Friday, November 24, 2006

Review: John Woo’s Seven Brothers

Virgin Comics launches their series of Directors Cuts (i.e. comic books conceived by top-industry directors) by introducing to the world, John Woo’s Seven Brothers. The concept and idea were from the mind and imagination of one of the world’s foremost movie directors, John Woo. However, it is Ennis and Kang’s storytelling genius that brings his vision to life. As Editor-in-Chief, Gotham Chopra wrote in his editorial, it is Virgin Comics long-term hope that these comics are brought into movie-form. He further notes that even though this is their intent, the comics being produced are not sophisticated storyboards. These stories will stand-alone by their own merit.

Seven Brothers is by far, is Garth Ennis’ best work to date since my personal favorite of his work, Just A Pilgrim. The fantastic first issue serves as groundwork laying for the entire series with a huge carrot dipped in chocolate-syrup and diamonds to keep readers left wanting for more and more by the final page.

Ennis details the world history of the early Chinese explorers and how they sought not to conquer new lands but to discover them and share these newfound truths and treasures back home. However, the arrival of these explorers was, instead met with anything but a heroes welcome as these once awe-inspired adventures drained and depleted much of the country’s resources. As a result, much of the logs and journals kept of these journeys were burned and destroyed…”almost as if it had never taken place. Almost”.

We are brought into the future as the mysterious Rachel Kai gathers men from around the world who seemingly have nothing in common save for the promise of immediate wealth upon their arrival to a sole location. I don’t want to spoil the rest of the book for you, but it is to Garth’s inventive and creative writing skills that he is able to string together words that make for some of the most deliciously descriptive, effusively elegant and, at times, brutally brusque prose and portrayals. My favorite piece of writing occurs when the disgruntled brothers are about to leave and Rachel’s timely and choice words stop them in their tracks and stab them in their hearts. On the following page, the intrepid “seventh” brother says something that just made me guffaw aloud. I read and re-read and re-read the comic book. Ennis’ writing has so convincingly captured my imagination.

If the writing weren’t enough…then, there’s the artwork. (Read the rest HERE!)

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