Continuing his journey across the lands, Jack finds himself in the woods where he accidentally steps on a bear trap. Quickly he is tracked down by his hunters, three anthropomorphic bears with shotguns. Already injured, Jack fails to get away and manages to get captured.
During transport, Jack meets a motley crew of other equally unlucky prisoners. Together they manage to tip over the vehicle and make an escape. But, when the bears faceoff with Jack once more, they explain that his capture was a mistake. They are hunting for those that have escaped death through means of magic, and they assumed his long life meant he had evaded the underworld.
Get ready for me to go off on how much I love these bear hunters, they are pretty awesome characters. Before I get too ahead of myself though, I should mention how this series continues to get better. When Samurai Jack: Lost Worlds was first released, it was any one’s guess as to what we could expect. Even that first issue set up a lot of unexplained things such as clones. But, the latest editions have been much more in line with the best parts of the original animated series. It’s just been Jack on his adventures coming across strange lands and creatures. More standalone pieces that are quick and entertaining to read, making me wish there were hundreds of more issues to this series.
Now, back to these bears. First of all, the art of Adam Bryce Thomas is on point with the clean lines and simple beauty of Samurai Jack. His creation of these bears are smart and simply put, cool looking. In fact, all of the original characters in this book have a unique style that stands out on the page. Dressing bears up in hunters outfits is clever enough in its backward commentary, but one of the bears is covered by a hood and mysterious looking with his red eyes. They make for a formidable-looking trio.
What truly makes these bears such fascinating characters though is their occupation. These are not just hunters stalking the woods, oh no, these are specialized bears. They have the unique duties of capturing lost souls; those that have escaped death through magic or some other means, “fugitives of the underworld”. In concept alone, I wish these bears had their own comic book series. Packing such fun characters into one stand-alone comic is an underutilization. Yet, somehow they managed to distinguish their personalities and give us this mysterious backstory within the confines of twenty pages.
This, as a single comic book, with no attachment to anything or any backstory, is a solid story to read. You could pick this issue up without knowing anything about Samurai Jack or comics themselves and be entertained with a great short story. In a time where comics have so many stringing plotlines that even the movies have become difficult to watch without knowing some history, it’s books such as these have become a rarity. Worth reading for anyone, if you see this issue in the long box, pick it up.