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John Woo's Seven Brothers Volume 1: Sons of Heaven, Son of Hell [Paperback]

By John Woo, Garth Ennis & Jeevan Kang (Illustrator)
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Item description for John Woo's Seven Brothers Volume 1: Sons of Heaven, Son of Hell by John Woo, Garth Ennis & Jeevan Kang...

The first graphic novel from superstar action film director John Woo and written by Garth Ennis. Six hundred years ago long, before history's great explorers stole the credit for their feats, mighty Chinese treasure fleets set sail to reach every continent. These voyages of discovery left behind an evil legacy and a plot by a powerful Chinese sorcerer to dominate the world. The story begins in modern day Los Angeles where an ancient Chinese prophecy must be fulfilled. Seven men with nothing in common but their destinies must face the Son of Hell to save the world.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   144
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.25" Width: 6.5" Height: 10"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 20, 2007
Publisher   Virgin Comics
ISBN  193441302X  
ISBN13  9781934413029  

Availability  0 units.

More About John Woo, Garth Ennis & Jeevan Kang

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! John Woo currently resides in Washington, DC. John Woo was born in 1948.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Comics & Graphic Novels > General
2Books > Subjects > Comics & Graphic Novels > Graphic Novels > General
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General

Reviews - What do customers think about John Woo's Seven Brothers Volume 1: Sons of Heaven, Son of Hell?

Great Art, But Difficult to Read  Oct 11, 2007
I was excited to download and read this comic, but to my disappointment, I can't even read some of the frames because the print is too small. When you try to zoom in, it just enhances the pixelation which makes it impossible to read. Even for 49 cents, I'm disappointed with this product.
What's in this one? How about a magical Chinese bloodline, unspoken abilities, evil sorcery, and, yes, beatdowns by prostitutes   Jul 1, 2007
New kid on the block Virgin Comics - I know; who that? - puts out this impressive graphic novel and, consequently, forces me to shell out my somewhat hard-earned cash. Until yesterday, I didn't even know this title existed and, if I hadn't peripherally glimpsed the arresting cover as I lurked in my local comic book store, I'd still be sadly unawares. John Woo's name was on the cover and, so, I just had to check it out. And, oboy. It turns out that John Woo's 7 BROTHERS, a trade paperback collecting the mini-series's gripping five issues, is spectacular. Suggested for mature readers (but I read it anyway), the story immerses you in the desperate doings of seven brothers (and one sister) as they contend against a seemingly omnipotent sorcerer. Conceptionalized by celebrated Chinese film director John Woo, scripted by Irishman Garth Ennis (PUNISHER, PREACHER, HITMAN), with interior art duties by Jeevan Kang (India), and covers rendered by Vampire Hunter D illustrator, Y. Amano (Japan), this is a comic book team of United Nations proportions, which nicely befits the theme of this series.

Here start the plot SPOILERS.

Here's the rather melodramatic plot breakdown: In 1421 (before Columbus, Magellan, and Cortez), vast Chinese fleets were sent on the Emperor's mandate to explore and map the world. But this venture bankrupts the nation of China, which then turns to a state of isolationism. Thus, after two years of far flung voyaging, the fleets are summarily recalled and all vestiges of the mission wiped out from all historical records. But there's a hint of an echo of a rumor that has been bandied about for centuries - that the fleets were, in fact, denied their welcome - that they, to this very moment, yet sail the haunted seas.

Cut to the present, as seven disparate but opportunistic men are lured in to Los Angeles by the promise of money. There, they are met by an enigmatic Chinese woman (and, naturally, she's hot) named Rachel Kai. Rachel narrates a strange story involving the fabled Chinese fleets, a corrupt sorcerer who styles himself the Son of Hell, and that sorcerer's clever but infinitely less powerful apprentice, who, once upon a time, attempted to save the world and was successful, for a time. But that time's done.

Now, events are set into motion which eventually ushers in the return of the Son of Hell, who is still very much consumed by dreams of world domination. That clever apprentice? He's planned for this, too. These seven men, hailing from all corners of the earth (Australia, Argentina, India, Nigeria, the Middle East, and the U.S.) and each possessing peculiar abilities, were brought together to save humanity from eternal subjugation. Seems that, irregardless of their nationality, they all share the same bloodline, their powers bequeathed down thru the centuries by the long-range planning of one lowly but resourceful apprentice.

SPOILERS end (mostly).

