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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lone Wolf and Cub begin walking the Assassin's Road, 26 Sep 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Lone Wolf and Cub Volume 1: The Assassin's Road (Lone Wolf and Cub (Dark Horse)) (Paperback)
"The Assassin's Road" represents the first nines stories in the 7000 page epic of "Lone Wolf and Cub" ("Kozure Okami") by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima. It ends up constituting something of a prologue to the epic because we do, eventually, get around to finding out the origin of the mysterious ronin assassin who travels around the Japan of the Edo period with a cart containing his infant son, Daigoro. The first several stories are somewhat formulaic; Lone Wolf is hired to kill someone who is a difficult target and uses his cunning and gile to get the job done. There appears to be an attention to detail in the samurai swordplay of the fighting sequences, but it is certainly beyond my understanding to truly appreciate. However, the calculated precision with which Lone Wolf turns seemingly impossible situations to his advantage is to me the more attractive part of these initial narratives, especially as the father keeps using his son as the key part of a brilliant strategem to position his target for death. More importantly, from the first appearance of Lone Wolf and the cart bearing the banner "Son for Hire, Sword for Hire, Suio Schoool, Itto Ogami" there is clearly a mystery to be solved. Yet as you read these first stories it is certainly hard to tell what might be clues to the secret of Lone Wolf and Cub. By the end of "The Assassin's Road" the secret is revealed, but you get the feeling that this is but the beginning of something that will become much bigger as the story continues. The result is an epic "comic book" story that sends the standard for what can be done in the graphic art form.
I lived in Japan for several years at the end of the Sixties and had the opportunity to visit some of the Edo period castles. Add to that the fact that "Shogun" is still one of my favorite all-time miniseries (and the novel was pretty good too), and the only surprise is that I should have waited this long to beginning read this classic epic comic book story. These volumes from Dark Horse Comics are published in the Japanese format, which means these volumes are the traditional size of a Japanese paperback, which is about an inch shorter from top to bottom than its American coutnerpart. Included in this first of two dozen volumes are: "Son for Hire, Sword for Hire"; "A Father Knows His Child's Heart, as Only a Child Can Know His Father's"; "From North to South, From West to East"; "Baby Cart on the River Styx"; "Suio School Zanbato"; "Waiting for the Rains"; "Eight Gates of Deceit"; "Wings to the Birds, Fangs to the Beast"; and "The Assassin's Road." The back of the book has a Glossary, profiles of the two creators, and the first installment of "The Ronin Report," which provides historical details on this period of Japanese history.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lone wolf, 15 Feb 2003
By 
E Parry (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lone Wolf and Cub Volume 1: The Assassin's Road (Lone Wolf and Cub (Dark Horse)) (Paperback)
It took me a while to get around to reading Lone Wolf and Cub because it seemed quite a heavy read. Although it can be rather full of dense dialogue at times, often it can be astonishingly minimalistic. The nine short stories in this volume mostly follow the same basic formula, centering around the assasin Ogami Itto (a.k.a Lone Wolf) being hired to kill someone, and accomplashing it through some ingenious setup. However, just when you think things are becoming formulaic, something is introduced that makes the story more compelling. The last story shows us some background to the central characters that leaves you really wanting to read further.
What makes this comic heads above others is the mature way in which it is handled. Lone Wolf is basically the classic samurai character; quiet, thoughtful, and extremely skilled, but really he is far more complex. He is not perfect either, sometimes his actions (or inactions even) seem questionable. The genius is that, rather than always trying to explain them, the reader is often left to wonder why he acts in a certain way. Through this, it becomes obvious that there is much we don't know about this character, which really draws you into the story. However, sometimes we do get to hear his thoughts and logic, each time adding a new dimension to a very complex character. Particularly fascinating is the unusual relationship he has with his son, which is developed further in later volumes.
This volume on its own can be a little frustrating, as it doesn't go into the ongoing story, and can seem rather directionless. You want to get into the full swing of things right away. These stories do have a purpose though, which is to develop the background and characters. Although seeming almost pointless, it does serve to heighten involvement in the story later on. In later volumes the stories are longer (this volume contains 9 stories in about 300 pages, others have around 4 or 5 in the same number of pages), and more complex.
Lone Wolf and Cub is a comic book that is truly for adults, regardless of the violence and "mature themes". It should be read by anyone interested in literature, not just comic books, and by people who think comic books are for kids and teenagers. This series alone will change peoples views on comics.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Short Stories., 24 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Lone Wolf and Cub Volume 1: The Assassin's Road (Lone Wolf and Cub (Dark Horse)) (Paperback)
complex character. best story (and probably most heard of) must be Cub choosing the sword instead of the ball... and thus following (and helping a lot) his father, an assasin. glossary of japanese terms is very helpful rather that full translation... which might sound akward! drawing style slightly behind time, but excellent short stories compensates all.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply stunning. Artwork, storyline, sub-plots - the best!, 12 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Lone Wolf and Cub Volume 1: The Assassin's Road (Lone Wolf and Cub (Dark Horse)) (Paperback)
This series is truly a masterpiece. The central character is complex and subtle, the storyline is riveting, and the artwork simply breathtaking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars always business,never personal, 11 Feb 2003
This review is from: Lone Wolf and Cub Volume 1: The Assassin's Road (Lone Wolf and Cub (Dark Horse)) (Paperback)
after finishing a chapter or two,i always end up, unconsciously,shadow sword fighting.i guess that's a sign of an enjoyable book,or a crazy person.kazuo koike's story is great,you find yourself on the edge,from start to finish .the ending may be predictable sometimes,but there is always surprising scenes that startles you and makes guess the ending again.
