I have been looking forward to this comic's release ever since Stan Sakai first hinted about it on the Usagi Yojimbo Dojo forum almost a year ago. Since I have never read anything written by Mike Richardson before, I had no idea what to expect in regards to his abilities, but after finally buying and reading issue #1, I have to admit to not experiencing any problems with slow pacing of the story or with the writing and dialogue being anything resembling stiff.
As far as the pacing goes, I have had the pleasure of watching the first sixteen episodes of DAICHUSHINGURA, the year long taiga drama produced in 1971 and starring Toshiro Mifune in the role of Chief Councilor Oishi. The events covered in twenty-six pages of this comic took four episodes of the taiga drama to cover, four hours to describe the various events which led up to Lord Asano drawing his sword in anger within the Shogun's castle. If anything, I felt the pace of the comic was somewhat rushed. As much as I miss reading new issues of Usagi Yojimbo, I would have been even happier if this had been a twelve issue mini-series instead of just five issues.
As far as the dialogue, I saw no problems with it at all. The story flowed along beautifully and effortlessly. Of course there were some big words being used which might have been troublesome to anyone with a limited or stilted vocabulary, words not always used in random everyday conversation.