A dangerous game of Mah-jong…

Publisher: Image

Written by Pornsak Pichetshote
Art by Alexandre Tefenkgi
Rest of the creative team:
Lee Loughridge, Jeff Powell, Dave Johnson and Will Dennis

I really enjoyed the first issue of The Good Asian. A comic as good as it is timely at the moment. This second issue takes everything I enjoyed about the first issue and ramps it up. 

We rejoin Edison Hark as he leaves jail having discovered a body last issue. 

Edison is a great narrator. That cynical edge we expect of noir with a deadpan attitude but also one informed by his unique position as a Chinese cop at a time when that was unheard of. His way of looking at the world is as unique as his position, with a slightly world weary edge of knowing there’s no-one else doing what he does.

I am always rooting for Edison who really shows off his investigative skills this issue as he meets several new characters who add to the intrigue. From Terence Chang the too smooth talking lawyer to various Chinatown characters who help with enquiries. Edison analyses them on all levels.

The plot also advances this issue as we hear of a rumoured hitman from the past, Hui Long. Has this hatchet wielding hitman returned to take revenge on those who wronged him or is there something else going on? Added to that we have the mystery of Ivy Chen’s disappearance which may well be linked to the current murders because, well, there’s no such thing as coincidence. The ending gives us another plot twist, relating to Edison’s mother.

There are some great bits of art this issue. The colouring to differentiate the different scenes remains really effective. The way that Edison and Terence Chang look similar in panels, enough as a reader to question my own assumptions about racial stereotyping. The real period feel to the way the characters seem to interact and move.

The real wow pages are at the club, the Jade castle, which bursts with colour and detail. The page flows with different images of scantily clad dancing girls, girls singing, couples dancing and big band music. It’s a visual assault for the reader just as it’s a visual assault for Edison who was not expecting to find it like that. Such an impact of the bright hedonistic side of the thirties that still pervaded an air of respectability to what was there before.

There’s some great action scenes too as Edison pursues a killer and is somewhat outmatched. With moments of balletic movement and down and dirty injury it’s a really good scene full of tension. The way it goes down is really nicely done.

What I also appreciate is the genuine historical insights in the back of the book describing the actual lived reality for the people we see as mere characters in the book. It gives a great historical context to what is going on, which makes me appreciate it all the more. 
Issue #2 of The Good Asian is really good. It’s well plotted, the art is great and there’s a message here still relevant today. I look forward to seeing what happens next and being surprised by the result.

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