It’s time to start digging though the pile, going through all those books you bought with the intention of starting right away but they got put on a pile and ended up living there. Some of these books are classics, some were at the time new releases. there’s a mix of big named titles and independent releases but they are all on the pile for the same reason, they sparked something in you. So here is the start of a new segment we’re calling “From the pile.”
Published by: Wildstorm
Written by: Andy Diggle
Art by: Leinil Yu
Inks by: Gerry Alanguilan & Richard Friend
Colours by: Dave Stewart
Letters by: Jared K. Fletcher
A little background on this book before we get started. At last years Thoughtbubble, whilst wandering around the convention floor Jack and I came across Andy Diggle sitting at his table in between lines and stopped to chat with him for a few minutes. during the course of the conversation Jack picked up Silent Dragon and asked if I had read it, I hadn’t, at that point Jack stuck his hand in his pocket and bought me a copy which Mr Diggle kindly signed for me. Jack didn’t say much about it just that I’d dig it and told me to put it in my bag. I did, it came home with me, went on the pile and that was where it has stayed for almost a year.
So lets get into this shall we. Silent Dragon is set in Tokyo, 2063 where the country is riddled with problems. civil unrest, government control and warring yakuza clans make the streets as hospitable as the surface of Mercury. The story follows a lieutenant in the black dragon clan, Renjiro, the most loyal advisor to lord Hideaki and what happens once he admits he is madly in love with lady Takara.
On the face of it Silent Dragon appears to be nothing more than a high-octane action book built around revenge and betrayal. Once you begin to dig a little deeper however you find that Silent Dragon poses a very interesting question. Are we the sum of our flesh or are we more than that? Renjiro is murdered for his betrayal but thanks to some futuristic tech his brain is saved and placed into a cybernetic body, a prototype made for the military which makes him almost indestructible. How much of him is left though? Is Renjiro simply a consciousness held together by meat and bones or is a person what they think and feel? Are you gone once your body decays or is there someplace for your soul to go? Like I said, it’s an interesting question and one that could be and has been discussed at length by people much smarter or more opinionated than I.
If you’re not in the mood for a full on philosophical debate there is the bulk of the book to distract you from the heavy questions. We follow Renjiro, now under the guise of Riezo a black market gun runner who is working both the military and the yakuza clans against each other. What you have in your hands is a violent sci-fi book which people who enjoy Tokyo Ghosts will no doubt eat up. To accompany the story is the wonderful work from Lienil Yu, his use of panels or lack of panels is fantastic. They keep the narrative tight and focused and then explode outwards when the pace gets bigger and seen as this book if filled with huge mechanoids and cybernetic samurai’s you had better believe me when I say it explodes!
Silent Dragon isn’t perfect however, it does have it’s flaws. The dialogue can be a little too much exposition at times and it does feel like there is much more of this world to explore. I personally would have liked to see a little more of that but you can’t have everything in a mini-series now can you? It is however a really enjoyable book packed full of cool characters and awesome future-tech. Definitely one for anyone who is jonesing for a little more Akira styled action in their daily life.
Story – 3/5
Art – 4/5
Overall – 7/10