Shaolin Burning

By Ant Sang (HarperCollins, RRP $24,99)

REVIEWED BY CHRIS CHILTON
Last updated 08:00 27/03/2011
Shaolin Burning
Shaolin Burning

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Thrillers & Mysteries

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Here's something on the edge: a graphic novel (read long comic book) penned by Auckland artist Ant Sang.

Fans of the seminal Kiwi cartoon bro'Town will recognise the style, perhaps, but not the characters in this destructive rampage through the blood-drenched realm of Chinese legend.

The story follows the converging paths of Deadly Plum Blossom, an orphan raised by a Shaolin nun, and Monk Who Doubts, a monstrous, faithless, enraged killing machine.

Revenge, redemption and martial-artistic expression figure highly in the motivations.

Anyone who's ever seen a kung fu movie will get the picture.

There's a ton of blood, guts and sword-swinging, with flying severed body parts and jets of blood frozen in glorious monochrome throughout Sang's darkly stylish frames.

Despite the 17th century robes, the drawings have a street-punk symbolism that is fresh and edgy. But there's real depth in the facial characterisations, too, meaning that you care by the time Shaolin Burning races to its apocalypic conclusion.

It's fast paced and furious; exciting to read and look at.

Check it out.

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