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Review: The Ballad of Sang

The Ballad of Sang

Takashi Miike is one of those movie auteurs whose keen eye for detail and bravura only makes new fans of the art of film. His movies, though eye candy for most, are definitely an acquired taste. He portrays violence so stylized and his characters are so ingrained into their worlds, that sometimes you may think you are watching a documentary. His star making turn in Audition is both unsettling and eccentrically thought provoking.

Then there are those movies which can be considered traditional Japanese movie fare where there are parts where his signature marks pop up. One movie which definitely made me a fan of his was Ichi The Killer. It’s an intense tour de force set in the world of the Yakuza. It functions as a character study and somewhat of a torture fest. His movies explore the underbelly that most people think they know, until he shows just how ugly and gruesome it really is. In the first collected volume of The Ballad Of Sang we find one such assassin whose master has been murdered, and he will stop at nothing, to be the harbinger of justice in his master’s name.

We meet Sang, a mute child assassin whose job is to take out a local Yakuza mob boss. We also meet Thomas, Sang’s master, and coincidental father figure. His understanding of his men is his strongest quality. Sang was more than overzealous with his last job and their boss, Don Minchella, decides to teach them both a lesson killing Thomas and almost killing Sang. Minchella puts out a contract on Sang, leading to every killer and gang to pursue him. The whole city is hunting for Sang, dead or alive.

Overall, a great comic series which will remind some of Zatoichi but definitely feels like a Takeshi Miike movie. The story by Ed Brisson is pulse pounding and fun. The art by the creative team is beautiful. Altogether, a great story that is gory, entertaining, and electrifying.

Story: Ed Brisson Art: Alessandro Micelli, Shari Chankhamma and Crank!
Story: 10 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Preview: The Ballad of Sang

The Ballad of Sang

(W) Ed Brisson
(A) Alessandro Micelli
(C) Shari Chankhamma

(CA) Alessandro Micelli with Shari Chankhamma
Age Rating: Mature Audiences — Genre: Action/Adventure
Price: $19.99 — Page Count: 120

Hit writer Ed Brisson (Old Man Logan, Cable) and newcomer Alessandro Micelli present a homage to Takashi Miike films with THE BALLAD OF SANG, the story of a child assassin raised in violence and out for revenge after his master is murdered. When a mistake on a job brings the wrath of Don Minchella down on him, Sang barely escapes with his life. While Sang swears revenge for his fallen mentor, every gang in the city mobilizes to return him to Minchella… dead or alive.

Ballad of Sang

Preview: Merry Men Trade Paperback

Merry Men Trade Paperback

(W) Robert Rodi, (A) Jackie Lewis, (C) Marissa Louise and Shari Chankhamma, (CA) Jackie Lewis with Marissa Louise
Age Rating: Mature Audiences
Genre: Action/Adventure—Price: $19.99—Page Count: 152

Thirteenth-century England. Robert Godwinson, former lover of King Richard, lives with his band of Merry Men in Sherwood Forest, away from the watchful eye of Prince John, who has outlawed homosexuality. Though isolated, the men live in peace—that is, until a stranger enters their camp seeking aid for a nearby town besieged by the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robert, nicknamed Robin, is reluctant to help, but equally eager to be rid of this perplexing stranger… and to put his formidable bow-and-arrow to use. It’s Robin Hood like you’ve never seen him before, based on scholarly speculation about what’s really behind the outlaw’s legend.

Merry Men is Robin Hood Like You’ve Never Seen Him… In Trade this December

Merry Men is out of the forest and into bookstores! The fan-favorite adventure written by Lambda Literary Award Winner and hit cult writer, Robert Rodi with illustrations by Jackie Lewis and colors by Marissa Louise and Shari Chankhamma, hits shelves December 5th.

Thirteenth century England. Robert Godwinson, former lover of King Richard, lives with his band of Merry Men in Sherwood Forest, away from the watchful eye of Prince John, who has outlawed homosexuality. Though isolated, the men live in peace—that is, until a stranger enters their camp seeking aid for a nearby town besieged by the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robert—nicknamed Robin—is reluctant to help, but equally eager to get rid of this perplexing stranger… and to put his formidable bow-and-arrow to use. It’s Robin Hood like you’ve never seen him before, based on scholarly speculation about what’s really behind the outlaw’s legend.

Preview: The Ballad of Sang #5

The Ballad of Sang #5

(W) Ed Brisson
(A) Alessandro Micelli
(C) Shari Chankhamma
(CA) Alessandro Micelli with Shari Chankhamma
Age Rating: Mature Audiences
Genre: Action/Adventure
Price: $3.99
Page Count: 32

THE FINAL SHOWDOWN! Thanks to Minchella’s new arm, he’s got a whole new set of deadly tricks up his sleeve. Can Sang avenge his master? Will the Black-Eyed Bettys get their clubhouse back? And most importantly, who’s going to pay for the damage to Lucy’s food truck? Find the answers to these questions and more in the thrilling conclusion to The Ballad of Sang!

