Usagi Yojimbo: Toad Oil (#134, UY #193) – Stan Sakai

4 out of 5

Even when things are pretty serious, if Kitsune is involved, they can’t be that serious. Not that Toad Oil is serious at all, but seeing Kitsune right up front – spouting Hoi hoi hoi! to get her crowd of suckers’ attentions as she hocks the titular oil – is a good sign we’ll be in for some chuckles, and then when some 3 Stooges proxies show up, assisting Kiyoko and her teacher in their latest scam, you know this is going to be all out hijinx.

And they’re great hijinx. Usagi knows the beats well enough by now, and steps in when appropriate to “protect” Kitsune, who’s demure act thereafter is hilarious. Stan’s art is a little looser than in previous issues, but it’s matching to the lighter tone and works wonderfully to keep things moving. I do wish he would’ve leaned in to the 3 Stooges bit more, beyond just using their likenesses, but this is fantastic Usagi comfort food – understanding what we’re in for nearly right from the start, and letting the masterful Sakai guide us along.