Jim Zub and Andy Suriano wrap up their first arc, Samurai Jack: Threads of Time, from IDW Publishing. The cover by Suriano and Josh Burcham showcases what we’ve been waiting for all along: the battle between Jack and Aku! The subscription variant by show creator Genndy Tartakovsky is striking, using just white, black and red to contrast a focused Jack against a menacing Aku.
After a quick montage of Samurai Jack collecting the threads of time, they lead him to Aku’s fortress, where he holds the final strand. Jack has to defeat his fiercest foe to recreate the rope of eons and return to his own time.
In a story containing mainly short, smart dialogue, writer Jim Zub gives the reader a few casual humorous moments (Aku flossing, admiring himself in a mirror, discussing temporary contracts) before launching into a thrilling fight. Even during the battle, in between vicious statements, there’s a funny moment where Aku gets embarrassed.
Andy Suriano is a master of his craft; the remarkable double-page spread on pages two and three use the threads of time themselves to outline the montage of Jack’s time gathering them. There’s also a scene with workers in Aku’s fortress riding conveyor belts, which are the panel dividers. He rarely leaves a gutter empty, and when he does it fits the scene well, allowing Josh Burcham’s colors to fill the page entirely. Some people feel cheated when a book has an abundance of splash pages, but I felt they greatly enhanced the story, showcasing this larger-than-life struggle.
Jim Zub’s terse narration, injected with sparse dialogue, allows Andy Suriano’s art to take center stage. Samurai Jack faces his arch rival and finally completes the rope of eons, allowing him to go back in time - but find out why Jack has to make the hardest decision of his life!