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Sunday, 27 March 2016

Planet Jimbot - The Samurai

For those of us who have been wondering what the good people over at Planet Jimbot have been up to recently, well wonder no more. Not only can I divulge what their newest release will be, but I can say with complete confidence that this may be the best book from them yet - and no, that is not empty hyperbole, I sincerely mean it, because The Samurai is quite frankly astonishing.

I know what you're thinking - er no, I don't mean that you're thinking about that particular thing you get up to at weekends.... and to be perfectly honest it's rather disgusting, and probably illegal in certain counties - I should know. What you're actually thinking is that judging from their recent quality output, Planet Jimbot have quite a lot to live up to. To see what I mean you could do no better (well, actually you could, but let's pretend for a moment or two eh?) than check out some of my previous ramblings and scribbles; for example HERE you can read about the fallen superhero App-1..... "In a world overrun by terror,  despair and monsters, three kids cling on to the belief that there once existed a champion of good, a super-hero now gone and all but forgotten. Despite the dangers and sheer hopelessness of the situation, they decide to go in search of the super-hero once known as App-1."

You could also look HERE for the story of Amongst the Stars, which an alien race reaches out to planet Earth, but only with its collective mind. But for the aliens, too late, mentally it proves a crippling experience, where Earth drags them down to a level they don’t want to go and cannot escape from. They are trapped in something akin to a horror movie.

If that wasn't enough from me, there was also the rather fine article for Good Cop Bad Cop HERE, a hugely enjoyable no-holds-barred romp of unhinged psychosis and violence (and I'm not just talking about the bad guy). The dialogue in this book, courtesy of Mr Alexander, is as crisp and dynamic as ever which provides a nicely authentic feel of the Glasgow underworld without ever falling into Rab.C. Nesbitt territory of pastiche.

So this week I learnt that the award winning (GoodCopBadCop) and award nominated (Wolf Country) writer and artist team, Jim Alexander and Luke Cooper, have joined forces once again to create the one-shot ‘The Samurai’. 

Who is he?

He is the Samurai.

He seeks revenge.

The Samurai is an unrelenting, brutal, visceral, and sometimes dreamlike tale. 

Everything and everyone around The Samurai is seen through one filter, the need for revenge.  

Revenge is all he is.  Revenge is all he ever can be.

I said earlier that The Samurai might just be the best Planet Jimbot release yet, believe me, it really is that good. 

This is a tale that is completely unforgiving in its brutality, or to put it another way, violently violent in its unrelenting violence. However, the story isn't simply a one-trick violent pony because the story throughout maintains an almost poetic feel in terms of narrative and atmosphere. In some ways the feel of the book is somewhat old-fashioned in its approach - and I don't mean that in a negative sort of way, in fact it's meant as a compliment.

There are echoes of the golden age of 2000AD (in other words, the first 150 issues) in The Samurai with dialogue that is both funny and piercing combined with an artwork that is relentlessly exciting and gory whilst all wrapped up in a thought-provoking philosophical blanket.

The warning on the cover that the book contains 'mature content' is pretty much spot on, though I would personally have instead had a 'beware of bloody decapitations, hacking of limbs and various forms of ritual disembowelment..... Oh and don't forget the rampant attempted cannibalism' warning. Yes that's right, just in case you hadn't got the message, it's a violent story, and while The Samurai could easily be subtitled " A 1001 ways to slice and dice with a Samurai sword', there's no escaping the thoughtful undertones throughout the story. It makes a refreshing change for comic creators to treat the reader with more than a modicum of intelligence. I like a good gory Samurai massacre as much as the next person, but I also like to think about that stuff too....which actually sounds a lot more sinister and creepy than I meant it to.

One could be forgiven for thinking that a story that is clearly a tale of one mans quest for revenge would by definition result in a one-dimensional tale of predictability. Au contraire mon amie, because the charm here is in finding the layers of unpredictability that permeate throughout the 20-odd pages. The result is a feeling of constant surprise throughout at the directions that the story takes. I can safely say that I enjoyed every single page.

Publisher Planet Jimbot is delighted to announce that they'll be launching the book at Birmingham Comics Festival (Edgbaston Stadium) on Saturday 23rd of April. In attendance will be writer Jim Alexander. 

Alternatively an interested buyer can order the book online from the Planet Jimbot shop:

This article can also be found via the 5D website There you can find a veritable feast of blog articles, news items, pictures and other mouth-watering salutations to the gods of the geeks. We have now inherited the earth, you know.

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