Summary: These authors/artists rock
Comment: I love these guys...the particular copy that I got from amazon had been stolen from a library, but the read was still good and imagine the late fees that the poor sap who sold it to me will have har har har. Seriously, its a good series and you should read it, but don't buy over 10 until I do.
Summary: An Important Volume On The Assassin's Road
Comment: Black Wind is probably the most important volume of Lone Wolf and Cub to date, as we find out the reason why Ogami Itto travels the assassin's road with his son Daigoro. The blueprint for the coming conflict with the Yagyu Clan is laid out, and Itto gains an important new weapon for his quest. As usual, creators Kazuo Koike & Goseki Kojima create a richly layered story, with dazzling action and deep characterization. Highly recommended!
Summary: We learn what Ogami Itto is up to on the Assassin's Road
Comment: When I read the first story in Volume 5 of the Lone Wolf and Cub by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima, I thought that the manga epic had finally started to level off a bit. But "Black Wind" might be the most important volume so far in the series in terms of laying out the larger scope of the story:
(24) "Trail Markers" is much shorter tale than we have been used to of late in this series. The Yagyu have discovered the symbols by which Ogami Itto is contacted by those who wish to hire an assassin and they send the man who was his chief rival for the post of Kogi Kaishakunin. Given this particular part of the epic's backstory that is revealed, I would have thought this would have occasioned a more detailed story, but this one really cuts to the quick.
(25) "Executioner's Hill" has a group of bounty hunters deciding to go after Lone Wolf & Cub. Their leader has a personal score to settle for one of the executions Ogami performed for the shogun and the group decides to capture Daigoro and trade him for his father's fortune. For the first time, we have are given a reason for why Ogami has been collection 500 ryo for each assassination.
(26) "Black Wind" certainly deserves to be the title story of Volume 5. For the first time Daigoro may well be truly happy, for he has a new father who works in the rice paddies planting the crop. The Black Wind is a south wind blowing up during the rainy season, an unusual natural force, that serves as an apt metaphor for Ogami Itto's presence in this pastoral setting. Of course, no good deed goes unpunished in Edo-period Japan.
(27) "Decapitator Asaemon" tends to confirm the hypothesis from "Executioner's Hill" regarding Ogami-Itto's master plan. The Shogunate may well believe the Yagyu set up Ogami because the coveted the post of Kogi Kaishakunin, but they are still offended by Ogami having gone Ronin. The title character of this story holds the post of Kiri-Yaku, who tests the cutting edge of the Shogun's Sashiryo sword. Considered Ogami's equal by his master, Asaemon is dispatched to end Lone Wolf's walk along the assassin's road.
(28) "The Guns of Sakai" marks what may well be an important chapter in the Lone Wolf and Cub epic. The assassin is hired to kill a gunsmith who has been making guns for other clients besides the Shogunate. However, Ogami's victim has a very interesting final request: that he be allowed to pass on his secrets to his apprentices. Ogami's agreement to this request may prove to be very significant down the assassin's road.
So while the first of these five stories is a minor piece, the other four tales supply some of the biggest pieces in the puzzle that is developing. The attention to historical detail continues to become a bigger part of the series while continuing to offers it compelling mix of ultra-violence with deep honor and paternal love. I have been reading a single story each night in an effort to savor each one. "Lone Wolf and Cub" deserves the reputation it enjoys as a classic in its field.
Summary: The prologue is over, and it's time for the first act.
Comment: Being a fan of samurai epics and manga, I had heard of "Lone Wolf and Cub" over the years and became interested in it. So when it was set to be re-published in the U.S., I wanted to see what all the talk was about. Now after reading up to this volume (and two or three volumes ahead of this one), most of the enclosed stories in this volume start to bring in a major plotline which I'm sure will last throughout the run of the series. For the beginners to the series, it's best to start back at the first volume to see how it all starts. But for those of us who have been reading the series up to this volume, this is where the payoff for the series starts. Filled with lush Black & White imagery and stunning sequences of violence, this is a must for any hardcore Manga fan!