I tried that book trick, not sure if it’s worked but the pages turn very nicely. Miura’s art has changed quite a bit over the years but the early art holds up well.
I would say yes but also not necessarily. The opening chapters are still very entertaining although I would agree in a different way to the rest of the manga. Without spoiling anything I will speak vaguely. The opening act The Black Swordman Arc is a prologue of sorts that is more inline with what I believe you imagined about an angry man cutting up monsters in the dozens, this lasts for about three volumes but even then there are questions raised and hints thrown about suggesting why our main character is so emotionally wounded.I do have a question for the experts here: I dont know if I got it correctly from the documentation - is the manga starting off in a different way that it is heading further down the path? For example - is it one of those "oh you have to read until chapter 10 until it gets good" mangas ?