Right now you can buy the complete graphic novel for The Shadow Hero. We also have a review for the graphic novel written by Samantha that is more than worth checking out. Since I started on this journey of reviewing the story with single issues, I wanted to finish it. Since completing this issue I have read the entire graphic novel as a whole and can definitely say that it works both as an OGN and in this single issue format. You have no idea how impressive that is. Usually when creators write a graphic novel they don’t think of chapter breaks or at least not chapter breaks that work with a single issue format. Usually they structure it so that the story is building upon itself and thus the reader needs the foundation in order to progress. I’m still very impressed that Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew took the time to think of both and execute it flawlessly as both.
This issue wraps up the story and it’s marvelous. While I think it stands on its own, I still don’t want to give away too much of the ending. We find out the origin story for the “Emperor” aka Red’s father. She walks Hank aka Green Turtle through her father’s tragic origin and you can actually sympathize with is character. In my opinion you should be able to sympathize with a good villain. After the story Red lures Green Turtle into a fighting event against Mock Beak and Big Cookie to take over the role of emperor.
I love the romance of this story. It’s perfectly teased in the way that golden age comics used to and that only makes you want to see the characters interact more. Otherwise this is the perfect character journey for Hank. He truly becomes a hero in this chapter of the story.
Gene Luen Yang manages to balance funny moments with serious ones giving the story a down to earth feel. In my opinion life is filled with serious and funny moments and often times they overlap, so when I read a story that manages that it comes across very real in those moments. Yang has done a wonderful job on this series and this is the perfect ending for it.
I don’t know if I could be a bigger fan of Sonny Liew’s at the moment. It’s for the same reasons that I enjoy Yang’s writing. He brings all the serious moments to life as well as the humorous moments. Hank talking to the Turtle and cutting him off is funny because of the looks they give each other. If there’s one panel that highlights not only Yang’s trust in Liew’s abilities, but then also highlights Liew’s talent in the visual medium; it’s the panel with Hank and his mother sharing a silent moment. It’s just one panel and there’s no dialogue, but it’s so moving and powerful. Liew has managed to fill the entire story with these powerful moments.
Since you have the option to read this story in digital or print, there’s no reason not to read it. It’s going to factor into my end of the year list for sure because it’s that good. I really hope that there are more adventures in store for our Green Turtle because this creative team has just created a legacy character and made it look easy.
Writer: Gene Luen Yang Artist: Sonny Liew Publisher: First Second Books Price: $0.99 Release Date: 7/15/14 Format: OGN – Print, Singles - Digital