I'm actually finding a bit of a pattern going on this week. I bought Sakura Samurai for the 3DS earlier and I also bought 5 Ronin, a comic about 5 Marvel heroes reimagined as samurai. Yeah, this week is about samurai.
Sakura Samurai is by no means new. It's been around the eShop for a while. I knew it looked like some sort of Punch-Out but with samurai set up but I severely underestimated just how fun the combat could get. As soon as you get comfortable with the first few enemies and how they set up cues for their attacks, new enemies pop up with more new attacks you'll have to be ready for. You'll have to learn new cues in order to backstep and sidestep your way to victory as you cut fools down to size with your trusty sword.
As for 5 Ronin, I found it enjoyable, though I can't believe I missed a huge, glaring tear on the first page. It also wasn't nearly as good as I thought it was, but it's pretty much a one-shot, so it's pretty good for that.
The characters are reimagined but not perfectly transplanted. Powers, for example, are reinterpreted to fit the setting of a feudal era Japan. For example, the weakest story, Wolverine, obviously does not have some magic healing factor. Something else is done to interpret his ability to come back from death but without spoiling it, the idea is kind of weak and the story overall flails due to its reliance on it. Meanwhile, Punisher, who has always been kind of a weak fit in the Marvel universe, thrived on the new setting. Take the classic soldier with no war view but now he's a Japanese samurai. It's perfect really. a samurai who returns home to find his family dead and swears bloody, ronin vengeance on the people responsible. Only instead of dressing black, he dresses in white, the color death wears in Japanese folklore. Hulk was also interesting, as the monk who seeks inner peace totally works. Only instead of actually hulking out, the monk simply loses himself in battle. All his meditation for truth erodes as he immerses himself too much into battle, where he becomes less of a man and more of a monster, killing all those who stand in his path.
Psylocke was kind of meh. Not a whole lot of action happens. We just kind of see where she's going with her whole deal, makes a few things happen, and boom, she's in a skimpy kimono. Mission accomplished?
Deadpool was a wandering character in between all the stories, acting as a pivot for important moments. He truly plays the part of an insane fool. He's also supposed to be the most dangerous fool alive. He certainly fulfilled his part of being a fool. But when it comes to being dangerous, we don't really see that until the end. It was a good end though, but we never really see the extent of it. We see a lot of his handiwork off screen then we see him start proper a little bit but as soon as we get entrenched in it, it's over sooner before it started.
The thing I feel worst of it is that I paid $18 for the hardcover and found it digitally on Comixology for $9. Plus it has a huge glaring tear. I feel all the feels bro.
Luckily, I also got Hawkeye alongside it and it is undoubtedly good. Matt Fraction is responsible for making a lot of B-list Marvel heroes awesome, doing it first with the Immortal Iron Fist and doing it again with Hawkeye. Only the trade I got, collecting issues 1-5 anyways, aren't about Hawkeye. That's what's most interesting. It's about Clint Barton. What Clint Barton does in his spare time when he's not an Avenger saving the world. Clint Barton gets into a lot of trouble in his spare time it turns out. It always looks bad for him. But in the end, there's nothing a little improvising, a couple of trick arrows, and a feisty rich girl protoge can't solve.
I mean, there's something awesome about Hawkeye. He doesn't have super powers. Hell, he doesn't even have superhuman reflexes to benefit his bow use. He's just the guy with a bow and uncanny accuracy. Sure, he literally has a 100% accuracy rating that borders on supernatural with an asterisk next said score accounting for energy barriers or phasing or whatever that can screw with it but he's on the same team as green man who can probably eat a Buick and a scruffy man who can be run over by ten Buicks and wouldn't give a fuck. But here's Clint Barton, on his day off, saving a dog and buying a sweet Chevy. Granted it's more complicated than that because Russian gangsters are involved but still, Clint lives a life outside of the Avengers after all. You thought Spider-Man has it rough with a dual lifestyle? At least he has a Spider-Sense. Hawkeye doesn't have anything so when he falls out a building, you better believe he's spending six weeks in a hospital. Healing Factor he does not have.
Do yourself a favor and check out Hawkeye by Matt Fraction. The trade is specifically Hawkeye: My Life As a Weapon. It's great.