How does one define “action hero” and not include the iconic Bruce Lee as he not only defined this title he embodied it. His contributions to the popular culture, is as numerous as they are impactful, and one can only imagine if he had lived how prolific his career would have been. His movies stand as testament to his legacy but also as a standard for all martial arts movies. As the late David Carradine, said many times during different interviews throughout the years, as it is well known that his show, Kung Fu, was originally Lee’s idea, he had the most accurate comparison of this legend, “the James Dean of Kung Fu.”
Biographical comic books are an enigma within the comics’ medium, at times coming off much like Jean Claude Van Damme’s movie, JCVD, much like a caricature, of the titular real life person. A comic that reminds me of that is Get Jiro, which was an excellent version, of stories surrounding the famous Sushi chef, but definitely a fantasy in many respects. Then there are times, when they are pretty much dead on, like the movie, Ray, often bottling the spirit of the person they are portraying, but giving a glimpse into a life not known to the public. The one that impressed me the most was Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven, which was not only accurate, but also heartfelt.
The first “autobiographical” comic from Darby Pop Publishing, just so happens to be Bruce Lee: Dragon Rises, as his story has seen the big screen a few times, both as documentary and semi autobiographical film, they have tackled not only a beloved subject, but one whose life every red blooded action fan worships, which is why Shannon Lee, has helped write it. Within this story , the Bruce Lee the world knows, has been in a cryogenic sleep for 40 years, as he wakes up to a world where the customs and culture has changed dramatically. Soon, an old friend finds him, reminds him of whom he is and Bruce finds out soon enough, why he was put in that chamber in the first place. By issue’s end, there is a bigger mystery which ties everything between him, his friend, the shadowy organization who has had him on ice, and the kids who helped hi, who lost their father.
Overall, I would definitely say this; while the comic is more on the fantastical end, it definitely captures the spirit of this great man. The story by Shannon Lee and Jeff Kline shines in the best way possible, definitely keeping it tongue-in-cheek while remembering to tell a good story. The art by Troy Peteri is smooth and beautiful, as the illustrations seem to be so vivacious. It can rival the best Saturday morning cartoons.
Altogether, a strong issue, that reminds me of a cross between the Boondocks episode where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came back from the dead and Encino Man.
Story: Shannon Lee and Jeff Kline Art: Troy Peteri
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Darby Pop Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review