The Three Kingdoms, Vol. 1: Heroes and Chaos

Wei Dong Chen, Author, Xiao Long Liang, Illustrator
Wei Dong Chen and Xiao Long Liang. JR*Comics (jrcomics.com), $9.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-8-99420-889-3
Library Binding - 171 pages - 978-89-94208-90-9
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Adapted from the 14th-century Chinese epic novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which is considered one of the greatest books written in Asia—all 800,000 words of it—this graphic version wears its challenges on its sleeve. While interesting from a historical aspect, the source material dictates the tone and presentation. The story within the epic is presented episodically, following multiple characters through a China torn by rebellions, and each section is prefaced by a detailed explanation of the history behind the story. Informative, yes, but it also hangs up an iron curtain between each drama, so the book, despite creative efforts, becomes more successful as education than entertainment. In that realm, it’s invaluable, with Liang’s beautiful artwork surpassing anything you’d find in textbooks and Chen’s commendable efforts to bring the characters to life. (Jan.)
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