Much like most kids my age, and everyone I know, Bruce Lee is a more than a legend he is an icon. His prowess can be seen in the movies he left behind and countless number of actors, stuntmen, and martial artists that wanted to, and have, followed in his footsteps. His brilliance shines brightly for all time. It’s something that even people who are not fans of his have seen. His influence is in everything as martial arts has invaded every single part of popular culture.
The Samuel Jackson narrated Art Of Action: Martial Arts in the Movies heavily underscores the importance of Bruce Lee and how he changed not only the martial arts movie genre but movies altogether. Though all of this is true, Lee’s story remains the most mysterious as in the two western made movies about Lee, Dragon and Birth of the Dragon, they try their best to tell his story but they either fall too short or deliver not enough insight. An example is the event of Bruce Lee’s classic fight with Wong Jack Man. Both movies glanced over the subject and neither gave viewers what they wanted. In Jeremy Arambulo’s A Challenge, the creator gives fans what they have required in a story about these extraordinary men but about being an “Asian American” during that time.
In the beginning pages, we are taken to 1969 San Francisco where we meet Jack, a martial arts prodigy, Frank, his roommate, as Jack opens a school there to teach martial arts. The friends soon meet Nancy, an aspiring dancer/actress, who when they meet her is working as a waitress, and whom both slowly fall in love with her beauty, ferocity and brilliance. One the friends decide to see a movie starring one of their favorite actresses and become introduced to Bruce Lee, who is shown to be quite ill tempered and very different from the public perception most of the world has consumed. We follow the friends, as each person’s life begins to take flight, and each of their dreams come true.
As time goes on, Nancy eventually falls or Frank, something none of theme expected would happen and something that causes a riff among friends. Ultimately, Nancy gets to star in a movie, with Bruce Lee, something that will change her life forever and brings a confrontation between Frank and Bruce, which leads to Jack challenging him in public. The fight that occurs, is something resembling what transpires when two masters meet. By book’s end, each character has taken their own path but each closer to each other than ever before.
Overall, a beautiful coming of age story that examines the ups and down of relationships as some friends prosper and others not so much. The story by Arambulo is funny, relevant, emotive, and heartfelt. The art by Arambulo is breathtaking and pulsating. Altogether, a story, that although fictional, shows how hard finding your way can be and how rare real friendships are.
Story: Jeremy Arambulo Art: Jeremy Arambulo
Story: 9.8 Art: 9.7 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy