Writer: Pornsak Pichetshote / Artist: Alexandre Tefenkgi / Image
As we reach the midpoint of the 10-issue mini-series that is The Good Asian, I am perpetually enthralled by this comic’s sheer ambitious and it’s seemingly endless ability to follow through on its grand swings. A sudden shift to the the origin story of its principal character Edison Hark seems like a drastic change in pace. However, given the current status quo with his surrogate brother Frankie Carroway (who is dead after pursuit of a Hui Long), it’s wonderfully well-timed, and the various flashbacks do not slow the forward momentum of everything else going on in the story.
The Good Asian #5 does a fascinating thing in not only showing different iterations of Edison Hark throughout his various years, but also provides this psuedo-meta-commentary on Edison Hark’s inspiration, Chang Apana. It goes so far as to directly note that this real life Asian detective was the inspiration for the famous fiction detective Charlie Chan. All while, it deftly states an all too familiar sentiment for Asian Americans (and other people of color): “We gotta play by their rules…We gotta be undeniable.”
Getting a peak to the circumstances of Hark’s life is one of the most incredible sequences between Pichetshote’s stellar writing, Tefenkgi’s incredible artistry, and Loughridge’s colors helping immensely with the readability of individual moments and helping distinguish the different pockets of time. But there are so many small moments that lead into big payoffs internally. Hark’s love of drawing and detailing slowly transmuting to his hyper-observant diligence. How he became a more ingrained member of the Carroway clan and also how he fell out of favor. All of it acts as a pivotal anchor to the greater story arc while also being an engaging self-contained roller coaster.
This is a creative team that knows how to create suspense. The way panels are arranged, the way dialog boxes are placed by letterer Jeff Powell, the way that the story constantly evokes familiar emotions to viscerally gnaw at the bottom of your heart. The Good Asian #5 is an issue that you can read over and over again, which you very well might have to in order to tide yourself over until the next issue comes out.
The Good Asian #5 answered a simple question: how did Edison Hark get into this brilliant mess of a situation? It answers that question in the most thrilling and emotionally resonating way possible, and I cannot wait for The Good Asian #6 to answer how the hell he’s going to get out of it.
10.0 “Other Asian Detectives” out of 10
Enjoying The Good Asian? Check out BNP’s other reviews here.