Sunday, October 27, 2013

365 Comics...295: Samurai Jack #1 (2013)

I've fallen behind on 365 once again, this time due to a massive hit of vertigo on Tuesday overnight which took days to truly subside.  My wife. meanwhile, stayed home on new comic book day, and promptly developed the flu, meaning we were both way too out of it to pick up comics in a timely fashion.  I was most worried that my LCS would have sold out of the first issue of the new Samurai Jack series from IDW.  Both of our kids are huge SJ fans, as, naturally, we are as well, so you can bet that this series is hotly anticipated around these parts.

Thankfully, even five days later, my shoppe still had two glorious copies remaining, and with everyone in my household keen to read it I was tempted to take both, as you can bet that the 11 and 4 year-olds will decimate their copy.  But I decided, for now, that I'd just get the one, perhaps seeing if I couldn't track down one of the Genndy Tartakovsky covers elsewhere (one is a retailer incentive cover from the Beguiling, another local comic shop).

There have been SJ comic stories before, but most of them were just 8-page stories in DC's Cartoon Network anthology, so you know, not the most robust reading.  Many of the Cartoon Network stories as well as DC's Samurai Jack pilot episode adapation will be collected in a trade paperback released this week from IDW called Samurai Jack Classics, which I'm still debating about buying... DC didn't do the property much justice, and after the triumphant Power Puff Girls #1 I had much higher hopes for IDW's output.

Honestly, I was expecting writer Jim Zub to take more inspiration from the atmospheric elements of SJ, and attempt a largely wordless first issue, but instead he wisely goes bigger, much bigger, and dives into the more adventuresome elements of the show.  After a roam through desert winds (there's three pages of atmosphere) Jack learns of the Rope of Eons, and is off on a quest to gather the scattered threads together to rebuild the rope and hopefully pull himself backwards in time.  Zub has crafted a great multi-issue arc that will still allow him to jump genres multiple times, feeling both like Samurai Jack and yet also be something different. 

As any Jack fan knows, his quests are always destined to be thwarted by Aku in the end, or turn out to be false leads to start with, but it's always in style and presentation that Samurai Jack stands out and captivates.  Artist Andy Suriano picks up the visual feel of the cartoon, adopting the style for the characters and setting as well as using an agreeable colour palette.  However, I would like to see Suriano branch out and be more adventuresome in his panel breakdowns.  They're remarkably generic when Samurai Jack toyed perpetually with it's framing, and I'd like too see more of that here.

An excellent start, certainly satisfying for any Jack fan.

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