The Shadow Hero

(No Series)
Published July 2014

In the comics boom of the 1940s, a legend was born: the Green Turtle. He solved crimes and fought injustice just like the other comics characters. But this mysterious masked crusader was hiding something more than your run-of-the-mill secret identity... The Green Turtle was the first Asian American super hero.

The comic had a short run before lapsing into obscurity, but the acclaimed author of "American Born Chinese," Gene Luen Yang, has finally revived this character in "Shadow Hero," a new graphic novel that creates an origin story for the Green Turtle.

With artwork by Sonny Liew, this gorgeous, funny comics adventure for teens is a new spin on the long, rich tradition of American comics lore.

Hank is an everyday boy who loves his father - a man who faithfully runs a small grocery store in Chinatown. His mother, an unhappy woman, gets it into his mind that her son should become a superhero and spice up their lives. Hilarity - tragedy - and bizarreness ensues.

I ended up loving this one - the humor worked well without any force, making me laugh out loud - I LOVED the mother, she cracked me up. The art was quirky and fun, in the beginning being dim and gray and slowing brightening to color. The character's faces - and some of their chins - added to the experience. 

I loved the theme for the superhero and the different costumes they went through to get there. The effects of the mother trying to turn him into a superhero = priceless. There was some tragedy, as there is in a lot of superhero origins. The background story for the main family was not only funny, it made sense and was interesting. The China guardians and animals spirits - not sure what else to call them - were also intriguing.

There was culture, humor, realism, and fun fantasy for this graphic novel. I'm not the biggest fan of superheroes from the street without many powers, at least not as into the actual powered ones, but this is still a fun, fascinating story I enjoyed reading.

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