The Shadow Hero #1
The first in a six issue collection, “The Shadow Hero” by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew is both overwhelmingly charming and engaging. Smartly written, Chapter 1: The Green Turtle Chronicles follows a family out of the early 1900’s where chaos has consumed China. The story follows a family of immigrants to America, all the while building questions that beg to be answered. In testament to the quality of the script, however, it is so easy to get caught up in the beautiful and cheery aesthetic and charming plot that you quite nearly forget those questions until opportune moments give subtle nods to remind you of something greater at play.
While the story doesn’t throw you neck deep into superheroics like you might expect of other series, the first issue gives a perfect taste and tease leaving you eager to read on into the next issue. The plot does an admirable job investing you in not only the characters and the story behind the heroics to come, but in telling the tale in such a way that accomplishes this without feeling like you reach the end missing something, or not having reached some carrot on a stick. Few things really compliment a story of this nature more than pinning down the right aesthetic tone and appropriate to both era and content, and this book excels at showcasing complimentary components.
The only thought I can offer on the matter is to approach this as a light-hearted piece – Going in expecting gritty superheroics and a dark turbulent tale will leave you disappointed. It’s truly a refreshing read, and a refreshing approach to a genre that can often get formulaic and predictable. It reads like the calm retelling of a classic myth, lending the series a unique tone and appeal. I, for one, can’t wait for the 2nd issue.