Preview: The Ballad of Sang #4

The Ballad of Sang #4

(W) Ed Brisson
(A) Alessandro Micelli
(C) Shari Chankhamma
(CA) Alessandro Micelli with Shari Chankhamma
Age Rating: Mature Audiences
Genre: Action/Adventure
Price: $3.99
Page Count: 32

LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION! The Black-Eyed Bettys captured Sang and Lucy, but THE DANDIES have every intention of cashing in his bounty. While Lucy hatches a plan to get him back, the Dandies aim to finish their blockbuster film… and it doesn’t matter to them if Sang survives it.

Preview: The Ballad of Sang #3

The Ballad of Sang #3

(W) Ed Brisson
(A) Alessandro Micelli
(C) Shari Chankhamma
(CA) Alessandro Micelli with Shari Chankhamma
Age Rating: Mature Audiences
Genre: Action/Adventure
Price: $3.99
Page Count: 32

IT’S TIME TO JAM! After Sang and Lucy manage to dispatch and escape THE VEXXED, the bounty on Sang’s head doubles. It’s the perfect incentive for the BLACK EYED BETTIES, a roller derby team who Lucy already has a history with. When Lucy and Sang make a stop at a familiar diner for sanctuary, the Betties spring on the opportunity… but everything doesn’t go entirely to plan.

Preview: The Ballad of Sang #2

The Ballad of Sang #2

(W) Ed Brisson
(A) Alessandro Micelli
(C) Shari Chankhamma
(CA) Alessandro Micelli with Shari Chankhamma
Age Rating: Mature Audiences
Genre: Action/Adventure
Price: $3.99
Page Count: 32

DEATH TO FALSE METAL! Sang has gone into hiding after cutting off and stealing the arm of the biggest, baddest gangster in the city—and Minchella wants more than just his arm back. Now there’s a price on Sang’s head, one that THE VEXXXED—a gang of big haired, metal loving, motorcycle riding, coked up relics of the 80s—are happy to cash in on. Sang and his new companion Lucy are on the run, but can they outrun The Vexxxed?

Review: The Ballad of Sang #1

Kidnapped off the streets of the Philippines as an infant and trained as a child assassin, Sang has never had a childhood. All he’s ever known is killing and the kindness of his master, Chen, the closest thing Sang has to a father. When Sang’s enthusiasm botches a job, it brings the wrath of Don Minchella down on the pair and Chen is brutally murdered. Barely escaping with his own life—and with Minchella’s severed arm in tow—Sang swears revenge, while every gang in the city mobilizes to return him to Minchella, dead or alive.

I love mob movies. I love kung-fu movies. The combination of the two is a perfect thing for me. So, I was excited to go in to read The Ballad of Sang #1 from writer Ed Brisson, artist Alessandro Micelli, and colorist Shari Chankhamma.

The story kicks off with an over the top botched job that pisses off the mob boss they work for. So, things need to be resolved and that involves killing Sang.

The violence is over the top in impressive art that defies the young man at the center of it all. There’s not much known about Sang which is to the detriment of the comic but the focus is the action. It’s over the top violence that has such style to it that it alone is a draw. It’s a bit gratuitous but that’s part of the “fun.”

The series is a genre we’ve seen a lot before, it’s a one person Warriors in a way but that’s a genre I myself enjoy. The first issue nails what’s to be expected with every chance it has. While there’s not a lot of character development, that’s also not really the point. The action/violence is the draw. And The Ballad of Sang nails that with every chance it has.

If you’re a fan of that type of story, this is one to check out, sit back, and enjoy.

Story: Ed Brisson Art: Alessandro Micelli Color: Shari Chankhamma
Cover A: Alessandro Micelli with Shari Chankhamma Cover B: Marley Zarcone
Story: 7.85 Art: 8,35 Overall: 7.85 Recommendation: Read

Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: The Ballad of Sang #1

The Ballad of Sang #1

(W) Ed Brisson
(A) Alessandro Micelli
(C) Shari Chankhamma
(CA) (Cover A) Alessandro Micelli with Shari Chankhamma, (Cover B) Marley Zarcone
Age Rating: Mature Audiences
Genre: Action/Adventure
Price: $3.99
Page Count: 32

Kidnapped off the streets of the Philippines as an infant and trained as a child assassin, Sang has never had a childhood. All he’s ever known is killing and the kindness of his master, Chen, the closest thing Sang has to a father. When Sang’s enthusiasm botches a job, it brings the wrath of Don Minchella down on the pair and Chen is brutally murdered. Barely escaping with his own life—and with Minchella’s severed arm in tow—Sang swears revenge, while every gang in the city mobilizes to return him to Minchella, dead or alive.

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