Set in the Chinatown neighborhoods of the fictional California city San Incendio, The Shadow Hero is the tale of a young man’s discovery of his noble and ancient powers. Hank, the 19-year-old son of two Chinese immigrants, is content to work in his father’s grocery store and lead a quiet, uncomplicated life. When his mother is saved by the local superhero, she starts scheming to make Hank into a superhero as well. Out of respect for his mother, Hank trains in martial arts, but on his first night as a superhero, he bumbles into a fight with members of the Tongs gang, the Chinese organized crime ring that controls Hank’s town. Failing to wear a mask, Hank exposes his identity and puts his whole family at risk. Luckily for him, a kind, ancient spirit has been watching over Hank for years, and it makes him a promise that changes his life.

With The Shadow Hero, National Book Award finalist Gene Luen Yang revives and reinvents the story of the Green Turtle, the first Asian-American superhero. Accompanied by Sonny Liew’s epic artistry, the story captures the familial, racial and criminal tensions of a time, place and people as old as they are new.

 

This article was originally published in the July 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

comments powered by Disqus