Thursday, March 15, 2012

John Woo's 7 Brothers - Garth Ennis

JOHN WOO'S 7 BROTHERS is a trade paperback collecting a five-issue comic book miniseries published several years ago. From what I gather from the additional material collected in the paperback, film director John Woo came up with the concept for the story, which was then fleshed out and scripted by well-known comics writer Garth Ennis. Ennis has written some things I liked a lot, such as the long-running Vertigo series PREACHER, and I've liked all of Woo's films that I've seen, so I was willing to give this one a try.

I wound up liking it even more than I expected. The basic story of seven heroic brothers with special powers goes 'way back in Chinese mythology, but Woo and Ennis have updated it to the present day. This version concerns seven very unlikely heroes with mystical powers who are gathered together to stop an evil, 600-year-old Chinese sorcerer from taking over the world. Ennis writes great dialogue (although for those of you who are bothered by cussin', be warned that there's a lot of it), and the story is fast-paced, funny, grotesque, and adventurous, all at the same time. The drawback is that there are a lot of characters and many of them aren't very well-developed, at least in this first series. But the handful the story concentrates on are excellent.

The art is by Jeevan Kang. It takes a little getting used to (at least it did for this traditionalist), but it's not bad. Also, it fits the story pretty well.

There are a few scenes that show John Woo's influence and might have been lifted right from his films, but overall I suspect this is more Garth Ennis's creation than Woo's, despite the title. Whoever came up with what, the finished product is pretty darned entertaining. If you're a comics fan and overlooked this one, you might want to give it a try.

No comments: