cover image Afro Samurai, Volume 1

Afro Samurai, Volume 1

Takashi Okazaki, . . Tor/Seven Seas, $10.99 (170pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-2123-7

Set in an odd world that blends feudal Japan with some modern technological accents, this source manga for the hit animated series follows the title character's quest for vengeance against the Empty Brothers, a cadre of warrior monks who killed his father in order to have one of their own claim the title and powers of the “strongest man in the world.” The unnamed hero—who is referred to either as “Afro” or “No. 2”—wades his way through violent and episodic sword fights and mayhem common to the wandering samurai genre and as such it's entertaining enough, but few answers and little character development are in this inaugural installment. That's not to say Okazaki's graffiti-influenced art style and scripting are not entertaining, but there's not much more here than clashing steel and macho posturing occasionally interrupted by bits of dialogue heralding what a badass Afro is. Presumably the story will gather more narrative meat as it progresses. (Sept.)