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Preview: Usagi Yojimbo #21

Usagi Yojimbo #21

(W) Stan Sakai (A/CA) Stan Sakai
In Shops: Jul 21, 2021
SRP: $3.99

Yukichi, part 2 (of 2)
Usagi and his new friend, Yukichi, continue on to carry out the last request of Yukichi’s sensei. However, they have stirred up the ire of the local swords school who are dead set on preventing them from completing their mission. To compound the situation, the school discovers that Usagi is a traitor with a reward for his head.

Usagi Yojimbo #21

Review: Usagi Yojimbo: Dragon Bellow Conspiracy #1

Usagi Yojimbo: Dragon Bellow Conspiracy #1

As a fan of the Star Trek movies, I have had many misgivings with the different iterations. Each cast brings its own flavors and also presents its own limitations. The movies have highlighted why fans have loved each of these casts but also shows why many of these shows’ stories never truly translated to the big screen. In fact, if you watched the first-ever Star Trek movie, hopes for a sequel would be far off based solely on that film’s success.

It’s the sequel movies that came which introduced this universe to generations who were not even born yet when the original TV series aired. One of the best movies to come from this series of movies was Star Trek IV: The Undiscovered Country. The film utilized canon and cross-pollinate with some other genres, spy thriller, being the most prominent. In Usagi Yojimbo: Dragon Bellow Conspiracy #1, a plot as dense as Star Trek IV emerges, in one of Stan Sakai’s best stories.

We open on Tomoe, on a mission for Lord Noriyuki, one that she cannot fail, fiercely fighting her way through a brigade of soldiers. As the reader soon finds out Lord Hikiji, is looking for favor with the Shogun in changing his station, secretly amassing an arsenal, one that can possibly outmaneuver any rival. Gen soon uncovers the boxes of guns Lord Tamakuro is hiding, a piece of intelligence, which Lord Noriyuki would benefit from knowing. Meanwhile, we find Gennosuke, Zato-Ino, and Usagi coming together as they soon realize Tomoe has been captured. By the issue’s end, Tomoe must find a way to let Lord Noriyuki know what’s going on while her three friends look to rescue her.

Overall, Usagi Yojimbo: Dragon Bellow Conspiracy #1 is a tense thriller, one which shows the different dimensions to Sakai’s storytelling abilities. The story Sakai is engrossing. The art by the creative team is beautiful. Altogether, an excellent entry point for anyone interested in why this Samurai who just so happens to be a rabbit has gained so many fans.

Story: Stan Sakai Art: Stan Sakai
Color: Ronda Pattison Letterer: Stan Sakai
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Chibi Usagi: Attack of the Heebie Chibis

Chibi Usagi: Attack of the Heebie Chibis

I can honestly say that I have been a fan of Usagi Yojimbo, ever since I saw him in the early Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics. Many of those books were in preteen days, and I honestly lost interest for a while. It was not until years later, when I was temporarily stationed in Japan, that my interest got reignited. I discovered all these cool Samurai movies from the 1950s and 1960s while there, which only made me nostalgic for those Stan Sakai comic books.

So when I came back stateside, I picked where I left off on reading the Rabbit Samurai. It still surprises me how so many people still haven’t heard of this excellent comic book character. It has evolved in many ways, to a cult-like status amongst comic book fans. In Stan and Julie Sakai’s Chibi Usagi: Attack of The Heebie Chibis, the classic characters gets a new take geared towards middle-grade readers resulting in an exicitng feature-length story.

We find Usagi, Gennosuke, and Tomoe, where while fishing, discover a Dogu, a prehistoric creature running away from a slaver monarch, called the Salamander King, who attacked his people and captured them.  The three friends decide to help the Dogu take back his village and thwart the Salamander King from his reign of terror.  They would face peril after peril until they reach his village only to face the Salamander king’s minions, the Heebie Chibis, which they lose and are forced to work in the mines. Eventually, the three friends revolt and defeat the Salamander King, chasing him and the Heebie Chibis away. By the comic’s end, the Dogu reward the three friends but not before one more clash with the Salamander King, one which he sees his end.

Overall, Chibi Usagi: Attack of the Heebie Chibis is an exciting story that any fan of any age can get into. The story by the Sakais is charming. The art by Sakai and Fujii, is gorgeous. Altogether, easily the most accessible story involving this enigmatic protagonist.

Story: Julie Sakai, Stan Sakai Art: Julie Sakai, Stan Sakai
Color: Emi Fujii Letterer: Julie Sakai
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus ComicsTFAW Bookshop

Preview: Chibi Usagi: Attack of the Heebie Chibis

Chibi Usagi: Attack of the Heebie Chibis

(W) Stan Sakai, Julie Fuji Sakai (A/CA) Julie Fuji Sakai
In Shops: Jun 30, 2021
SRP: $12.99

The rich world of Usagi Yojimbo, now more accessible to readers of all ages in this chibi-style original graphic novel.

Stan Sakai’s beloved rabbit samurai has won countless fans (and awards!) over his 35-year history, thanks to a clever blend of thrilling action, heartwarming characters, and a realistic portrayal of Japanese culture. Chibi-Usagi brings these fun and thoughtful stories to middle-grade readers as an original graphic novel packed with adorable art and captivating energy.

