The Shadow Hero

10 05 2016

As a fan of American Born Chinese, I wanted to read more of Gene Luen Yang’s work. I think the world is a better place with him and his work: I’m definitely all for more Chinese protagonists (or any of colour, for that matter).

The Shadow Hero is an inventive imagining (albeit based on an old comic) of a Chinese superhero and how he became who he is. There is intrigue involving ancient Chinese spirits and a mob boss, and humour is laced throughout, giving the story a light feel despite some dark moments.

The plot hits some bumps along the way that unfortunately aren’t always believable, like how would Hank’s mother gleefully coerces her son to become a superhero without once considering his safety (until tragedy strikes), or Hank’s uncle is conveniently a kung fu master. Instances like this such as these remove immersion in the wonderfully drawn panels. Yang seems more interested in the idea of Chinese superhero than writing a cohesive and structured narrative.

I also read today that the Russo brothers, the same who directed the previous two Captain America films will be directing a Chinese superhero film (thanks to their Chinese producers, not really because it was a passion project of theirs). Here’s hoping it’ll be good.

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