|From 47 Ronin written by Mike Richardson with art by Stan Sakai (page 7).|
The subtitle, "The Tale of the Loyal Retainers," as well as the introduction early on of the character of Oishi, a retainer to the issues protagonist, Lord Asano, foreshadows the events to come. I suspect that the eventual murder of Lord Asano (which results in his vassals or retainers becoming leaderless, or ronin) strongly hinted in at issue's end, will set in motion the loyal retainer's revenge.
As one might expect given the story's content, the comic book's pace is very deliberate, allowing for the character's personality traits to be revealed through dialogue and action rather than the ultra-dynamic staccato pace of some "action/adventure" books. With Sakai's beautiful artwork, each page unrolls to move the story forward in a way that reverently sets the stage for the mayhem I am expecting to follow. Upon first glance the later pages can appear too wordy to the general reader, but the language and care taken in using the dialogue to further establish character and motivation allows to read very easily.
Dark Horse Comics mini-series 47 Ronin is a beautifully executed introduction to both feudal Japan and, for me, a reintroduction to Stan Sakai's wonderful storytelling skills. Unfortunately for my pocket book, I now have an inkling to go back seven years and re-begin reading Usagi Yojimbo!