USAGI YOJIMBO #151
Written by Stan Sakai
Art by Stan Sakai
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: January 20, 2016
The wandering Ronin comes across a woman being targeted by assassins in the Usagi Yojimbo single issue story The Bride.
Stan Sakai baffles me sometimes with his storytelling abilities, and issue #151 of his amazing Usagi Yojimbo series is one of those issues. He excels at telling single issue stories, condensing a tale down to the parts that matter and keeping arcs short, or just the length they need to tell the tale properly. The Bride is one of those stories, fully fleshed out and perfectly executed in a single issue. There is no excess or useless information, just a story that flows at a nice pace and maintained my interest all the way through. The ending caps it off nicely and brings it all together in a way that seemingly only Stan Sakai can.
As with every issue of Usagi Yojimbo, I enjoyed how Sakai imparts information about feudal Japan. This setting is interesting, to say the least, and Sakai delivers information about the culture and time without Usagi Yojimbo feeling like a documentary or “educational” story. The dialogue is educational, but flows in a manner that doesn’t feel forced, something Sakai is a master of. He does not shy away from the darker aspects of the time, nor does he sugar coat anything even though this is acceptable for younger readers.
Sakai’s written story is matched by his exceptional style of illustration. Usagi Yojimbo’s world is so comfortable by Sakai’s hand, and I can’t imagine anyone else ever capturing what his style does in that world. He is a once in a lifetime cartoonist talent, and his work in #151 is as visually strong as ever.
Usagi Yojimbo #151 is another excellent chapter in a series that never seems to decrease in quality. Sakai is one of the most skilled cartoonists I have ever had the good fortune of reading and The Bride is a great one-shot story that all Usagi Yojimbo fans should be making time for.
The Verdict: 9.0/10