Staff Pick (August 10): Pang The Wandering Shaolin Monk Volume 1 HC

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Debut comics are always a gamble. A new talent with a new story and a new voice — who knows if this is the book folks have been looking for? I’ll take the bet that this one is it.

Pang The Wandering Shaolin Monk balances all the hallmarks of a great story. Creator Ben Costa presents a young monk during a time of war and great social upheaval in not-so-ancient China. The reader follows Pang through the battle that destroys his temple and into the first city he’s ever seen where he meets the first girl who’s ever spoken to him all while the politics of life outside the temple conspire to kill him.

Pang himself is a powerful warrior, a dedicated student, a fumbling young man, an honest soul, and entirely human. It’s not surprising to see that the earnest complexity found in Pang is the same found in the entire story: large in scope, with heartfelt detail — epic in subject, but depicted in simple, lively colors.

See PREVIEWS page 292

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