Samurai Jack Channels Sam Beckett In The Quantum Jack TPB

by Brendan M. Allen

A ruthless biker gang ambushes a royal envoy. The name of their leader? Samurai Jack! From the team that brought you Helena Crash comes an all-new take on the legendary wandering samurai that is completely different and yet surprisingly familiar! Wait, what? How is that even possible?
Follow the adventure as Jack hops from one dimension to the next, searching for a way back to his original form. Whether a biker or a luchador—or even just an office worker—Jack’s honor and fighting spirit push him forward to return to his own dimension and face down the demon Aku one last time!

Samurai Jack is seventeen years old? That can’t be right. Anyway, the television series followed the adventures of a samurai with a magic katana on his mission to defeat the shape-shifting demon Aku. This limited IDW series takes that basic premise and throws in a Quantum Leap/Dark City layer. Each chapter has Jack “leaping” into a different reality where the version of himself in that plane is unique to that plane.

Fabian Rangel Jr’s not trying to reinvent the wheel here. He’s taking a beloved character out of his comfort zone so he can play with the set pieces a little, but it all works in canonical context. One of the hallmarks of the series was actually how little sense the story actually made. I’m not saying that as a dig, by any means. The mandatory reset at the end of every episode when Jack finally caught up to Aku was an intentional device that almost forced a lack of continuity. Every episode stands alone as well as part of the larger set.

Warwick Johnson-Cadwell uses a looser and more frenetic style than the show. Deliberate slow wipes give way to smash cuts and chaos. The decision to go with a completely different visual style is bold, but it works well for the medium and gives this series a unique identity, separate from the show.

Quantum Jack is a fun addition to the saga of Samurai Jack. It captures enough of the essential elements of the source material to pull in old fans, but is fresh and distinctive enough to wrangle a whole new audience.

Samurai Jack: Quantum Jack TPB, 128 pages, published by IDW, released 02 May 2018. Written by Fabian Rangel, Jr., art and color by Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, additional color by Hannah Templer, cover by Michael Avon Oeming.

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