Usagi Yojimbo is an all time favorite graphic novel series of mine. The author and illustrator is Stan Sakai. It is the story of a wandering rabbit samurai. If you are worried about morbid violence you don't have to. The fighting in this book series is un-realistic and cartoonish which makes it fine for children such as my self. Unless of course you count the first one. that one can get a bit bloody.
The book i'm going to talk about is book 4, for this is the one i'm most familiar with, but you can tell that by the title. Usagi Yojimbo Book Four is the story of a corrupt pig lord named Lord Tamakuro who tries to over through the shogun*. A group called the neko** ninja are attacked by Tamakuro's men. Their leader was not there during the slaughter and thinks it was Usagi who murdered his comrades. Usagi was already trying to fight Tamakuro hoping to save a friend of his named Tomo Ame who had been captured on a mission for her master, Lord Neriyuki.
The artwork in Usagi Yojimbo book 4 is very heavily shaded. The characters are mostly solemn, but they don't always have sad faces. They can still have a sense of humor. Because the book is about a samurai, there is blood, but it's not graphic like in other books. The amounts of blood shown are like pebbles, literally. The shading style is a trademark of the book series. The strange lizards that seem like substitutes for dogs are a clever and cute idea.
Now I would like to describe a scene from Usagi Yojimbo book 4. Usagi is in a pit with bones scattered on the floor. He sees the ghost of Tomo. She accuses him of leaving her to die and charges at him roaring, mouth filled with jagged teeth. Usagi wakes up gasping in a small hut and is greeted by Shingen. What I liked about this scene is that it shows the desperate situation of the heroes of the story. Usagi is going insane, Tomo is near dead and most of Shingen's men are dead. It gives the book more drama which I personally like.
If you are new to the Usagi series, you should not start with book four. Most of the characters are introduced in book 1 except for Shingen who was introduced in book 3. So what are you still doing here? Go read Usagi. There are 26 books in the series as of now.
*overlord of Japan