Usagi stops by a temple in the forest to escape a rainstorm. An old friend is investigating a murder and Usagi agrees to help.
I found the murder mystery that Usagi agrees to help inspector Ishida with uncompelling. A local lord wants the temple tore down so that he can hunt the land. The government sends Ishida with a group of delegates to survey the situation. One of the delegates gets found dead in the forest.
It’s a complicated scenario that’s a chore to read. Sakai tries to spice it up with a supernatural legend involving a painting in the temple. The painting seems like an Japanese take on the Hell section of The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch. But every depiction of the painting is lacking in detail & looks uninteresting.
We get many images of Usagi staring at the painting. He seems shocked by the images depicted. And every time we get a shot of the painting it just looks like a bunch of scribbles. It seems like a wasted opportunity to help sell a story that I already had trouble investing in. Comics is a visual medium. I would have liked at least one beauty shot of the painting to help sell it.
Also, after the introduction we get 8 pages of nothing but people talking in a hallway. The local lord comes in & argues with the inspector. He leaves & a group of priests come in and talk with the inspector. They leave & a group of pilgrims come in and talk with the inspector. It reminded me of a Best Of The Worst review of a movie called Shakma. It’s as boring as it sounds.
Page 6 is the best in the book. I like the perspective in both panels. And the detail of the rain on Usagi’s clothes in the top panel is perfect. I can almost hear the water sliding off his hat.
There are a lot of dull scenes in the book. But not any that are lot more dull that the others.
A mostly boring issue with a nice shot or two. I can’t deny Sakai’s talent, he’s one of comic’s best. But for my tastes this was not his A game. I’ll check back in with Usagi after this arc.