Samurai Jack #8 (Comics Review)

With their first arc on Samurai Jack, writer Jim Zub and artist Andy Suriano delivered something truly wonderful, recalling all the best aspects of the Genndy Tartakovsky-created original animated series. And then, in the last few months, we’ve seen guest artist Brittney Williams deliver her own take on things as she tackled a story where Samurai Jack and the Scotsman are gender-swapped. All the issues of this arc were really great and I became a Brittney Williams fan. Now it looks like we are back to the serialised stories, and that’s fine with me too.

Samurai Jack #8 is an issue where we see Aku getting up to his old tricks again. As you can now doubt see from the cover, Samurai Jack ends up fighting his own doppelgangers and it truly is an amazing issue as Jim and Andy deliver on some really excellent action that is typical Samurai Jack. And more than that, there is also a very surprising twist to the entire story, something we really haven’t seen in this series to date, and that’s what makes this issue really, really good.

Samurai Jack 008Ah, Andy Suriano, the master of amazing covers. This particular cover for this new issue is one that I absolutely love, just as I love all the other covers for this series, whether main covers or the variants. Andy goes for a two-tone colour palette here, and he really pulls it off. All the different versions of Samurai Jack are nicely rendered in this composition.

The story here is pretty simple: Samurai Jack goes to a city to take some well-deserved rest in a hotel. But while he is sleeping peacefully, Aku arrives out of nowhere and spirits him away to the nearby Caves of Crystal Calamity, which is a cave of mirrors where doppelgangers materialise as soon as one touches the mirrors on the crystal walls. And so, Samurai Jack ends up fighting twisted parodies of his own form, and the results are quite intense and definitely not pretty.

In a story like this, you’d expect there to be a lot of dialogue, but as it turns out, this is a silent issue. We have zero bits of dialogue, only the lettered sounds of laughter and swordfighting action. That was something I was rather unprepared for and something that I really ended up enjoying. It gives a whole new perspective to the story, where the the overwhelming majority of the legwork is done by the art and how well the story flows. Jim Zub did well to make this a physical action story since there’s no dialogue or narration here, since it really allows him to flex his writerly skills. Different twisted doppelgangers materialise and Samurai Jack has to fight all of them in turn and together.

In previous issues, Jim Zub hasn’t been shy in pitting Samurai Jack against some next-to-impossible physical challenges and this issue is no different from that. We know that Jack is a superb swordsman and he has gone up against and defeated some really skilled foes before. But the question here becomes whether or not he can succeed against someone every bit as skilled as he is, if not more so, and whether he can come out of it intact and whole.

The silent nature of the story means that we don’t get to see Jack’s internal thinking and that was something I missed but not overmuch because I just totally got lost in the story as it unfolded page by page. And the thing is that you can almost imagine what the dialogue is going to be like and that in itself is pretty damn good.

Andy Suriano returns to the series this month and Josh Burcham is still on for the colours. Like I said, the art has to do all the legwork here, so as expected, Andy and Josh are in fine form here. Each doppelganger is different from the other and you can really feel Jack’s desperation as more and more doppelgangers join the fight the longer it goes on. As much as I loved Brittney Williams for her brief 3-issue stay, it is still great to see Andy back in action and for him to do an issue like this as soon as he is back is just golden. Perfectly handled all the way in.

Samurai Jack #8 is definitely an awesome issue and I really wish that the story was longer!

Rating: 9.5/10

More Samurai Jack: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6.

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Posted on May 29, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

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