Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #4
Words and Pictures:
Today we get a lesson in Story Telling 101: How It’s Done.
Stan Sakai is able to make every panel count in his stories. We open in the close confines of the wrecked building where Usagi and Tomoe are trapped. Even in these close quarters and under threat of imminent peril, Stan has Usagi and Tomoe get very personal, while maintaining forward momentum. He does all this without moving his characters out of these confines for at least nine pages. That’s a lot of time to spend trapped yet the energy sustains the limited environment without feeling like a bunch of talking head panels.
Next we move out to the confrontation with the aliens. This is frying pan/fire type stuff where there isn’t much time to react, Usagi and Tomoe do. We’ve seen Stan illustrate large, open field battles, but this time the fight is inside the alien ship with restricted space. Solid fight against overwhelming odds, and then, Bam! Stan changes gears mid fight when Usagi learns of those who have perished so far in this invasion. It’s these switches between full on action to context and character focus that could be very jarring if not handled correctly.
Next is one of my favorite scenes, where Hebi encounters a returning Lord Hikiji. This may be one of my favorite scenes in this issue. I’m not going to ruin it for you let’s just say that Hebi is bad ass through and through.
Bottom line is, Stan Sakai is able to tell an action packed tale of alien invasion while still maintain poignant personal moments with absolutely no filler. This is storytelling 101. And if you haven’t got on board with this yet, you are missing out.
4.75 out of 5 Hebi Slams