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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Double Comic Review: Dragon Resurrection The First Adventure of Jesse and Jack Chang (ARC)

Review: Dragon Resurrection The First Adventure of Jesse and Jack Chang Writer:Mark Byers, Lin Zhang, Lyan Zhang
Artist:Erfan Fajar
Colorist:Sakti Yuwono, Beny Maulana, Yenny Laud
Cover Artist:Vosa Wang
Genre: Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Science-Fiction
Publication Date:May 15, 2013
Format:FC, 128 pages; TP, 7" x 10"
Age range:12

Discovering the remains of an actual dragon frozen in the mountains of Tibet, Chinese adventurer Jesse Chang sends a DNA sample to her geneticist twin brother Jack, who sets to work unlocking its potential to improve the human genome. But when a rogue American general learns of the discovery and kidnaps Jack, Jesse is forced to use the untested formula on herself, unleashing the ancient powers of the dragon.* Extended preview available at!
* Script by Emmy-nominated producer Mark Byers!

Guest Reviewer: Author Pamela Kinney
I give Dragon Resurrection The First Adventure of Jesse and Jack Chang 5 sheep!

“Dragons are real. They exist. Not just the stuff of legends and fairy tales, but living, breathing beasts, among the most powerful and intelligent beings on the faced of the earth.”

The comic begins with Emperor Ying Zheng using dragons to defeat kings and warlords in China centuries ago. But once he had achieved what he wanted with his blue and red dragon corps, the man is worried that he would be brought down by the very dragons he used. So he had every last dragon killed, and all books and manuscripts mentioning them destroyed. But two of his generals (one with the emperor’s daughter) escaped with the last blue dragon and red dragon, and disappear into the realms of fantasy. Or so it seemed. The story continues with a funded investigation by Dr. Chang, aided by his daughter, Jesse. They find what looks like the blue dragon and its rider inside ice. Out of nowhere, a mysterious woman appears and destroys it all. Or so it seems. They managed to get samples of the dragon’s DNA that Jesse sends to her brother, Jack at his lab at the University of California at Southern California. He gets assistance from his new lab assistant, Kate Clark, and they make a serum that with someone with the right markers to match can be injected with it. This will be his sister, as we soon find out. There are those who want to use this plus make more serum with other DNA of animals so that super soldiers can be created. 

The graphic novel is a different take on super heroes—with the super heroes being people able to morph into dragons with super powers. To me, a very cool concept. The artwork is fantastic and the dragon people wonderful. Most of all, I enjoyed the storyline, a blend of fantasy with science fiction. This will be an animated film coming out in fall 2014, and it has me chomping at the bit to see how well they will translate this to the big screen. I can not wait. 

Guest reviewer: Gef Fox Wag The Fox: a den for dark fiction
I give Dragon Resurrection The First Adventure of Jesse and Jack Chang 2.5 sheep!

Disappointed. That about sums up how I felt after I read this graphic novel that looked so promising at first glance. I should have loved this book, but by the time I finished, I realized the potential epic had wound up being an underwhelming romp.

While the plot may come off as a bit sketchy in spots, there's quite a lot of action, but the sporadic quality of the art and the humdrum dialogue bugged the heck out of me. Jesse Change, the globetrotting adventurer who helps her father discover an actual dragon frozen in the Tibetan mountains, was an interesting and engaging character. Her brother, Jack, served to be more irritating than anything else, with his brooding and overwrought diatribes as the paraplegic geneticist looking for a way to walk again by exploiting the dragon DNA.

It's not half bad, to be honest, with crazy actions scenes. Especially when the genetically enhanced mercs show up, morphing into anthropomorphic he-beasts, even going so far as to battle it out in a space station of all places. And the revelation that there is someone who is a match for the dragon DNA (just not Jack) is a cool way of bringing a dragon into present day without actually featuring the dragon discovered at the beginning of the book.

But for all of the stunning artwork and ramped-up action in half of the book, the other half is littered with cardboard characters made all the more lifeless by uninspired illustrations. It's a strange instance where the quality of the visuals seems dependent on the intensity of the action its depicting. So, in that regard, the book is half bad.

Apparently, there is an animated motion picture in the works for next year. I hope it doesn't offer as uneven an outing as this.


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