Usagi Yojimbo, Vol. 28: Red Scorpion
Written and Illustrated by Stan Sakai
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: July 2, 2014
Cover Price: $17.99
Usagi Yojimbo: Red Scorpion is the 28th and latest volume of Stan Sakai‘s series about an anthropomorphic samurai rabbit in feudal Japan. The first installment since the summer of 2013, Red Scorpion is an epic treat that showcases the titular character’s compassion for the downtrodden and desire for justice.
The ronin known as Usagi Yojimbo roams the countryside with no particular destination in mind. Along his journey he meets a selfless drum maker who, in order to benefit the farmers in his town, makes a wish to the gods for rain. The man believes that if he creates a drum large enough, with the greatest sound, the gods will hear his cry and end the drought that has ravaged the land; however, the drummaker has a problem: the Red Scorpion Gang.
The mysterious Red Scorpion Gang have been terrorizing small villages and larger towns alike, extorting the townsfolk and farmers of their earnings and crops. Thus sets up a multilayered story-arc – mixed in with smaller tales of Usagi’s attempt to discover the identity of the Red Scorpion Gang’s leader and save the people from the organization’s treachery.
Red Scorpion is by far one of Sakai’s best volumes to date. His storytelling excels from beginning to end, offering up a distinct blend of action, humor, and intrigue with deep-rooted themes of betrayal, faith, and bravery. Usagi surely shines in these stories, but it’s the supporting characters who truly evoke the full emotional spectrum – I found myself agonizing with the afflicted and rejoicing with those who overcame.
Sakai’s artwork is in top form with his latest incarnation of Usagi Yojimbo. Once again, he maintains simplicity while portraying telling facial expressions and bodily movements. With the use of black ink only, Sakai manages to draw attention to the vividly detailed setting in which the story takes place.
It comes as no surprise that the latest Usagi Yojimbo collection stands to amaze and delight. I encourage everyone to join in on Usagi’s journey, whether you have followed him all along or you are just beginning your quest.