wanting to put on a Kurosaka movie. The story by Peter Milligan is well researched and enthralling. The art by Tomm Coker and David Aja is beautiful. Altogether, a story which gives readers a different look at the most enigmatic hero of the X-Men.
Story: Peter Milligan Art: Tomm Coker and David Aja
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy