Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer’s Road (#1 – 6) – Stan Sakai

5 out of 5

Representing and coloring the early Fantagraphics issues, previously collected in volume 3 of their trades – Wanderer’s Road – hence our subtitle here.

The stories this covers were, and still are, perfect, leaning a bit toward the comical, but not without massively dramatic issues – Jei! – wondrous action, some over-arching plot additions, as we hear more about Hikiji, and… Gen. Love that Gen.

Ronda Pattison, as proven in the previous Color Classics, has really settled into a flat, but bold coloring style that works perfectly for Stan’s early, squishier look. In issue 6, Pattison starts to experiment ever-so-slightly – dimming the colors a bit; using careful, organic looking blends – very Tom Luth-y. The palette in this issue is maybe a bit too “poppy” for my tastes here and there, but I think the direction is a good one, and I’m excited to see how the next reprint run is colored.

Peach Momoko as cover artist was also an amazing selection – each issue’s offering is absolutely pinup worthy, and I love that Peach varied the direction of the images and angling of the “camera;” very dynamic, gorgeous stuff.