Back when I was a kid, I grew up watching Samurai Jack, which is in my opinion, one of the best animated series ever made. It was created by Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory, Hotel Transylvania). It follows a brave, stoic samurai prince who’s been thrown into the future by Aku, a demonic spirit, and he’s trying to get back home by fighting robots, bounty hunters and Aku, himself. What stood out to me was how cinematic in scope and pacing it was compared to every other cartoon on Cartoon Network at the time. A lot of the themes from martial arts, anime and samurai are juxtaposed with the dystopian futuristic setting. It was sophisticated entertainment…then it got taken off the air.
Jack, like a lot of great series, ended way too soon. I was left wondering will it ever get a resolution?
Well, I got my wish this week when I picked up Samurai Jack, Vol.1 by Jim Zub. It’s the long-awaited continuation of the series. This story collects the first five issues where Jack is searching for the threads of time, an ancient relic, which could be his passage home. Zub does an excellent job adding to the mythos by introducing some new villains such as Queen Krystle, an ageless ice queen (Elsa before Elsa was cool!) & Dis and Dat, two twin cat martial artists who give Jack a run for his money and of course, Aku appears in the fifth issue and this volume ends just like every other episode. Jack, once again coming up short in his quest to return home.
The art is phenomenal, it stays true to the show with it’s minimalist, outline-free aesthetic and the action translates beautifully on the page. There’s also a terrific foreword by Phil LaMarr, who lent his voice to Jack in the series.
For too long, Jack’s fate has been up in the air. “Will he get back home?” “Will he put an end to Aku?”. If you’ve missed Samurai Jack since it went off the air more than a decade ago. This comic is the answer. I felt like I was twelve years old again. Jack is back, baby!