Publisher: IDW Publishing
Words: Jim Zub
Pictures: Andy Suriano
Colours: Josh Burcham
Release Date: 20th November 2013
It’s Mr. IDW here again (hey, I might as well own it) with my review for the second issue of the ongoing Samurai Jack series. Last issue was all about setting up the premise of the ongoing – Jack must collect the mythical Threads of Time, ancient fibers that allow the user to navigate the space-time continuum, that have been spread across the world by Aku in an effort to hide them from our protagonist. Thankfully, the one single thread that Jack now has in his possession will mystically draw him to the other threads (much like Marvels Infinity Gems) ultimately allowing him to travel back far enough to undo the havoc Aku has wrecked upon the Earth. This week’s Ben 10 #1 showed a chink in the armour of the Cartoon Network line-up of comics – given how strong the first issue of Samurai Jack was, does the second issue hold up the watermark of high quality?
This issue highlights the core of what was great about the cartoon – a stand alone issue in which our hero must use his wits, ingenuity, skill and bravery to overcome an obstacle and move one small step closer to finally ridding the world of his nemesis. It’s uncanny how spot-on Zub has gotten Jacks voice – you can hear Phil Lamarrs voice reading the wordballoons aloud in your head. Every one of his lines reads like exactly what Jack would say in that given situation. The crux of this issue focuses more on action than on the over-arching plot thread (pun intended.) While it doesn’t reach the masterful heights of Jack and the Three Blind Archers (still to this day 25 minutes of perfect television) the action scenes are still inventive with the antagonists having an interesting gimmick. It could be argued that too much time is spent on the action scenes but when the choreography is this good it would seemingly defeat the purpose of the issue to have any less action.
Suriano continues to prove his ability to capture the essence of Samurai Jack, breaking out of the traditional panel structure on more than one occasion – just as the show was known for experimenting with the half-hour cartoon format. The Jack-verse is full of unique and imaginative creatures and monsters and they are definitely present and accounted for. I can only imagine this book must be either a dream or a nightmare for artists to work on – having to come up with so many different monsters must have it’s Pros and Cons but Suriano seems to be completely at home with that specific task. Josh Burcham is back colouring, shifting his pallet slightly to reflect the more desolate location that Jack has found himself in this time. All three of the covers are fantastic – though for my money the best of them is the Subscription exclusive cover – depicting a lonesome Jack walking seemingly endless sand dunes. Atmospheric and symbolic of Jacks endless quest; I’d pay for a poster sized print of that cover to hang on my wall.
This issue lacks the scope and depth of the previous issue – more of a vignette with ties to the larger story but it’s exactly that kind of story that Jack excels at. The series was never about Jack defeating Aku – that was a battle that could never have happened, rather it was about the journey leading up to that point and the same holds true here. If this is indicative of what we can expect of the ongoing then I’ll be picking it up every month – and I’ll be eager to do so.
The writer of this piece was: David McIntyre aka (Big Dave)
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