Written by Mark Henely
Going in, I knew next to nothing about it. I knew that Usagi Yojimbo was the main character and that he was a samurai and a rabbit. I knew that it was in black and white and that it had been running steadily for a very long time. I also knew that it was known to be very good, so I expected good things.
And, I would have to say that I received good things. Usagi Yojimbo #158 is a stand alone story that is supposed to be an entry point of sorts for the reader and it works as such. Readers get a window into who Usagi is as a character without spoiling any major plot points from previous stories. This is a great feature for this comic to have because there is an entire back catalog of graphic novels that are just waiting to be read by new readers. Prospective readers can buy this one issue and get a good idea if Usagi Yojimbo is something that they would be looking for.
The thing that really works for me with this issue in particular is that it relies on known samurai story tropes without totally playing out how one would expect it to. This felt like it could be an issue of Rurouni Kenshin. However, when you get to the end, you see that it is really a larger story about the life cycle and the strength that can be found in letting go. It’s a pretty profound ending that will not be spoiled here by me today.