While fishing for freshwater eels, Chibi-Usagi, Tomoe, and Gen rescue a Dogu, a clay creature from Japan’s prehistory. The Dogu’s village has been enslaved by the Salamander King and his Heebie-Chibi minions and forced to work in their mines. Chibi-Usagi and his friends must rescue the Dogu people and eliminate the threat of the Salamander King forever in this feature-length story of adventure, humor, and slippery eels.

Chibi Usagi: Attack of the Heebie Chibis

Preview: Usagi Yojimbo: Dragon Bellows Conspiracy #1 (of 6)

Usagi Yojimbo: Dragon Bellows Conspiracy #1 (of 6)

(W) Stan Sakai (A) Stan Sakai (CA) David Petersen
In Shops: Jun 30, 2021
SRP: $3.99

Presenting the start of perhaps Usagi’s greatest story ever! A sinister plot to overthrow the Shogun percolates and one of Usagi’s friends is captured! The ensuing machinations will draw in not only Usagi, but bounty hunter Gen, and the blind swordspig Zato-Ino! All new color makes this a must-have for any long-time fan, as well as a great place to start for any new readers looking to start their own Usagi Yojimbo journey!

Usagi Yojimbo: Dragon Bellows Conspiracy #1 (of 6)

Preview: Usagi Yojimbo #20

Usagi Yojimbo #20

(W) Stan Sakai (A/CA) Stan Sakai
In Shops: Jun 16, 2021
SRP: $3.99

Yukichi, part one.
The introduction of a new recurring character as Usagi encounters a young swordmaster carrying out the dying wish of his master. Yukichi must deliver Itsuki-Sensei’s swords to his nephew, Daido, who will take over his school. However, they must pass through the territory of a rival school intent on possessing that heirloom.

Usagi Yojimbo #20

Review: Usagi Yojimbo: Homecoming

Usagi Yojimbo: Homecoming

For those of us who live far away from where we were born, going back home can be a surreal experience. As we get older, we often have feelings of trepidation and nostalgia when something reminds us of that place. Many memories of why you left home in the first place are part of that internal consternation. We also are reminded of the things and people who are only in that place you came from.

Every time I have been home to New York I’m reminded of growing up there including both good memories and bad memories. I still call it home, even after being away from it for 25 years. What holds true is that every time you go back it feels different every single time. In Usagi Yojimbo: Homecoming, our protagonist goes home but to some unexpected reactions.

In “Tatami”, we find Usagi going back home to the North Province of Tatami, a place he had not been for a very long time, and he is flooded by memories of why he left in the first place, and where he and Chizu protect a valuable transport for the Lord who killed his master, a journey the Neko Ninja Clan looks to foil, but not without a fight from our protagonist, Chizu, and the vassals. In “Mon”, Usagi meets resistance in Tatami and finds trouble in those still bitter from a war long ago, where Usagi lets them meet their ends. In the last story“ The Return”, we find Usagi soon after he defeats the samurai in Tatami, where he ends in his home village and meets some old friends, but their reunion is cut short, when a band of ronin looks to avenge their master, but not before Usagi, his Sensei, and his friends defend their homes.

Overall, Usagi Yojimbo: Homecoming is an excellent collection of stories that proves Sakai still has many tales to tell. The stories by Sakai are exciting. The art by the creative team is beautiful. Altogether, this set of tales proves why everyone should read Usagi Yojimbo.

Story: Stan Sakai Art: Stan Sakai, Shawn Lee, Tom Luth, and Peach Momoko
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus ComicsTFAWBookshop

Preview: Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer’s Road #6 (of 7)

Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer’s Road #6 (of 7)

(W) Stan Sakai (A) Stan Sakai (CA) Peach Momoko
In Shops: Apr 28, 2021
SRP: $3.99

Newly colored, this issue features the classic story “The Shogun’s Gift”! When an important sword is stolen, Usagi must track down the cunning ninja responsible for its theft. A deadly game of wits ensures that Usagi will have to use all of his wiles to win!

Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer’s Road #6 (of 7)

Preview: Usagi Yojimbo: Homecoming

Usagi Yojimbo: Homecoming

(W) Stan Sakai (A/CA) Stan Sakai
In Shops: Apr 28, 2021
SRP: $19.99

Volume Two of the new series sees Usagi return to his home province to pay his respects, but ghosts from his past have other plans.

In “Tatami,” Usagi returns to his home province only to find intrigue and betrayal! Then, in “Mon,” long ago, Lord Hikiji defeated Usagi’s Lord Mifune to take control of the Northern Province. Usagi, now traveling through his old territories, still wears the mon (a family crest) of his former lord. But, there are those who still remember the Great Wars with bitterness and threaten to kill any samurai loyal to Mifune. In “The Return,” Usagi is on a pilgrimage to his late lord’s gravesite, however, wearing the Mifune clan crest in Lord Hikiji’s territory has made him an enemy. Traveling through this dangerous land he has made his way to the one place he had been avoiding-the village in which he grew up. Collects issues #8-14 of the all-new full-color Usagi Yojimbo series published by IDW.

Usagi Yojimbo: Homecoming

Preview: Usagi Yojimbo #19

Usagi Yojimbo #19

(W) Stan Sakai (A/CA) Stan Sakai
In Shops: Apr 21, 2021
SRP: $3.99

“The Master of Hebishima” Usagi delivers a basket of lizards to an eccentric monk who lives on a remote island infested with snakes. Usagi learns they share a history that goes back to the Great Wars and the Battle of Adachi Plain where Usagi became a ronin.

Usagi Yojimbo #19
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