William Rosenthal ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Samurai Jack #2 rolls in line with its debut as IDW’s interpretation of Cartoon Network’s hit series. For more about its #1 issue, please check out my review of it.
Starting with the cover, this issue receives three variants. The A cover features series artist Andy Suriano’s line work. My opinion on it is the same as the internal art, so this reviewer picked up the other two covers.
The B cover by Rily Rossmo, simply put, oozes cool. Jack stands in swirling clouds with thick, black outlines coming up around his feet while effortlessly slicing through robot snakes. As well, Rossmo adds these campy, comic details like purple lightning and dot matrix shading.
Then there’s the subscriber-only by series creator Genndy Tartakovsky. If one cover could sum up its series, this is it. Jack walks alone over mounds of sand, but the textures change as they near the foreground. They differ in color but become increasingly soft and organic until it becomes alien and fur-like. This is much like Jack’s travels through the future, as he finds himself in situations which only become more foreign.
Moving into the issue, so far Jim Zub’s interpretation is on a trend of “villain of the week” stories. He’s trying to establish his own vision of the character’s journey,
so this is in no way invalid, but a noticeable change from Tartakovsky’s version. This week, Jack encounters the twins Dis and Dat, two thugs who control a small
town using fear, but they possess a thread of time, so Jack must defeat them to retrieve it.
This a very basic bad guy. Everything about them feels derivative. They’re greedy and mean and twins, so they finish each other’s sentences and rhyming names.
They could fit into any other cartoon or comic and don’t add or play off Jack’s character.
Besides them, the issue was very “by the numbers.” It moves through the motions and ends expectedly. If you’re looking for a gripping plot with twists, then this isn’t the place to look. Like the last issue, this reads like popcorn: very quick with a moderately low pay off.
The art is still suitable. While it still works like a loose fitting glove, it grows on you. There are some great splash pages and repeating panels, but it has the habit of going too orange and making everything look like it’s sunset or sunrise.
Although, looking at the line work, Rossmo does some really nice work with blues in the calmer scenes. At one point, Rossmo tones down his style during a close up on Jack which really played on his strengths. His thick lines and shaky lines for shading add an aged, tired look to the character.
After reading this issue, I await to see how Zub plans on ending the arc. Both issues run with a common thread, but unless they gain some other depth besides the monthly villains, then it’s not going to last in my stack for much longer. I give Samurai Jack #2 a 2 out of 5 with one of those stars for its cover variants.