Jack Is Back In Samurai Jack: Lost Worlds #1

by Brendan M. Allen

“Samurai Jack 2.0”! Under the leadership of the benevolent Samurai Jack, society has prospered-everything is in line with his philosophies, his storied stoicism, and of course his hair. Of course, this is all news to Jack who doesn’t much care for this impostor using his name. But which one is the real Samurai Jack?
A bold new miniseries from Paul Allor (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe,Clue) and Adam Bryce Thomas (Sonic the Hedgehog)!
A new Samurai Jack adventure in every issue!

Samurai Jack is eighteen years old? That can’t be right. Really? Anyway, the series followed the adventures of a time-travelling samurai with a magic katana on his mission to defeat the shape-shifting demon Aku. Jack (not the dude’s real name) bounces around trying to locate and defeat Aku, but victory is always just out of reach. There was a mandatory reset at the end of each chapter where Jack caught up to the Master of Darkness, only for the evil demon to jump to another plane. There was no continuity. It was absolute madness, and it was beautiful and perfect.
“…And what happens when someone is more you than you?” Samurai Jack: Lost Worlds #1 opens with this simple question and then sets out to answer it. That’s the long and short of the whole chapter. The standards of our beloved samurai have inspired an entire society to dress and act like the stoic warrior, while the man himself has withdrawn to a remote cave to, I don’t know, meditate? Some other cat shows up in town, who looks and acts just like the Jack we know and love, which incites the big fella to come down and assert himself.

Paul Allor isn’t trying to completely reinvent the wheel here. He’s taking a beloved character out of his comfort zone, but it all sort of works in canonical context. There are shades of season five of the show scattered throughout this chapter. The dialogue is occasionally a little complicated for the typically reticent “Jack,” but it generally keeps the same feel of the source material. Generally.
Adam Bryce Thomas employs 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 an identity, separate from the show.

The whole thing is reminiscent of the Quantum Jack mini that IDW put out last year. With all the colorful characters available in the Jackverse, I wonder why we keep going back to this well? Mirror matches are cool, sure, but we’ve done this. Slightly differently, as the turn at the end of this mini-series opener will show, but really, really similarly.
As a stand-alone story, I think this one works better than a new chapter in the Samurai Jack saga. There are some cool new pieces here, and a bunch of  key elements from original Jack, but the product taken as a whole doesn’t feel either familiar enough or fresh enough to make a huge impact.
Samurai Jack, Lost Worlds #1, IDW Publishing, released 08 May 2019. Written by Paul Allor, art by Adam Bryce Thomas, letters by Christa Miesner and Robbie Robbins.

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