REVIEW: ‘Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer’s Road,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Usagi Yojimbo Wanderer's Road #3 - But Why Tho?Usagi Yojimbi: Wanderer’s Road #3 is a classic Yojimbo story about everyone’s favorite ronin rabit re-published by IDW but with brand new color. The comic is written, drawn, and lettered by creator Stan Sakai with colors from Ronda Pattison and a cover by Peach Momoko. Although this is the third issue, it is a standalone. This issue features one of Usagi’s first stories, “Return of the Blind Swordspig.”

Usagi Yojimbo stories have always been for readers of all ages because the stories have been equally as fun as they are intelligent. That theme remains in Usagi Yojimbi: Wanderer’s Road #3, where we are reintroduced a familiar Yojimbo foe, Zato Ino. This former friend turned foe has been a tortured soul since his last encounter with Yojimbo left him without blind and without a nose. He now roams the plains, using his heightened senses to survive. Barely, if I might add. Yojimbo’s companion, Spot warns the blind Ino of an incoming ambush, allowing the blind samurai to defend himself despite the swarm attack. In samurai fashion, he promises his life to the mysterious stranger.

At face value, this issue is just another adventure for Usagi Yojimbo and his companion Spot. Upon further examination, beyond the calamity of the sword fighting, is the inevitable lesson that comes from samurai discipline. We see that Zato Ino struggles with being the loner, despite him understanding it to be his calling. Furthermore, we see Yojimbo reasoning and attempting to reconcile with Ino despite their transgressions. Their history catches up with them as they unsheathe their swords and face one another. The fighting sequences in this issue are paced extremely well. The panels give the reader time to breathe between the swing of the blades and deeply appreciate the martial artistry.

This issue is arguably the greatest example of an Usagi Yojimbo story. We are shown action, compassion, loud fight scenes, and tranquil panels. It would not be Yojimbo without the masterful artwork of Stan Sakai himself, the design of Yojimbo and his foes have truly stood the test of time and regardless of the era of Yojimbo you read, you will be surprised at how smooth and masterful the artwork can be. With that said, seeing colors added to these classic stories heightens the experience that much more and allows new readers to access material they may have otherwise turned them away. Pattison’s colors are soft and compatible. They do not overwhelm the classic black and white artwork Sakai has established. Instead, they earn their right to be on such powerful stories. Sakai’s letters are bold yet do not obstruct the page or any figures, despite how hectic the panels can become. The cover art is also a wonderful flash piece in rich watercolors that Momoko decorated meticulously to deliver the pride in Yojimbo’s heritage.

Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer’s Road #3 continues to bring us origin stories retold in eye-catching color. A one-shot that serves as a bookmark in this series and a deeper look into the character Yojimbo himself and his ever-constant balance for peace. If you’ve ever been interested in this character, now is a perfect time to jump in.

Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer’s Road #3 is available wherever comics are sold.

Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer’s Road #3
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TL;DR

Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer’s Road #3 continues to bring us origin stories retold in eye-catching color. A one-shot that serves as a bookmark in this series and a deeper look into the character Yojimbo himself and his ever-constant balance for peace. If you’ve ever been interested in this character, now is a perfect time to jump in.