Motorcycle Samurai is a unique slice of comics brilliance. It’s a modern Western, with the usual trappings, good, bad and ugly. But while there’s a lot of Wild West here, there’s a whole lot more, too, taking it far beyond a standard genre piece.
It starts relatively straight-forwardly, with a bounty hunter, known as the White Bolt, delivering a wanted fugitive to the sheriff of a small frontier town on the edge of a desert. But the bounty hunter is a scrawny daredevil samurai, who never removes her crash helmet; the Sheriff’s some kind of space marine army hero, who we find literally fighting to maintain his position (and his quiff) in an open-air boxing ring at the start of the story; and the town’s really being run by a criminal matriarch called Boss Parker.
As the story unfolds, we find out there’s even more to the situation than it appears. Each of the characters has their own agenda; allegiances will rise and fall; and it’s all leading up to an epic crescendo of explosive violence. On the way there, though, as the characters circle each other, sizing up their opponents, the politics, banter and bravado are as wonderful a thing to read as you’ll find in comics or anything else.
Motorcycle Samurai has a chaotic beauty to it. It’s a post-apocalyptic western set on a small stage but with an enormous breadth of dramatic scale and sophistication, and comes thoroughly recommended.