There are so many reveals in this volume of The Shadow Hero that it’s hard to talk about plot without spoiling something. Suffice it to say that the fights are intense, Hank shows depth of character beyond the average nineteen year old, and his mother finally recognizes what she lost by not appreciating her late husband and ignoring her son for most of his life. Given that this is the beginning of a longer history of the Green Turtle, there is no true fear for Hank’s life, but his ability to wriggle out of difficult situations and think on his feet impresses me a lot! A character from the second chapter comes back as an important player in Hank’s story, which makes me wonder if she plays a part in the older Green Turtle mythos, as well. I just have to wonder if Ten Grand deliberately gave his daughters the names of Mahjong tiles in honor of his gambling enterprise or if they’re just nicknames like other members of the underworld.
The artwork gets a chance to shine in the penultimate issue, because the plethora of action sequences allows Liew’s style to shine. No character seems to have the same fighting style, as well, which means lots of careful manipulation and concentration in making the encounters flow from panel to panel.
Chapters five of The Shadow Hero leaves Hank with a difficult decision, and while readers hope they know his answer, there are no guarantees. Can he turn away from something that will protect him from the bullying his father faced as a mere grocer? Does Hank believe in his superhero alter ego enough to turn away from power? We’ll have to wait for Chapter Six to see, and I’m on the edge of my seat.
The full collection of The Shadow Hero will be available in print and digital editions from First Second Books on July 15, 2014. Chapters One through Five are also currently available digitally here.
5 “Hey, it’s the amazingly strong female fighter from Chapter Two!” out of 5