The second chapter continues Hua's journey to transform her son, Hank, into a superhero. If you haven't read my review of Chapter 1, then let me tell you here that Hua is the best character ever. Hua is a spunky, older woman who is convinced she knows the right way to always do things and won't take no for an answer. Hua may be arrogant and rude, but she has a big heart and imagination, which have now been captured by the concept of superheroes. If it's possible, I loved her even more in this second chapter as she takes over Hank's training. What constitutes “research” and acceptable situations to introduce her son into may make for terrible mothering, but it makes for great comedy.
Hua's new partner in crime, Uncle Wun, is another fantastic character. As a Kung Fu master who believes in practicality over form, his advice may be a little more useful to Hank than Hua's. This issue also sees Hank slowly start to take up for himself and come into his own, which was badly needed. Liew's art remains top notch, and he handles Chapter 2's more extensive action scenes without a problem, as well as the more comedic scenes.
While The Green Turtle may have originally been a hero of the 1940s, that doesn't mean Yang and Liew can't have some fun at the expense of modern-day heroes. This chapter is largely about Hank's attempts to prepare for the role of a superhero at Hua's insistence, and no superhero origin story cliché is left untouched in the process. This includes poking fun at the Green Turtle and the fact that, in the original comics, the hero always had his face hidden. Chapter 2 places a greater emphasis on the slapstick comedy found near the end of Chapter 1. It's silly, it's easy to see coming, but damn if it's not enjoyable.
While we'll have to wait until July 15th to pick up the whole book, First Second Books is releasing the chapters digitally each month leading up to the release. For a complete list on where The Shadow Hero is available, visit page.macmillan.com/mcpg/shadowhero.
Five Heroes Dressed as Creepy Flying Animals out of Five