Adult/High School-This graphic novel collects the prequel and first six issues of the ongoing comics series "The Path." Combining superhero sensibilities with a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon aesthetic results in a compelling, at times beautiful work that will have no trouble finding readership. The characters and plot can be complex, and the work is best suited to older teens. The title refers to Obo-San, a monk who lost his faith when he witnessed the murder of his brother at the hands of capricious and cruel beings that he believes were the gods he once honored. Armed with a mystical weapon, and backed by two unusual martial-arts experts, Obo-San rebels against a supernaturally controlled monarchy in an epic battle for justice. The artwork is both bold and subdued, relying on heavy black lines, muted earth tones, and dramatic layout. At times, it resembles an elaborate patchwork of panels, while elsewhere it flows powerfully across both pages. In a concluding interview, Sears makes no bones about his artistic inspirations for "The Path": Frank Miller, creator of the "Sin City" books (Dark Horse) and The Dark Knight Returns (DC Comics, 1997); and Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima's influential martial-arts saga, "Lone Wolf and Cub" (Dark Horse). While it doesn't quite measure up to Miller's revolutionary oeuvre, and lacks the stark purity of "Lone Wolf," the compelling darkness (both literal and metaphoric) of this work bears the stamp of its progenitors.
Douglas P. Davey, Guelph Public Library, Ontario, Canada
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 9-12. This first installment in The Path graphic-novel series explores the crisis of faith confronting Obo-san, a monk disillusioned by the gods' murder of his brother, and also General Ryuchi, Obo-san's boyhood friend, who serves the mad emperor of Nayado. After his brother's death, Obo-san swears revenge against the gods. His vow and his newfound cynicism lead him to question the decisions of the emperor, putting him at odds with Ryuchi. The story, with a fair amount of classic comic-book violence, seems like a Clint Eastwood western--moody, epic, and iconoclastic--with characters, heroes and villains alike, mostly victims of circumstance and their code of honor. The action is slow to start and the plot is very intricate, but Sears' art pulls readers through the rough spots, with its stark black backgrounds and details getting a lift from rich, yet subdued, colors. An appended interview with Sears is a great bonus for YAs curious about how comics are created or interested in working in the business. Tina Coleman
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The Path is a very good read for avid comic fans that look beyond muscle bound super men. It's artistic approach is done with a Japanese flat style with compositions layed out... Read morePublished on Aug. 4 2003 by Jeremy Browning
As big a fan as I am of CrossGen comics in general, "The Path" is not really a book for me. I've never been the biggest fan of Bart Sears' artwork, and at times it becomes quite... Read morePublished on July 31 2003 by Blake Petit