goseki kojima's art is good,you can find better ones these days,but when you realize that it was published way back in 1970,you'll appreaciate it more and hence the five star rating.
not for children,mos of the stories have an adult theme.it tells the adventures of a hitman,and his infant son,who he boldly uses in his job,most shockingly in the second chapter(a father knows his child's heart,as only a child can know his father's)and ancient japan samurai life ,with it's tough,and sometimes exaggerated rules.the rules that turned our hero to what he is now,a ruthless killer.
a very good book.a nice cover too from frank miller and lynn varley.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why You should Read this, 30 Dec 2004
By 
Mr. R. Freemantle "robafett" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lone Wolf and Cub Volume 1: The Assassin's Road (Lone Wolf and Cub (Dark Horse)) (Paperback)
The storyline is top notch, with all of the characters going about their ways in perfectly real and natural ways. Ogami Itto becomes some well known to the reader that we grow to understand his point of view and what he is trying to achieve. We come to understand that which drives him and the life he has chosen to accomplish this. He refers to himself and his son Daigoro as "evil" and "demons" at one point. This is not entirely true though. While it is correct that they are living the life that leads them on a path to the Buddhist Hell, they are fundamentally good people, and this can be seen in their actions at times, all the while sticking to his way of the assassin.
Revenge, bloodshed, emotions and feelings from ALL of the characters in it, ingenious uses of his baby cart to survive the adventures they are, a real sense of journey over the 28 volumes, a journey that you the reader get to explore too.
With many oriental comics, you will find that the panel use is much more laid out, spaced and slower. Where we in the western world might have a room and someone enter the room and dialogue, their comics might show a person in the room pouring sake from a jug, and then the sake splashing into the little drinking cup and then the people in the room. It sets every scene. Truly this style of panel layout combined with the super realistic art style of Goseki Kojima along with Kazuo Koike's delightful, sometimes heart wrenching dialogue the comic feels meditative to read. As if looking at the pages is calming you.
There is absolutely no doubt that when you have a Lone Wolf & Cub book open you are reading something that is more than manga as we know it. Those who dislike manga need not fear to tread here. Those who are interested in the Edo period of Japan will also be in for a treat, for Kazuo Koike has done his homework brilliantly! You will even learn about many Japanese customs of that time.
When you get to Volume 19's first story (as an example) and you see the scene that the storyteller has set with this tale, the complex situation that has arisen with all new characters introduced for this issue only, and then for Ogami Itto (Lone Wolf) to turn up, you are absolutely glued to the book. Here we have a remarkable situation unfolding between some villagers and the lawmen that was amazing on its own, and then when Ogami turns up on the scene you simply don't know what will happen next. Who will live? Will everyone be killed? Spared? Will he talk them out of it? The look on everyone's faces (page 58/59 - Vol 19) at his arrival are the same as my own as I read it.
Ogami's travels are beautiful, serene, of mind and body and his path is viciously bloody in contrast. This 28 volume masterpiece changes something in you, and you know you will never be the same again after it. It puts heart rendering situations before you and challenges you to deal with them, to feel for them. No character passes through the stories as filler. You always feel "something" for everyone involved. If you can only take one book onto a desert island, take War and Peace maybe, but if you can take 28 be sure to pick Lone Wolf & Cub.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An awesome series!, 25 Jun 2009
By 
Scott Rennie (Kilmarnock, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lone Wolf and Cub Volume 1: The Assassin's Road (Lone Wolf and Cub (Dark Horse)) (Paperback)
I am currently on volume 11 of this series, and what an amazing trip it has been. The art work is splendid, the writing is very skillful and the plots and sub-plots that evolve (usually unseen at first) are masterful. This volumne is an excellent start, and I am delighted that it is possible to return to re-read each volume and find little nuances that I hadn't noticed the first read or perhaps had forgotten about.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lone Wolf and Cub, 28 Nov 2013
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What else is there to say when i read the pages I can hear the narrator of the film of "Baby Cart at the River Styx" fantastic art work and good storyline
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5.0 out of 5 stars Remembering my earlier years, 12 Sep 2013
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Remember the film shogun assassin and knew of the books so decided to try one.
Was not disappointed!
Enjoyed it so much I've got to buy the rest
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lone wolf and cub - simply amazing, 13 Oct 2003
This review is from: Lone Wolf and Cub Volume 1: The Assassin's Road (Lone Wolf and Cub (Dark Horse)) (Paperback)
I have just finished reading all 28 books. Its an amazing story that makes the Japanese society of the time accessible to all.
They take a couple of books to get into as it is very different from everything else I have read. Once your in you can not put them down and now I want to read them again.
I recommend these books to everyone.
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