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REVIEW: 'The Good Asian' #10 by Pornsak Pichetshote, Alexandre Tefenkgi, and Lee Loughridge

 


THE GOOD ASIAN #10 

Writer: Pornsak Pichetshote
Artist: Alexandre Tefenkgi, Lee Loughridge
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: April 20, 2022
Cover Price: $3.99

SERIES FINALE
It's blood, tears, and chaos as Hark finally uncovers the truth behind Ivy Chen's disappearance and how it relates to his surrogate family, in the tense finale to one of the year's most critically acclaimed hit books.
"Could not feel more timely these days." -Entertainment Weekly

Score: 

★★★★★ (5/5)

Through ten issues, Pornsak Pichetshote, Alexandre Tefenkgi, and Lee Loughridge, have created a genre-defining series that is intricately woven into the darkest times of American history giving readers a thought-provoking, in-depth historical lesson, and one of the best noir stories to be made in any medium. 'The Good Asian' comes at a time in the real world where misguided, vicious racist Asian hate has manifested in assaults, murder, and harassment of innocent Asian and Asian-Americans. Such horrors used to be sanctioned by the state. As described in the comic, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first significant law restricting immigration into the United States. Congress passed the act to pacify worker demands and satisfy concerns about maintaining white "racial purity."While it may have lasted until 1943, the internment of Japanese-Americans during WW2 had just started so there was little relief for Asians in America. 

This tumultuous and dangerous atmosphere hangs in the air throughout 'The Good Asian' forcing Detective Edison Hark to investigate the disappearance of his adoptive father's object of desire, Ivy Chen, under the radar and in the darkest parts of Chinatown. Full of intrigue, familiar drama, police corruption, dirty secrets, a serial killer, constant racism, and existential crisis, 'The Good Asian' is a detective mystery story that has it all. Pichetshote promised in issue one that the series would be in the tradition of Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe, and Easy Rawlins. Hark is worthy to be included alongside those legendary literary detectives for being as complex, conflicted, and hard-boiled. The journey his character goes on is hard-fought, heart-breaking, and complicated. The end result is as messy as it should be and Hark is never the same again. 

The pieces begin to come together. The plotlines don't necessarily untangle as it becomes clear just how connected they are and no one escapes blame or complicity in a much larger scandal. The Carroways, Ivy, Holly, Terence, Silas, and even Edison have a hand in the trajectory of events that take place over the ten issues. It's a dense expository release as is traditionally the case with the reveal of a murder mystery. Yet, it's satisfying in its murky and unclean conclusion. There are no simple answers and no one walks away unscarred. 

Alexandre Tefenkgi and Lee Loughridge have illustrated the quintessential crime noir with requisite shadowy iconography but emboldened by bold rich colors that seem to inflame one scene to the next. The commitment to the era in both architecture and fashion is exhaustively detailed adding authenticity to the time and attentiveness to the characters. Tefenkgi's eye for perspective, pacing, and composition are masterfully on display as anguish, action, and pain all come to a head in the finale. 

'The Good Asian' ultimately tells an absorbing, sobering story about deception, desire, and madness. The fact that it takes place during one of the ugliest periods in this country only highlights the stakes for most of the characters involved. It's a landmark publication in historical fiction, crime thriller, murder mystery, and noir drama. It should be studied and read by all who value graphic storytelling. 'The Good Asian' caps off a series that is simply one of the best comics of the year if not ever. 

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