Recently, there have been signs on IDW’s Samurai Jack that Jim Zub and Andy Suriano’s current arc, The Quest of the Broken Blade, has been moving towards a big, epic showdown. In a story that saw Jack’s trusty blade broken during a powerful ritual to send him back to his own time, we have seen Jack being a hero, being a desperate refugee, and having his worthiness in being the keeper of an ancient sword tested by some truly god-like cosmic beings. With each issue of the arc, I’ve been more and more impressed by the team, and the last issue ended on a pretty big cliffhanger.
The way I read it, Samurai Jack #15 is the end of the current arc, and it is an explosive showdown all the way. Just 2 weeks ago, in Samurai Jack #14, we saw that three cosmic deities tested Jack’s devotion to his beliefs, and his worthiness of being a warrior of the light. And just as the test was drawing to a close, Aku found the hero, setting up a huge confrontation. Now, we see how this big battle plays out as Jack proves himself yet again, proves that he is indeed a worthy successor to his father, who possessed that self-same sword before him. Both Jim’s writing and Andy’s art is incredible here in a way that I have not yet seen on the series before.
Team Jack is all about exploring the hidden corners of Genndy Tartakovsky’s master-piece for Cartoon Network. They have done a pretty good job so far and as they close out the current arc, they show once again just what the incredible potential of their work really is like. Last time we saw that the cosmic beings put Jack through three different kinds of intellectual and physical and psychological steps to determine his mettle as a hero, a hero who deserved to confront an evil as great as that of the Demon lord Aku and win.
Now, we see how the latest confrontation between Aku and Jack works out, something that Jim Zub has been building to in this arc from the start since Aku found out that Jack’s sword was destroyed. It has been a fairly long journey getting here, and the arc is pretty much as long as Jim’s original arc, if I’m not mistaken, and it is a pretty awesome one too. So far, we have seen a lot of character-building, whether outright or subtle. Now, we see something very action-oriented, in the way that only a Samurai Jack story can be, and this is pretty gratifying at this point in time.
Jack’s bravery and determination have never been doubt, but we have always seen it as something integral to the character, something he has had from day one that Genndy Tartakovsky kicked off the story on Cartoon Network. Now we see it tested like never before in a way that then gets Jack to essentially “level up” as a character, and things really couldn’t be more fun as far as I’m concerned. This is the culmination of a very emotional arc for Jack and the reader alike, and seeing the explosive showdown proves to be every bit worth the expectations.
And to top everything off, there’s the fact that with the ending of this arc, Jim has lent a slice of epic fantasy to the story. In a good vs evil fight that has always had roots in swords and sorcery within a techno-sorcery setting, the story of Samurai Jack is now one that lends well to the epic fantasy format, and in a really grand way too. I loved that fact of this issue in the final few pages.
As always, Andy Suriano is the artist here, with colours by Josh Burcham and letters by Shawn Lee. With this being the end to another arc from this trio, we see some of their best work to date. I know, I know, I say this a lot, but then that’s the thing. They are a damn solid team when working together so they deserve all the praise that they (can) get. The scenes with Jack standing up to Aku, and then defying him with the help of the cosmic beings who have found him worthy, those scenes are incredibly stirring as a reader. They give you a punchy thrill.
Another well-done end to a well-done arc.