March 4, 2011

Marvel Reviews: 5 Ronin #1

5 Ronin #1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Tomm Coker
Cover: David Aja

“The Way of the One”: Honestly, this was a series that I wasn’t going to even look at beyond David Aja’s fantastic covers. Though after lying on the couch sick this past week, I ended up watching a lot of Samurai based anime and movies, so I took that as a sign and decided to at least give the first issue a try. The only thing that I actually knew about the 5 Ronin mini-series was that Wolverine, Deadpool, Psylocke, Hulk, and Punisher are ronin samurai, and each issue would focus on a particular character.

The first issue takes us to the year 1600, and during a battle Wolverine’s master has been killed and he’s now a ronin samurai roaming the countryside. What is also traveling the countryside are stories about a samurai who can’t die, which may seem to fit what we already know about Logan. However, Peter Milligan has a few surprises in store for the reader as he brings much more to the story than what I was expecting. Maybe it’s because we’ve seen Logan in this role many times over the years, but I will say that there is definitely an original twist here. The story itself is well paced and one that manages to be more of an emotional tale fueled by betrayal and revenge.

Coker’s artwork accomplished the visual storytelling needed to enhance Milligan’s script on just about every page. Actually, I’ll say that there were several pages where the words were very unnecessary. That’s no slight against Milligan’s skill as a writer, but just praise to the artist who is strong enough to tell the story within his panels just as clearly. Coker’s style along with Daniel Freedman’s colors just immerse you in the time period, and I’m glad that detail was put into backgrounds as much as focusing on the characters. From the calm scenes to the visceral fights between samurai, it’s one good looking book.

Now, I wasn’t sure if these stories would interconnect, but since Deadpool showed up in this issue, I’m going to assume they are. Which hopefully will make for a better series than a bunch of one-shots of the heroes in feudal Japan wandering around. For a series that held no interest for me, Peter Milligan definitely has drawn me into his 5 Ronin series. So if you’re interested in Wolverine, samurai, feudal Japan, and a good story, then I suggest you see what this issue is bringing to the table!

Till next time!

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Infinite Speech



  1. Kristin

    When I saw this in…I guess comixology’s new release list…I thought, “Oh, sweet, an old fashioned, artsy, samurai story!” Then I realized that it was really just another way for Marvel to rewrite their regular characters, and I lost interest. Had it been an original story with original characters I might have checked it out, but I’m kind of tired of stories like this which take their popular characters and slap them into various eras of time.

  2. I think the closest thing to what you were expecting that came out of Marvel was when they released Samurai which was originally from Soleil Comics out of Europe but this was the first time it was in English in North America. It was pretty good and it’s from Jean-Francois Di Giorgio with art from Frédéric Genêt. Another good Samurai tale comes from Ron Marz in Samurai Heaven and Earth and that was released through Dark Horse.

  3. Billy

    @Speech- well, it does sound like it has some good qualities moving forward. I might just have to get this even if only for the artowrk!

  4. I’m actually hoping that some of these covers are made into posters

  5. […] Way of the Monk”: After the introduction of Wolverine in the last issue, we now shift over to the Hulk’s appearance in the 5 Ronin series. Or more specifically, a […]

  6. […] story can appreciate it. For a more in-depth review of this issue by our very own Infinite Speech, click here. […]

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