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Review of IDW's Samurai Jack #4

William Rosenthal ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

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Samurai Jack #4 by authors Jim Zub and Andy Suriano does something unique for the series which is defines itself as its own entity. Samurai Jack has always suffered from comparisons to the cartoon, but half way through the first arc and with the addition of some interesting plot choices, the comic series now feels different enough from the cartoon that it feels fun to read.

The stand out here is still the art by Suriano. The reader gets a feel for Jack’s personality simply from some of the early panel art. As he treks up a snowy mountain, a splash page with scenes of Jack surviving is the best example Suriano’s cartoony and fun style. Jack feels like he’s in motion and the colors remain of the blue side, giving the rare red panels a distinctive warmth. Also, Jack looks more mature than in previous issues, like this journey is finally bearing itself on him.

Some of the writing choices, however, were questionable. Aside from some crude humor, the plot feels so formulaic to where it was predictable. It goes the same way as the other issues: Jack finds where a Thread of Time is, fails the first time, tries again, finds the weakness in the enemy, wins, and collects the Thread. This issue is no exception. The use of an “enemy-of-the-month” type story scheme isn’t the problem, but the lack of variety is. The setting and faces  change, but the results never do enough. Not to mention that is month’s enemy feels like heavily charted territory.

One of the most interesting additions that comes with this issue is the voice that the Threads of Time seem to have gained. The Threads can now talk to Jack using golden speech boxes. They seem to have been directing Jack. It’s unclear for how long though, but the possibilities that arise from their presence make the future issues unpredictable.  This is the kind of unexpected moves the series should have more of, but that may come in later issues.

Emertainment gives this comic 6 out of 10.

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