Trimming the collection: Bastard Samurai #1–3

Trimming the collection: Bastard Samurai #1–3

Bastard Samurai
Conceived, co-written and inked by Mike Avon Oeming
Written & co-created by Miles Gunther
Pencilled, coloured and co-created by Kelsey Shannon

The book has a cracking title and a good idea, as quoted by our protagonist: ‘I fight in black market death matches run by the Yakuza.’ Issue 1 sees some discussion about Kuji No Ito meditation, for the cerebral aspect, but we also our protagonist in well-choreographed, big fights that end up with him realising that he has killed his own brother. The next issue has him take out the enemy school of swords before going to his own school. The final issue sees him fighting his old master for most of the length of the book and killing him. Although the art is visually stylistic, dynamic and cinematic, with some artistic flourishes in places, the story seems quite slender for the three issues. I have a weakness for modern samurai stories, and Oeming has brownie points from the excellent Powers, so this book was an almost obligatory purchase. However, the narrative didn’t hold up and warrant repeat viewings; enjoyable while it lasted but the combination of the whole didn’t add up to a satisfactory experience. At least it still has a great name.

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