Author: Jay Longino (Foreword by Aisha Tyler)
Artist: Canaan White
Publisher: Image Comics
Subject: Comic books/Graphic Novels/Martial Arts
An urban coming-of-age story meets a modern fable of ‘the chosen one’ in “Son of Shaolin”, an enthralling and captivating kung-fu comic-book adventure with some of the most stunningly gorgeous artwork you’ll find in any comic shop today!
In the pages of “Son of Shaolin”, our hero Kyrie is a struggling street artist in Harlem, only to find himself the target of a bloodthirsty vigilante known only as “The Red Fist”. However, Kyrie finds an ally in the form the mysterious Master Fong, who reveals that Kyrie is the last descendant of the Five Shaolin Elders, whose combined might could grant unlimited power over the elements to a single user and possibly spell doom for the world. Knowing that the spirit of a warrior lies within him, Master Fong trains Kyrie in kung fu to keep the power of the Shaolin bloodline from falling to the vengeful hands of The Red Fist.
Readers won’t have to flip more than two or three pages into “Son of Shaolin” to quickly realize that Canaan White is one of the best artists in comics today.
Every panel, every illustration is gorgeously and vividly realized, the colours of each page all but jumping out and smacking the reader across the face. He also puts serious attention to detail to the fight and training sequences, with Kyrie, Red Fist, and Master Fong always seen in perfectly rendered money shots capturing kicks, punches, stance work and weapon usage that consistently look like they belong on the poster of the next upcoming Donnie Yen film.
The only real downside, which is largely circumstantial, is that while Kyrie’s training under Master Fong plays out as a two-page spread montage, the difference in the medium from training sequences in a martial arts film means that Kyrie’s training might feel like it’s gone by in the blink of an eye for some readers. Writer Jay Longino also throws a solid twist at the reader when the climax rolls around and gives Kyrie the opportunity for growth beyond his humble upbringing, along with setting the stage for the next chapter of our young hero’s eye-opening adventures.
With some of the most magnificent artwork you’ll come across on a comic book shelf today together with an enthralling story of a young man who realizes his legacy in a lineage of warriors, “Son of Shaolin” is a must for any self-respecting comic book or martial arts fan. We may not know where Kyrie’s journey will take him by the time the final panel arrives, but every reader is most certainly going to want to join him for the epic ride!
- “Son of Shaolin” currently has a film adaptation in the works, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Carolina Panthers Center: Ryan Kalil serving as executive producers. Filmmaker Rick Famuyiwa is also attached to direct the movie.
- Jay Longino was also the screenwriter of Jackie Chan’s 2016 film “Skiptrace”. He will also serve as the screenwriter for the upcoming film adaptation of “Son of Shaolin”.
- The creative team behind “Son of Shaolin”, including Jay Longino, Canaan White and Ryan Kalil, appeared at a panel discussing the book and the upcoming film adaptation at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con.
Book Rating: 8.5/10
- “We do not choose our destiny, Young Tiger. Our destiny chooses us.” – Master Fong
- “Rise and shine, Young Tiger. Your destiny awaits.” – Master Fong
- “Pretty sure my destiny will still be there in a couple of hours.” – Kyrie
- “At least your father had the courage not to scream.” – Red Fist
- “These streets raised me, and I know them better than anyone.” – Kyrie