Scribe Garth Ennis has always had a penchant for turning out hard boiled characters. No different here as the villains are uncompromisingly evil and brusquely vindictive and will instantly dole out the ultimate harsh measure to gain their objectives. The lush Chinese mythology and mysticism, bridging hundreds of years to infect the present, contribute a dark, unearthly presence to the goings-on, but Ennis is careful to offset that with keeping his lead characters flawed, down-to-earth, and cynical. The chosen men, even as they admit to their own hidden powers, still react to the unfolding of outlandish events as you and I would if put in the same fantastical position. And, when these guys finally, reluctantly decide to join forces, they remain a contentious lot.

Now, granted, Ennis has his hands full as it's a challenge to individually flesh out a large cast of characters in a limited span of time. There is some character study, though it isn't ample. He almost does enough, though, as, with admittedly broad strokes, he delivers a sense of what each character is like. But, ruefully, as I read on, several of the seven gradually blended into the background. Ennis does do justice to one character, in particular: Ronald Wipes, who skulks in the 'hood with the self-nickname of Double-Double (because he's "twice the trouble"). Ronald is a ridiculous, small-time, and shockingly profane "pimp" from South Central L.A. who once got beat up 13 times in one week. In fact, the first time we see Ronald, he's getting viciously trampled by hoes. While the other six fellas were already cognizant of their respective talents, Ronald just doesn't seem to display any. Nevertheless, Ronald ends up becoming the most interesting and most humorous character in this series, and when his latent ability does finally surface,'s a doozy.

Two of the other protagonists do stand out, in my eyes: the seven's guide, Rachel Kai, who herself is unusually gifted. She's a cutie and very persistent. She gets her you-know-what handed to her several times but still remains implacable and unswerving. The other is the stately Nigerian Robert Akimbe, who has "super-sight" but who is reluctant to lead. In the opposite corner, the Son of Hell makes for a daunting villain, but, more than him, I really dug his bodyguard Zheng, who specializes in "conflict resolution" and can effortlessly scoop out his target's eyeballs with chopsticks. Simply put, in the street parlance of Double-Double, this dude is a baaad mamajama.

John Woo's idea is based on the classic folktale of the ten Chinese brothers, each of whom was gifted with an otherworldy trait. He embellished on this mythology and then handed the reins over to Garth Ennis. Now, Garth Ennis's blunt storytelling is historically marked with acute violence and hard-bit profanity, which proves to be ideal for this epic yet gritty mini-series. His pacing here, initially, does let up enough to fill in the reader with necessary exposition and for certain forces in the story to become aligned, but then it gains piledriver momentum as the seven become active participants, culminating in an all-out, no-holds-barred battle for the sake of humanity. Given, Ennis's concepts aren't necessarily trailblazing, but they're delivered with such in-your-face brazenness and visceral panache that you can't help but get sucked into the story. I still shake my head at what happens when the seven first meet up with the fearsome Zheng.

I don't know much about artist Jeevan Kang, other than he drew SPIDER-MAN: INDIA, which I haven't yet checked out. His art here is messily fabulous and often murkily rendered in shadows. It isn't exactly sexy but it's full of vitality, and his style does superbly convey the storyline's dark moods and tones, doing right by the grim fantastical structure set in a contemporary, urban background. Kang does well enough with the mundane stuff (ie: people in conversation or supping at meals) but he really excels in depicting the very brutal, highly graphic action sequences. As well, more credit goes to Kang who is partially responsible for the colors in the artwork. Mostly set in earthy tones, they help to lay down the brooding and gritty atmosphere. Overall, I like to think that both writer and artist manage to capture John Woo's stylish and poetic vision in violence, which seems to be a key essence of his craftsmanship.

This TPB also comes with added treats: a Frank Miller foreword; an informal biographical summation of the seven brothers; Artist's Commentary - Jeevan Kang talks about some of his favorite pages and why he likes them; the evolution of two scenes as they go from panel description to layout to pencils to final colors; variant covers; an afterword; and a 4-paged deleted sequence (Jack Donald returns to L.A.), shown here in pencil work.

*Sigh* I guess it's too much to ask that they do a movie version of this series, huh? Oh, well. Now, I'm not exactly sure if John Woo's SEVEN BROTHERS is a stand-alone mini-series or if a sequel is forthcoming. I would love for there to be one, and, certainly, the story's ending doesn't slam the door on that possibility. But, if this is all there is to the exploits of the seven brothers, well, color me content...No, wait, I take it back, dammit! I actually do want to read more about these guys and their cool powers (especially Ronald), and the brave Rachel Kai, and, of course, the ever ambitious but bald Son of Hell. Now, that guy, he *ahem* gets under my skin.

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