Usagi Yojimbo: The Goblin of Adachigahara (#6, UY #244) – Stan Sakai

5 out of 5

A simple, but layered tale; a retelling / expansion of the first Usagi story for the character’s 35th anniversary.

As Usagi visits the grave of his long dead master – Mifune – he senses someone following him. A sudden snowstorm has him take refuge in an old woman’s cabin nearby, and creator Stan Sakai ties both this reflected-upon history and current events to a tale of the titular goblin that he relates in the issue’s backmatter.

While I don’t know that Usagi has ever been marketed as a kid’s comic, it certainly has elements: the general morality; the dashes of slapstick; the cute animals.  But it’s with stories such as this one, with emotional dives into honor, and obsession, and then the tense, bloody action, that reminds how effective this book can be at telling an impactful, concise story.  And I say “reminds,” but Stan has done this surprisingly often in those 35 years, inbetween delightful expansions of his world and its inhabitants.

Another perfect one-shot.