|Publication date||March – April 2011|
|Number of issues||5|
5 Ronin is a five issue comic book limited series published by Marvel Comics starring superheroes Wolverine, Psylocke, the Punisher, Hulk, and Deadpool reimagined as rōnin, masterless samurai set in seventeenth century Japan. The series is written by Peter Milligan and features a rotating cast of artists. The first issue was released on March 2, 2011.
Marvel Comics first announced 5 Ronin, by writer Peter Milligan and featuring artists Tomm Coker, Dalibor Talajic, Laurence Campbell, Goran Parlov, and Leandro Fernandez, in December 2010. Milligan stated that the idea of the series came from editor Sebastian Girner, expressing, "The egg of this idea was born in Sebastian's great interest and passion in all things Japanese... Sebastian and I made an omelet out of that egg." Milligan remarked that he is big fan of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai and what drew him to the project was "that this era of Japan was in such a state of flux. One era was ending and a new one beginning. These times are difficult to live through; people are unsure where they stand, and this is a great arena for looking at character and seeing how characters act when taken to uncomfortable places."
Writer Peter Milligan on the series' setting:
In 1600, there was a famously bloody and pivotal battle at Sekigahara, where the Western and Eastern clans fought. This battle ended what became known as the era of the warring states. In other words, the world of Japan that we find is going through a some kind of cataclysmic, epochal change. It's a violent age, an age of deep anxiety. Though it's a very alien time and place, I feel that this era speaks to us about our own troubled times. We have our own cataclysmic changes going on, our own sense of anxiety and "uprooted-ness".
Milligan also explained that each of the five issues focuses on one character, but the stories are all inter-linked: "All these characters have to rediscover as the story continues that there's a reason they're all connected and drawn together. They each have problems that stem from the same source." As to why he chose the characters, Milligan remarked that they each represent an aspect of Japanese society. Wolverine made the most sense, and Psylocke is the character that fit in most beautifully. "Deadpool is perfect; he could have been originally designed for this story... Punisher also perfectly fits with what we wanted. Both of these characters manage to be archetypes and that's why they so neatly and usefully worked with this story. Hulk is a little different. Part of the fun there was writing against type or character expectation. Though, again, an integral part of Banner/Hulk's character perfectly matches what we wanted in this book."
Bound together by the same fate, yet alone in their existence, Wolverine, Psylocke, the Punisher, Hulk, and Deadpool are forced to walk the lonely path of the masterless samurai in the violent and tumultuous world of feudal Japan.
The first issue of 5 Ronin was received with mixed reviews. Dan Iverson of IGN gave it a 6.5 (out of 10), praising the art by Tomm Corker and colorist Daniel Freedman, but calling the story "a bit too ambiguous and typical for the genre." David Pepose of Newsarama stated, "5 Ronin is a confusing, unexciting read that doesn't really do much to justify its 'Marvel superheroes as samurai' premise." Kelly Thompson of Comic Book Resources gave it 2.5 (out of 5) stars, declaring, "While there are definitely things to appreciate in this first issue of 5 Ronin, from evocative art to Milligan’s sometimes beautiful writing, in the end it feels a bit soulless. An emotional connection of some kind could have made something as blasé as revenge a bit more engaging." However, Matthew Meylikhov of Multiversity Comics gave the first and fifth issues 9.2 (out of 10), saying (about the series) that, "Milligan crafted a fairly well organized tale of revenge featuring some of Marvel's biggest characters, and the various artists that have worked on each issue have made this title a must read for fans of both the characters and samurai in general."
- "Marvel’s Deadliest Heroes: The 5 Ronin". Marvel.com. December 8, 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-27.
- Mahadeo, Kevin (January 13, 2011). "Marvel's Next Big Thing: '5 Ronin'". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2011-02-27.
- Richards, Dave (January 25, 2011). "Milligan Sharpens the Swords of the '5 Ronin'". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2011-02-27.
- Iverson, Dan (March 2, 2011). "5 Ronin #1 Review". IGN. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
- Pepose, David (March 3, 2011). "Best Shots Rapid Reviews: Annihilators, First Wave, More". Newsarama. Retrieved 2011-03-04.
- Thompson, Kelly (March 6, 2011). "5 Ronin #1". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2011-03-07.
- Meylikhov, Matthew (March 31, 2011). "Review: 5 Ronin #5". Multiversity Comics. Retrieved 2011-04-07.