The Battle For The Place Mats: ‘Usagi Yojimbo #9’ Reviewed

by Josh Davison

Mild Spoilers Ahead
Usagi and Chizo are ready for a night of guarding the Tatami mats with Lord Gifu’s convoy. They’ve encamped in an open field to give the Neko Clan ninjas a more difficult approach, but Kagemaru is still planning an attack regardless. The Neko Clan waits until the early hours of the morning, when the guard will be at their most exhausted–then the Neko ninjas strike. Usagi aids Gifu’s men in defending against the direct assault while Chizo confronts her old comrades, Kagemaru and Kimi.

Usagi Yojimbo #9 cover by Stan Sakai and Tom Luth
Usagi Yojimbo #9 cover by Stan Sakai and Tom Luth

Usagi Yojimbo #9 brings the “Tatami” tale to a conclusion. The Neko Clan unleash their attack against Gifu’s convoy and Usagi and Chizo are the only ones who can turn the tide in this conflict.
Much of this comic consists of the battle between Gifu’s convoy and the Neko Clan. We get to see Usagi tear through hordes of ninja while Chizo takes on both Kagemaru and Kimi. It’s a fast-moving and intense issue and there’s plenty of enjoyment to be found in the fight.
Chizo is a great character, and her relationship with Usagi and the Neko Clan makes for plenty of intrigue. There is a twist revealed in the back half of the comic that regards her and the Neko Clan. While dramatic at first, it actually calls some of what we’ve seen into question–and not in a good way.
The ending of this one is surprisingly dark. While things seem to turn out well for Usagi and Chizo, the tide quickly turns, and you’re left to wonder if anything was actually gained from this conflict.
Usagi Yojimbo #9 art by Stan Sakai and Tom Luth with letters from Stan Sakai
Usagi Yojimbo #9 art by Stan Sakai and Tom Luth with letters from Stan Sakai

As always, Stan Sakai’s artwork is top-notch and his world flows, moves, and emotes in a striking fashion. The fight scenes are intense, yet fun and the characters show ample personality in every panel. Tom Luth’s color art once again shows itself to be a good addition, adding life and vibrancy to every page of the comic.
Usagi Yojimbo #9 is another thoughtful, engaging, and all-around fun installment for this ronin rabbit comic series. While the twist in this issue doesn’t make much sense when you think about it, it’s outshined by just how good the rest of the comic is. This one easily gets a recommendation. Feel free to give it a read.
Usagi Yojimbo #9 comes to us from writer, artist, letterer, and cover artist Stan Sakai and color artist Tom Luth.
Final Score: 8.5/10

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