Friday, 31 May 2019

ReadItDaddy's YA / Adult Graphic Novel of the Week - Week Ending 31st May 2019: "Lone Wolf and Cub Omnibus Volume 1" by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima (Dark Horse Comics)

(This is an Adult / YA comic review due to the nature of the content within this amazing graphic novel - Not suitable for kids!)

Lately I've made it my business to read a lot more comics. Not just the new stuff, but tracking down and sourcing reasonably priced versions of stuff I really feel I ought to have read by now.

I have actually read "Lone Wolf and Cub" by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima before, but only single issues. Never the whole blisteringly brilliant 712 page long first volume so when ComiXology had these for a ludicrously low price recently, I had to hoover 'em up.

Co creator Kazuo Koike recently passed away, but without a doubt he and Goseki Kojima created one of the most amazingly cinematic comics ever. Not just drawing on filmic influences like Kurosawa, but delving deep into original Manga sources from ancient Japanese folklore, turning stories of revenge and intrigue into chaotic but amazingly solid comic strips, the like of which you'll never see again.

"Lone Wolf and Cub" have to be the ultimate dad-and-kid team. A bouncing 3 year old and a gritty kick-ass sword-for-hire Ronin with a weapon-filled baby carriage and a quite frightening array of different mastered sword and spear techniques, making him the ultimate warrior.

Each of the epic tales within the first volume of the omnibus edition really takes comic storytelling to another level, and even if you're not really a fan of samurai stuff, you can't fail to be impressed with the sheer scope of what Koike and Kojima crammed into their comic spreads.

Heroically bad parenting, but are you gonna tell him because we're certainly not!
Wrought in glorious ink work which I'd absolutely LOVE to have the skills to be able to render, each tale unfolds with the seemingly unstoppable and indescructible Lone Wolf being vastly underestimated by one foe after another, as they fall for his rather scary bad-parenting of sticking his 3 year old out as bait, to lull agressors into a false sense of security, before largely lopping their heads / legs / their horse's legs off. Oh yes, it doesn't pull any punches, and is definitely not for a younger audience!

Er, if I was you, gents, I'd pack up and go home. Stuff all that honour biznizz, just go home. 
The action scenes are brutal, visceral. but dazzling. Even in quieter moments these awesome creators manage to conjure up so much rich detail that each volume needs reading and re-reading several times.

Oh and...ahem...there's nudity at times. Worth stating that up front. Bit saucy in places but then if you have ever seen any original Japanese Manga from the 15th / 16th century, it's not exactly backwards at coming forwards either.

This is the sort of stuff that you don't need to tell people you've read, you need to get out there and source a copy and get right into it. It's damned fantastic.

"Lone Wolf and Cub Omnibus Volume 1" by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima is out now, published by Dark Horse Comics (Self purchased - not supplied for review).