usagi yojimbo

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Usagi Yojimbo #164 comic reviewThe middle chapter of “The Mouse Trap” picks up with Usagi‘s attacker delivering the rabbit ronnin to the Black Goblin Gang where the quick intervention of Inspector Ishida and the thief Nezumi prevent a groggy Usagi from meeting an inglorious end. Although Ishida is able to save his friend, Usagi is able to overhear a bit of the underlings talk about the hidden true head of the gang, and several members are killed by our heroes, Usagi and Ishida don’t learn about the next attack of the Black Goblin Gang until it is too late.

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Opening with Kitsune in jail for a murder she did not commit, a situation that doesn’t agree with the thief, the concluding half of “The Body in the Library” offers Miyamoto Usagi and Inspector Ishida‘s investigation into the the second of two recent murders and the theft of precious foreign medicine.

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Available at Wal-Mart, this new 12in. Usagi Yojimbo figure comes complete with two swords and a whole lot of awesome and can be yours for the low, low price of $12.97. New 5in. figures of the rabbit ronin have also been released as part of the new Tales of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line from Playmates.

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After several months Usagi Yojimbo returns with the first issue in a new two-part story. Opening with Kitsune breaking into a wealthy doctor’s house only to discover the man dead, and temporarily being accused of his murder, Usagi Yojimbo #161 offers up a double-homicide for Miyamoto Usagi and Inspector Ishida to solve when their primary suspect in the first murder turns up poisoned in the same manner as the doctor.

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The single-issue tale tackles the dangerous delicacy of Fugu when a friend of Miyamoto Usagi is accused of poisoning one of his most valued customers. After the shogun’s agent turns up dead from eating improperly prepared pufferfish, Usagi steps in to help Inspector Ishida in the investigation which quickly points to other suspects when the pair discover the original Fugu had been replaced before it ever made it to its victim.

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The single-issue story “The Hatamoto’s Daughter” begins with the death of a samurai by a band of ruffians deep in the forest. Hiding his daughter, and proof of illegal matters the gang’s leader wants returned, the man is cut down. Finding the young girl hours later, a wandering Miyamoto Usagi takes it upon himself to see her safely delivered to Inspector Ishida in the closest town.

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“The Secret of the Hell Screen” concludes as Miyamoto Usagi and Inspector Ishida lay a trap to capture those responsible for the pair of recent murders at the temple which houses the most bizarre piece of art Usagi has ever come across in his travels.

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“The Secret of the Hell Screen” continues as Miyamoto Usagi and Inspector Ishida continue to investigate the odd deaths surrounding the bizarre piece of art that even the son of its creator believes is cursed and needs to be destroyed. No closer to answers, Usagi’s dreams begin to make the rabbit ronin wonder if there isn’t some truth to the curse of the Hell Screen. Worth a look.

[Dark Horse, $3.99]

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Rain-soaked and road-weary, Usagi arrives at the Temple of the Golden Buddha (home to a most unusual piece of art depicting the nature of Hell). At first turned away by a over-zealous guard, Usagi refuses to leave which leads to a reunion with his old friend Inspector Ishida who has arrived to investigate a murder an decide the fate of the temple. With factions wanting both the temple to remain open or to be closed, and the victim killed in a manner Ishida can’t identify, the inspector asks for Usagi’s help on the case.

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Following a chance encounter, Miyamoto Usagi chooses to join Yamaguchi Kyosai on what should be an easy assignment to escort a merchant to trade negotiations. Well… easy until Usagi learns that the merchant fears an attack from Lord Hikiji. Of course he’s right to be be concerned as the hired guns are quickly dispensed with in a surprise attack by Komori Ninja.

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