It’s been some time since I’ve read a Usagi Yojimbo comic; like many other kids growing up in the late 80’s, I first heard of Miyamoto Usagi from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon and later found the long running comic series by Stan Saki. The Usagi Yojimbo series is great nod to great Japanese cinema such as Lone Wolf and Cub, Zatoichi, and numerous films by Akrira Kurosawa. I’ve been waiting for a moment to jump back into the series without doing a lot of catch up reading to find a footing, so issue #163 sets up a three issue arc that gets readers a good dropping in point.
In issue #163 Usagi is working with the village police to capture a thief named Nezumi, who steals from the rich and shares with the poor. Usagi and police chief Ishida have a hard time capturing the Nezumi due to his ninja abilities and the public popularity praising his thefts. After a successful score, Nezumi witness a murder and is highly wanted by the police and the Black Goblin Gang, a group of wild yakuza that pick on the weak. With his back in a corner Nezumi relies on Usagi and Ishida to clear his name and stop the Black Goblin Gang from terrorizing the village.
This issue was a really good story arc to catch up on Usagi Yojimbo. You don’t need to know many characters and the story introduces characters at a easy pace to follow alone the main plot. I had taken a five year hiatus on reading Usagi Yojimbo comics and found it to be relative easy to jump right in and know what exactly is going on. Fans of Feudal Japanese culture, Samurais and rabbits kicking butt should look for this comic when it is released November 1 2017.