Usagi Yojimbo #16
Written by: Stan Sakai
Art by: Stan Sakai
Colors by: Hi-Fi Design
Letters by: Stan Sakai
Usagi Yojimbo #16 is a jam-packed issue — during which Stan Sakai begins the “Tengu War Part 1” arc, setting up what promises to be yet another epic battle for our floppy eared protagonist.
One thing that jumps out in Usagi Yojimbo #16 is the limited amount of dialogue in the first half of the issue, combined with intense level of action. Similar to Usagi Yojimbo #15, the title’s latest issue relies heavily on flashbacks. While those can be convoluted and tend to be overused throughout comics, that’s not the case here. With Usagi Yojimbo #16 and the previous issue, the use of flashbacks have helped build the story, setting up the upcoming battle.
We learn a lot in this issue. We learn of the dreaded Tengu — who they are and why they are seeking revenge. We learn more of the relationship between Usagi and Sojobo, and more of Sojobo’s mysterious past. We also learn of a secret that Usagi has been holding on to that has been teased throughout this current run.
It is Usagi’s honor that is once again on full display in this issue. He’s given plenty of opportunities to walk away from a battle where there appears to be little chance to win. Sensi Sojobo dives deep into this history of the Tengu and tells Usagi of his recent, intense encounter with them. The Tengu are fierce and out for blood.
We’ve seen Usagi with his back against the wall before and come out victorious, but it feels like things might go differently this time around.