Review: 47 Ronin #4
After months of meticulous planning, Lord Asano’s retainers launch a daring midnight raid on the man who brought his ruin and death. The moment of reckoning arrives in this penultimate chapter of Mike Richardson and Stan Sakai’s authentic take on Japan’s greatest historical legend!
47 Ronin continues this week from Dark Horse. Book four is written by Mike Richardson with art by Stan Sakai. Kazuo Koike serves as editorial consultant with Lovern Kindzierski handling colors. Tom Orzechowski and Lois Buhalis rounds out the cast with lettering. The book comes out every other month. Is this issue worth the wait or has it lost a little momentum?
The opening chapter of this issue is entitled Disgrace. The late Lord Asano’s council and Chamberlain, Oishi, is living a life of debauchery. He has turned his back on the code of the samurai and instead took up drinking and prostitutes. We see him living in the gutters and even going so far as to divorce his wife and disown his children, but we know as hard as it is it’s just a part of his plan. He, and the other retainers for that matter, are trying to lull Kira into a false sense of security. It’s working too. Kira releases the extra men he hired to protect him. Oishi knows now is the time to get their revenge for Asano. He assembles the remaining retainers loyal to Asano to take up arms and attack Akira at his new home. The plans that have been months and months in the making are about to unfold. Has Oishi used his time wisely, or has the passage of time harmed their cause?
Richardson writes another great issue. There has been a lot of build-up with the series. To tell the story you have to spend the time setting things up and exploring the characters. This issue is the one that gives us the action we’ve been waiting for. Battle preparations are really starting now and next issue promises the 47 Ronin truly unleashed to get revenge. Sakai’s art is great as always. The one fight scene we have this issue is handled perfectly with some amazing blood splatter. Sakai is mainly known for his Usagi Yojimbo series, but his transition to completely human characters has been superb.
Bottom Line: 47 Ronin has been a beautiful retelling of a legendary story. Richardson and Sakai have pulled off something truly special with this series. It remains faithful to the original while doing something different with the presentation. You can see why it ships every other month, but it does lose a little heat with space. This is one that will read amazingly well as a trade 5/5