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Ganglords of Chinatown    by Jeff Amano & et al order for
Ganglords of Chinatown
by Jeff Amano
Order:  USA  Can
Image Comics, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

In a retelling of the story of Gideon from the Book of Judges, Jeff Amano and his art team deliver an exciting, emotional tale of rebellion and corruption, whose compelling story arcs and appealing art will have readers zipping through this graphic novel at great speed. It's set in the future, as a gang of bikers dominate and wreak havoc throughout an entire city. Gideon must find faith in his God and rally his small clan to destroy the evil god Baal and his ruthless followers. As Gideon takes his first steps as a leader and gains favor with Chinatown residents, the bikers take strong measures to repress resistance. A battle is coming and Gideon believes God to be on his side. Now, he just has to prove it to his followers who are growing in numbers day by day. But should Gideon win, what will the new power structure be, in lieu of Baal's despotic henchmen?

Rich in story and art, Ganglords of Chinatown flows beautifully from beginning to end, all elements well paced. Action and exposition come about naturally, and plot development keeps readers on permanent alert for new twists and developments. Mike Hawthorne, the penciler, projects great energy into panels that helps create that pitched element so well interwoven into the story. His full page panels reveal striking moments in the plot, while other exceptional panels draw attention and importance to particular sequences. This of course is reinforced by Giulia Brusco's coloring and Rick Remender's inking. Together, they generate a mood for particular color schemes, that allow readers to automatically fall into step with the story's rhythm. Gideon's evolution as a character also manifests itself in the art as his depiction changes throughout.

Absent from this story is excess dialogue that often clutters the panels and pacing of so many graphic novels. In a story virtually devoid of exposition, the graphic novel depends solely on image and the spoken word, but words are not wasted so readers can enjoy ample panels of uninterrupted sequential art - vocal in its own right. Though gory and directed towards mature readers, Ganglords of Chinatown tells a compelling and complicated tale about faith, leadership, and power that leaves one panting by story's end. Sharp, stylish, action-packed, and insightful, this graphic novel has more than enough to offer any reader.

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