Lone Wolf and Cub Vol. 1

Published by Dark Horse Comics
Titled in Japanese as Kozure Okami, Lone Wolf and Cub is a manga series written by Kazuo Koike and illustrated by Goseki Kojima originally published in 1970. Republished in the west by Dark Horse comics, Frank Miller and Lynn Varley paired for the cover art. The series that culminates in the 28th volume  became an influential read as it tells the story of a timeless and epic samurai adventure. This first volume The Assassin's Road gives us a glimpse of the classically themed father-and-son tandem carving a road of revenge in the Japanese Era of the Shogunate while serving as assassins for hire to earn a living.

This first volume is composed of 9 parts. The first part begins in the middle of the story until reaching the final part where it all began. You will see why the two chose to walk the most dangerous and treacherous path to clear the name of an executioner and avenge the demise of a clan. The era of the Tokugawa Shogunate was one of the momentous period in the history of Japanese Monarchy since it was during these times when majority of the order of samurai (Bushi) became renegades (Ronin) due to their lord's eventual demise (Daimyo). The Shogun controled the Daimyo lords with an iron fist, but not for long when some of them resisted. When an executioner failed to perform his duty to kill a Daimyo for the Shogun, he was ordered to sacrifice his life, or be killed. The samurai executioner chose to live, and swore to clear his name and avenge the extinction of his Ogami Clan. His name is Ogami Itto.

But Ogami Itto cannot leave his son alone, given that his wife was already killed with his clan. The young Daigoro must choose to be with his mother's side, or be with his father taking the road to "hell." Daigoro chooses to be with his father. How Ogami Itto allow his son to choose between a sword and a ball is a very memorable scene of the whole book.
page 186, bottom panel
I give the story 4 stars and the illustration 3.5 stars to earn the overall (rounded off) rating of 4 stars out of five. This whole series is actually an inspiration of various forms of visual storytelling since a film adaptation was already made (and remade) in Japan years ago including the Hollywood film Road To Perdition starring Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law, and Daniel Craig. It was arguably Tom Hank's darkest role to date.
page 66
One of the early Japanese film adaptations
Hollywood version starring Tom Hanks & Paul Newman

Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 packs of wolves out of 5

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