I'm in complete agreement with most of the reviewers here. Good story but too simplified in order to keep it short (under 50 pages). I would have prefI'm in complete agreement with most of the reviewers here. Good story but too simplified in order to keep it short (under 50 pages). I would have preferred a full version to see where the author would go with the character development and plotline. ...more
So here's the deal, if one or all of the following statements apply to you, you should NOT read this graphic novel:
* you hate martial arts/kung fu movSo here's the deal, if one or all of the following statements apply to you, you should NOT read this graphic novel:
* you hate martial arts/kung fu movies, especially from the 1970s
* you have no idea what the terms "Shaolin", "Wuxia" and "Wushu" are and quite frankly, you don't care
* you are confused about the connection between "blaxploitation" and martial arts films (trust me, if you don't understand the connection, you will be even more confused by the character of Moog Joogular!)
* you loved Seth Grahame-Smith's graphic novel "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and wished that more graphic novels were mash-ups of classic Austen works
* you don't like fantasy, especially Asian epic-fantasy with complex characters, confusing narrative and a lot of senseless violence mixed with slight touches of humour and romance
Okay, now that I have weeded out the wannabes, those that have remained should check out this terrific graphic novel!
McLeod's book is a homage to martial arts films that some of us grew up watching and continue to seek out. Right from the beginning of this book, I was not disappointed. McLeod's storytelling is simply amazing. Rather than set the story in the ancient past, the story is set in current time where mankind has suffered a huge catastrophe and society has regressed back to a state where the "sword" and superstition rules. The plot centers around Yang Lei Kung, a former soldier, who is a student to the immortal Chung Li Ch'uan. Similar to many fantasy-epics, Lei Kung endures a number of trials to prove himself worthy of becoming a "Master of Martial Arts" in order to get closer to the Emperor and destroy his plans' of conquering the world. Along the way, Lei Kung meets other students of the other immortals, such as Moog and Windy, and must decide who is friend and who is a foe. Adding to the tension is the hordes of zombies which often serve as the cannon fodder for many of the action sequences.
On an emotional level, this story has it all: anger, betrayal, jealousy, fear, loyalty, obedience, defiance, obsession, hatred, friendship, mercy, and love. Yes, this story got a little confusing at times as new characters were introduced and their names started to look alike but it didn't take a long to get the reader back on track especially if you flip to the very helpful guide in the beginning that introduced the 8 immortals and named each of their student.
Overall, a must-read for martial-arts and Asian fantasy fans alike. ...more
The main problem with anthologies or when you have multiple contributing writers is the inconsistent storytelling. My favorite story was "Original SinThe main problem with anthologies or when you have multiple contributing writers is the inconsistent storytelling. My favorite story was "Original Sin" by Louise Hawes. I loved how everything knew about the Adam and Eve story got turned upside down, that an angel played a major role in human's "downfall" and that ultimately, the "expulsion" from Eden was a choice. Normally I love Bill Willingham but his story "The Story Within the Story Within" was mundane compared to Alisa Kwitney's "Chaya Surah and the Angel of Death". Todd Mitchell's "The Guardian" would normally cause oohs and aah from die-hard romantics like myself but I found myself slightly bored by the predictability of it. The story that had the most potential was the main one written by Holly Black where the creatures of the forest find the fallen angel and hold a tribunal to discuss what to do with the angel. While I love how the boy held the deciding vote, I was really disappointed by the story's ending. I felt like the angel should have waken sooner and told his story to heighten the tension. The ending just felt like the writer brought all of these interesting elements in but didn't know how to end so she just took a short cut and left you wholly unsatisfied. At least that's how I felt after reading this wonderfully illustrated book that held so much potential. ...more