Waiting For The Trade – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon vol 1

Story: Wang Du Lu
Author & Artist: Andy Seto

When I picked up this volume from the library I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m a big fan of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon particularly the performances of Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh whose repressed love for one another just bleeds through in every scene they have together. I was expecting an adaptation of the film however that’s not what this book is. Set decades before the film this book deals with the first meeting of Li Mu Bai and Yu Shu Lien and whilst the film is based on events largely in the 4th of a series of books by Wang Du Lu this book is more of a movie prequel than it is an adaptation of an earlier book in the series and changes a lot of the events. That’s fine by me, I’ve never read the books so happenings before the movie are a clean slate.

This collection from ComicsOne has a manga form factor but is laid out in Western left-to-right/front-to-back and unusually in my limited manga experience is also in full colour. This adds a tremendous amount to the art, the kinetic nature you expect with most manga is maintained but the colour adds layers of depth and texture to the art. This along with the movie flourishes that Seto uses make it simple to visualise the action, particularly the uses of Lightfoot Kung Fu and the various fight scenes. The quiet scenes also shine through, a scene of Li Mu Bai meditating amongst waterfalls is absolutely beautiful.

Probably the most recognisable character of the two leads is Li Mu Bai. Whilst he hasn’t had the years repressing his feelings his utterly calm demeanour is there as it will be later, Yu Shu Lien on the other hand is a little more rash than she’ll be seen to be later, getting herself involved in fights to protect her father and responding to Mu Bai’s interest in a combative, feisty fashion. There’s a reasonable amount of backstory that you’re given but relatively little plot within the book itself, it feels like largely setup for later events. This is the first of 12 volumes and it’s a shame that there’s not a bit more to it, 128 pages sounds like a lot but in this instance it’s just a taster and I want more!

Rating:
Reviewer: Dave Williams

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One comment

  1. wow i hope you can make a cover like this for my stories…

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