The Art of War
Writer: Kelly Roman
Art: Michael DeWeese
Letters: Jason Arthur
Colors: Crawford Hart
Calligraphy: Ming Sheng Wang
Publisher: Harper Collins
Author Kelly Roman has created a world set 20 years in the future that most Americans fear.
China is the most dominant country on the planet and rules the global economy with an iron fist. Wall Street is militarized as a result and every facet of this new infrastructure is even more convoluted than before.
Behind it all is a financial company called Trench that controls everything.
The heart of the story lies with an ex-soldier, whose name is also Kelly Roman. He travels to New York in order to discover who is responsible for his brother’s death.
The crisp and carefully constructed detail in the artwork brings an element of elegance to the over three hundred blood spattering pages that are not for the faint of heart. The only colors used for the depictions are black, white and red.
The legendary passages of Sun Tzu that are distributed through the book serve as the tipping point for this dystopian saga.
Roman, the main character in the book, is an interesting person with many layers to his complicated but efficient personality.
His salty past is made evident after returning home from a military prison to visit his ex-girlfriend. She was horrified to see him and the sight of her physical appearance was equally horrifying to him with just cause since he is responsible for her having robotic body parts.
Seeing his handiwork will produce zero sympathy for Roman’s character.
However, Roman’s journey is war and besides the art of Michael DeWeese, there is nothing pretty about it. This is because the crux of the story lies in the emotionless precision in strategy preached by Tzu and that Roman will need to practice in order to reach his end game.
When reading this, is it is easy to tell that a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into the production of this graphic novel. I’m not joking. Actual blood went into this as creators Roman and DeWeese had their blood drawn in front of a live audience in New York’s Chinatown and stamped on the covers that were given away to fans.
The original Art of War is one of those books that have been collecting dust on my bookshelf for years now. It has been on my to read list for a long time. They say good things come to those who wait and in this case it paid huge dividends because the phenomenal experience that occurs while reading this graphic novel is something you will never forget. If you didn’t procrastinate like myself, chances are, you will find a new appreciation for the text because the imagery takes on a life of its own as you will be treated to the best black and white artwork you may ever see, while the script is simply superb.