COMIC BOOK REVIEW: SAMURAI JACK: QUEST FOR THE BROKEN BLADE / AUTHOR: JIM ZUB / ARTIST: ETHEN BEAVERS, ANDY SURIANO / PUBLISHERL: IDW PUBLISHING / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 31ST
Back at the start of the century, Cartoon Network’s Samurai Jack was known for two things; an incredibly catchy theme and its eye-catching art style. In case you missed it at the time, the premise of Samurai Jack is that a brave and noble samurai (nicknamed Jack by outsiders) has been flung into the far future, following a battle with the Demon-Sorcerer Aku. This strange new future is filled with evil, as it is one where Aku was never stopped from spreading his evil across the world. The show’s creator, Genndy Tartakovsky, has since moved on to bigger things, and despite the best efforts of those involved, we still don’t know how this epic story ends.
IDW’s Samurai Jack comic book doesn’t promise to give us a conclusion, but has so far done a stand-up job of delivering the same sort of memorable and heroic adventure stories that made the show a hit back when it first came out. Samurai Jack Volume 3: Quest for the Broken Blade has all the hallmarks of a classic episode of the show, and is likely to make fans of the show grin from ear to ear.
The premise of this graphic novel focuses on Jack’s magical blade. The sword is one of the few things that can kill Aku, and the monster rightly fears it. The weapon is also powerful enough to cut through most things, and explains why our hero can cut through legions of robots and weird alien monster things. As you might be able to surmise from the title of the book, things go wrong; one of Jack’s many attempts to return back to his own time-line is thwarted by the destruction of his katana. This makes our hero very vulnerable and the hunt to track him down and kill him immediately steps up, all the while Jack looks for a solution to his woes.
The art is fun, powerful and evocative. It comes very close to capturing the unique feel of the TV show, and at the same time the artists put their own stamp on the character. The writing (and dialogue) is spot on, and it’s nice to see that Aku is still as sarcastic as ever. The story is appropriately mystical, drawing on established backstory to create a new (but entirely valid) spin on things. The book is an utter joy, and though it may be a nostalgia-fest for some, those new to the franchise will be able to get into it straight away and also see what the fuss is about.
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