Sunday, February 23, 2014


LONE WOLF & CUB OMNIBUS VOL. 3 (Dark Horse, 2013; Softcover)
Collects Lone Wolf and Cub Vols. 5-8 (Dark Horse cover dates January, 2001- April, 2001), originally published in Japanese in Weekly Manga Action between 1970 and 1976).
Writer: Kazuo Koike
Artist: Goseki Kojima

Brilliantly written, beautifully illustrated, and breathtakingly brisk, Lone Wolf & Cub continues to amaze me. While this series is old hat for many a comic fan, particularly those of the Manga persuasion, it is new to me. I only began checking this series out when Dark Horse launched this line of bang for the buck Omnibus paperbacks. I am a sucker for completism and for thick books.
The thing that I love about this series is the contrast between the pastoral Japanese interludes and blood spurting over the top violence. In between all of that we see genuine character development of Ogamma Itto and his son, Daigoro. Much of the emphasis is on three year old Daigoro and the impact that assassin life has had on him.
While I am normally not a fan of nudity for the sake of nudity in comics, this is all artfully and tastefully done. Most importantly, it has something to do with the actual story and not just adolescent fanboy pandering for those who think that “boobies” make for mature comics. Similarly, the graphic violence is over the top but never feels cheesy or sensationalist. You could turn the body count in a drinking game...if you were suicidal. If you did a shot for every person murdered you would die of alcohol poisoning by the end of the book. 
I really need to focus on one book at a time...
It goes without saying what an influence this stuff is on modern comic books. I can read something different and appreciate it for being something creative and unique even if I am not necessarily looking for more Manga which is only a notch away stylistically. I am in for the next volume for sure.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- This is not your typical Dark Horse Omnibus. Both the dimensions of the book and the materials used are radically different from the rest of the books in this line. This book measures 5 x 7.1 inches (12.8 x 18 cm for my friends in the Metric system using world outside of the United States) as opposed to the size of the rest of the books in the Dark Horse Omnibus line, which are 5.9 x 9.1 inches (5.9 x 23.5 cm ).
DVD-style Extras included in this book: A five page glossary.
Linework restoration rating: ? out of 5. Your guess is as good as mine. I do not have access to the original single issues or the Dark Horse digests for comparison. I see no pixelation or any other defects, although some pages look better than others. I defer to Manga experts on this one. Original Dark Horse series editor Mike Hansen, curator over at All Day Comics, told me that the material in Volume 1 looked completely rescanned from what he could tell. He would know, right?
Paper rating: 4 out of 5. This has a nice thick pulp paper. Manga has traditionally used cheap paper to help keep costs down. That could be why this stuff sells millions of copies in Japan.
Binding rating: 4.5 out of 5. This has glued binding, and the spine of the book has a bizarre flexibility to it. It actually rounds inwards when you are reading it. There is no creaking of the glue, and there is nice thick band attaching the pages to the cover. It seems highly durable.
Cardstock cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. This has a dull matte finish but is scuff resistant.


  1. I want to start buying these, but the fact that they're even shorter than the regular DH Omnibus line makes me tremble. I just can't picture a good way to put them on my shelves.

    1. I bought some of those Readers Digest/ TV Guide sized acid free boxes and store them in there with my Marvel digests like the defunct Spider-Girl and Power Pack lines.