Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer's Road #1
The next chapter of classic Usagi stories begins, newly colored! Usagi begins his adventures in earnest with the quintessential tale "The Tower" wherein Usagi gets himself into a very precarious predicament all thanks to a mischievous lizard!
A brand new adventure in full color begins with Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer’s Road #1 and once more, the timelessness of Stan Sakai’s comics work shines bright. While the story featured in this first issue is actually The Tower from July of 1987, over thirty years later the story stands up as a classic Usagi Yojimbo tale of both heart and drama.
There are many comics fans who adore multiverse shattering events that stand on the shoulders of decades of storytelling and I certainly enjoy them as much as the next fan, but this is the type of comics storytelling that makes me want to obsess over every detail. The Tower is a simple story that perfectly filters historical and folklore influences to continue an adventure that you just never want to end. The premise is simple, with a “mischievous lizard” actually referred to as a tokage making its way into too many vendors in the area and causing havoc. After it escapes onto the top of a tower it’s up to none other than Usagi Yojimbo to calm the situation and save the tokage.
If Usagi offering a small rice ball to the tokage on top of the dangerous tower while facing brutal weather isn’t enough to warm your heart I’m not really sure what is. The ability to capture your emotional interest with such a straightforward story has been perfected by Sakai over the years, but this shows that even in the late 80’s fans were being given incredible tales. It’s easy to see how they have stood the test of time. The dialogue is impactful and Sakai’s illustrations are so precise, carrying readers through the adventure with tact and a surprising sense of fun as well. It’s just awesome.
This story is brought to life in a new way, similar to IDW’s other work recently with Sakai, with great colors by Ronda Pattison. It helps add dimension and bring the stories to a more modern audience, but it also helps to add to the timelessness of it. This is just another way to get these incredible stories into the hands of comics fans everywhere and I am just excited for it.
For longtime fans, this is a fun way to look back at the first appearance of Spot, Usagi’s tokage companion. For new readers, this is a perfect spot (pun intended) to jump into the adventure and see just what a classic Usagi Yojimbo story is all about. It doesn’t require any back reading to know what is going on other than the Ronin Usagi himself traveling through the Edo period Japan and tries to help out when and how he can. Plus, IDW has included a LOT of incredible covers from talented artists like Peach Momoko, Alan Quah and more.
Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer’s Road #1 from IDW is certainly worth your time and money to pick up at your LCS or wherever you buy comics. Stories like this are a great reminder as to why I love the medium so very much, so do yourself a favor and dive in to this incredible story, whether it’s for the first time or the tenth time!
You won’t regret it.
Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer's Road #1 features a timeless story brought to life with remarkable coloring, showing just why the heartfelt series holds up just as strong today as ever before.
Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer’s Road #1: Easy Friend, I’m Here to Help
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Art - 9.5/109.5/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10
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