Review: 47 Ronin #5

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THE EPIC FINALE! Mike Richardson and Stan Sakai’s breathtaking account of Japan’s most famous historical legend reaches its extra-length conclusion, as Lord Asano’s loyal retainers take their revenge!

roninDark Horse’s retelling of Japan’s most famous legend comes to an end this month in a giant-sized finale. Book five 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. You may know how the story ends, but does Richardson’s retelling finish strong?

The loyal retainers of lord Asano have spent the better part of a year planning out how and when they would seek revenge for their slain master. Kira has been hiding in his compound fearful of what would happen to him. The night has finally come and the 47 Ronin start their attack. The majority of the issue is the assault on Kira’s home and the fight the Ronin face as they search for the man. After the deed is done, we see how their story has spread and the 47 men have become legends. The Shogun is faced with a tough decision. He must decide whether the men must be sentenced to death, or the justification of their actions and their loyalty to Asano in carrying it out will mean they are innocent. As the judgment is rendered, the 47 samurai accept it happily. The final pages go back to the older man who sat down at the temple to tell the priest the story of the loyal retainers.

Richardson stays true to the original legend and presents a stellar finale. The story has been great, but this issue gives us the action scenes that we’ve been waiting to see. Things were building from the start, but the plan is finally carried out in a flurry of steel. Sakai’s art has been consistent and fantastic the whole way through. He gets a chance to offer up several big action scenes that are elevated even further with Kindzierski’s colors.

Bottom Line: 47 Ronin has been nothing short of phenomenal. Richardson and Sakai retell the story with respect to the original while still offering up a fresh take. It ends with a bang. 5/5

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