Writer: Pornsak Pichetshote
Artist: Alexandre Tefenkgi
Colourist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Jeff Powell
The end of The Good Asian #7 really blew things up, quite literally. We learnt who was behind the murders, Silas Woodward, a man with issues surrounding his mixed heritage. Ironically he looked white but never felt at home among white people and instead wanted to fit in with the Asian community who shunned him. He was in many ways the opposite to Edison Hark, someone brought into the white world but who could never fit in there. Both seemingly perished in the explosion that followed their confrontation.
So without Edison Hark who now will investigate things further? for there are a lot of loose threads dangling. Well you might recall Lucy Fan, the young woman who helped Edison out several issues ago. Lucy is back and she’s taking up the baton of investigation this issue as she looks into Helen Chao’s dead sister (who may not be dead) in the aftermath of the explosion that has left Chinatown a dangerous place.
The racial tension runs high. There have been attacks and Lucy’s own father has been targeted. Young women are chaperoned home each night and the police are just another threat. It’s a very poignant and sad situation but one that is still sadly very relevant in the current world. Lucy though is still determined. She’s seen her father not sleeping, locking their apartment and double checking the locks. The panels of him him doing so are especially revealing. There’s closeups of the key in the lock and the chain going across as we see the click-clack of the locks. Her father is carrying a burden. So is Lucy and she decides to take a chance and do something about it.
Lucy is a really excellent investigator. She uses guile and observation to find out information, even if the people she meets aren’t exactly the most co-operative. As a young Asian woman outside Chinatown she’s taking some incredible risks. She’s bundled up in a hat and trench coat not because that’s what detectives wear but because she has to hide who she is. The contrast of Lucy in her coat and hat with the white people in bathing suits on the boardwalk says it all.
Does Lucy find Helen’s sister Holly? It’s not exactly a spoiler to say yes, and we get more puzzle pieces of the events that led up to Ivy’s disappearance which set everything in motion. The scenes are laced with tension. There are also some really interesting little art hints in the panels as well which lead directly to the revelation at the last page which I shall keep quiet because spoilers.
It’s really great to see things from a different perspective. As a great a narrator as Edison was showing us the different aspects of prejudice he has to face, Lucy is there in Chinatown, on the ground, her own father a victim. Lucy can’t escape the situation and whilst her previous strategy has been to wait things out, over time things will get better, she’s realising that she might also have to take action. That’s really what makes her a compelling protagonist as she’s more ordinary than Edison Hark, just a young woman who’s been told that what her family faces is the price of living in the United States. That really resonates.
The art continues to impress, especially in the small details. The panels early on of the police officer with a baton speak volumes. There’s the worry and pain on Lucy’s face. The uncertainty of the fact there’s no-one she can really trust, at least when it comes to authority. Her father’s attack is depicted with a red tone across the page, a visual cue of blood, more than the blood we can see on his head it shows how deep the violence runs. The colour tone stays and informs the next few panels as well. Just so well done.
I also want to single out the page where we see pictures of the witnesses as Lucy narrates a theory. It’s as if she’s looking at the witness statements in her notebook. It’s a nice way of showing that she’s clearly been doing quite a bit of investigative work trying to work out if Holly could have survived the fire that killed her co-workers, if there’s evidence she was seen. It all pays off.
This is an issue with some really nice little twists and turns. We gain a much deeper understanding of the world through Lucy. It’s refreshing to spend time with her and see things through a different perspective. I am glad to see Lucy back. Losing your central protagonist after seven issues would create a hard act to follow but Lucy doesn’t just follow she makes it her own, There’s only two issues left and I am excited to see what they hold.