Sunday, 12 October 2014

Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #2 Review (Stan Sakai)

Stan Sakai unexpectedly mashes Usagi Yojimbo with War of the Worlds in Senso #2! In the middle of a decisive battle against the evil Lord Hikiji, a giant shell-like object drops from the sky. When Hikiji’s forces investigate they are decimated by an otherworldly laser. How will Usagi and co. defeat it - and how many other shells fell from the sky? 

Sci-fi’s not something you’d associate with Usagi Yojimbo (except when Sakai’s writing Space Usagi - and no, unfortunately Sakai confirmed in the letters column that Space Usagi’s not in this series) so it’s a nice switcheroo from what the series might’ve been - a feudal era tale featuring an aged Usagi and his comrades battling Hikiji’s forces. 

We catch a glimpse of the aliens and they’re the octopus creatures that were in the Tom Cruise movie (least that’s what I recall them being anyway), and the tripods are the classic War of the Worlds design, so Sakai’s not being hugely original with the Wells material. 

The steam-powered kameyama (turtle) tank plays an important role, as you knew it was going to when it was wheeled out in the last issue, but there are two tripods and only one is downed. Several pages cover how useless feudal-era Japanese soldiers are against this kind of sophisticated weaponry so the real interesting angle is how Usagi’s going to beat these aliens without anything seemingly powerful enough to do the job. 

Will Sakai go down the route of defeating the aliens with human illness or try something a bit more exciting? Usagi has four issues to win the war for his world and I’m looking forward to finding out. Senso #2 is a very good comic with the usual strong writing and art from Sakai that fans have come to expect - entertaining stuff!

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