The Good Asian is an incredible series that mixes detective noir and historical elements in a way that’s fresh and new. It’s so good, Image Comics has added more issues to the maxiseries that has already gone back for more printings. The third issue is out this week and it may have the most important cliffhanger yet in the series.
This issue opens with a recap of actual historical events starting in 1870 through the repercussions of an earthquake that obliterated San Francisco in 1906. Over three pages, writer Pornsak Pichetshote and artist Alexandre Tefenkgi detail how the Chinese Exclusion Act was created to stop Chinese immigration to the United States and how the earthquake offered a loophole to those looking to get around the incredibly racist bill. It sets up the very real psychology and atmosphere of those living in 1936 San Francisco. There’s a killer on the loose, and all of this history only adds to the weight on the character’s shoulders.
Speaking of, this issue continues to show how well the creative team is writing good detective work. Oftentimes a detective is in the right place at the right time, but here there’s some clever and subtle teasing out of important details between Edison Hark and a young girl. This leads the story naturally to a new character and an ongoing issue Edison has is folks trusting him. An Asian cop, or even a detective for that matter, is a rare thing and for the most part, racism is so prevalent that justice is a hard thing to come by. In fact, Edison gives a powerful speech at one point that ties into justice and his motives, further setting up the fact that he is a solo hero amongst wolves. But is he a wolf himself thanks to the rules in which he must abide?
This issue also firmly establishes Lucy as a character. There are some clever touches to bring out her modern (for 1936 anyway) sensibilities. Tefenkgi and color artist Lee Loughridge continue to do exceptional work and you see that with how they keep your eye on Lucy. There’s a clever visual idea with shadows that help connect Lucy to Edison, for instance. Small details like a red translucent box highlighting key details or detective work help sell the fact that Edison is good at what he does. Color choices continue to intrigue especially for a noir story like this. One example is the harsh red light from lanterns in the city streets at night or a warm purple used when Lucy and Edison connect over sundaes.
It’s worth noting if you’re interested in the history referenced in this story there’s an immigration history timeline at the back of the book. There are also references for further reading.
The Good Asian continues to heat up with a killer on the loose and the politics of the time further complicating the psychology of its characters. The complicated history, the deeply real characters, and a mystery worth cracking all come together. As Pichetshote says in the letters, things are only going to heat up from here.
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