Hawaii has secrets too

Publisher: Image

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

There are spoilers herein for the first four issues of The Good Asian. With the trade due out this week it’s a perfect time to catch up. I highly recommend this book so yes go check out the trade and then come back and read this review. And issue #5 as well. Obviously.

The end of issue #4 was absolutely shocking as Frankie Carroway, estranged surrogate brother to Edison Hark, was brutally murdered. It was something I did not see coming. It was really full of emotion and I was left wondering what happened next? Whilst we do eventually get to the immediate aftermath of Frankie’s murder we spend most of this issue going back in time, following Edison Hark through his past as we see the events that helped shape the man we’ve got to know over the previous four issues. Even here there are revelations and some really quite emotional moments.

There are two strands to the flashbacks – Edison’s history with the Carroway family and his days in the police in Hawaii. Both are relevant to the present situation in which he finds himself and I love that we can see exactly how key elements of his past precisely inform his current situation. everything that has happened to him has had an effect and here we see those things play out.

Young Edison was the son of a maid as we already knew, but we didn’t know quite how much an influence his mother was. It was his mother who encouraged Edison to observe, to pay attention. It was his mother too who instilled in him the need to follow their rules. Whose rules? The Carroways rules seems to be implied, but equally the rules of white society seems apt and come into play with the case we follow through the other flashbacks.

We see Edison’s relationships with Mr. Carroway, with Frankie and with Victoria. The latter is expanded on really nicely as we realise why their last encounter went the way it did. We see his mother and his mother’s murder. We even find out how he got his scar. It all really fleshes Edison out and yet doesn’t reveal too much. There’s still some elements of enigma to him but I appreciated the look back at his past and it seems fitting that halfway through the story we’ve had that time to look back.

Then there are developments with regards to Frankie’s murder at the end of the issue and another shocking moment that makes me wonder what exactly will be in store for our hero next.

Once more the art is a strength and again the art really helps tell the story. I really like how the younger versions of these characters still look like the characters. Child Edison is how I would have imagined a child version of Edison to look, different to his adult self even in his expressions but still very recognisable. The same is true of Frankie and Victoria. Seeing them age in the art really works and it feels very smooth, even when we skip years. The setting of Hawaii also provides something different to the streets of San Francisco we’ve gotten used to.

There’s also some really nice panel work where we have some really cool transitions from one part of the flashback to the next. Some pages feel like the panels have been painted on. It’s really lovely and visually the whole issue is so interesting. There are several pages where the panel layout directly informed the emotions of the characters I really love it.

Slightly spoilery but the art when we see the blood dripping from Edison’s hands is just really well done. There is so much being conveyed from the way the blood is on his hand, the bright red blood contrasting with the blues of the rest of the art. So good.

The flashbacks are also beautifully delineated by choices of colour. Again it really helps with the transitions as each scene has a new colour with the colours often reflecting the emotions of a given scene or moment. The use of colour has always been great in this book and it’s still the same here. In fact possibly the best it ever has been.

Overall this is a really great issue. I hugely appreciated this insight in the past of Edison Hark. I feel like I came out of this issue understanding him more, especially as well how racism has directly affected him and what part it’s played in the events of his life. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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