Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Book #46

White Tiger: A Hero's Compulsion, by Tamora Pierce, Timothy Liebe, Phil Brione, et. el. Graphic Novel.

I am a huge fan of the animated Ultimate Spider-Man series, featuring teenage versions of Spidey, Nova, Power Man, Iron Fist, and White Tiger. The only one of these five I was not familiar with was White Tiger, so when I saw this trade paperback collection, I picked it right up. This reprint was produced in 2007, collecting the series' only six issues.

Angela del Toro comes from a crime-fighting family. A former FBI agent herself, her brother works for the NYPD and her uncle was formerly the White Tiger. She anonymously received the mysterious power amulet, and it transforms her into the new White Tiger, under the tutelage of Daredevil. 
Angela's friends include Luke Cage (PowerMan),  Danny Rand (Iron First), and their portions of the story are among its best moments, both in terms of the plot moving forward and developing Angela's character.  There was history to the character that I did not bring to this story, but I felt that Pierce did a good job making that backstory a vital part of this story.

This adventure finds White Tiger in a street-level fight against an American arm of the Yakuza. Japan's crime organization has brought blank passports and ID's into New York City, and Angela needs to stop these before they are distributed throughout the underworld. She faces numerous dangers, including a few run-ins with the Lizard and Cobra. There was an action sequence stretching over issues 5 & 6 involving a waterproof and a battle with the Lizard that was terrific. The final fight, where White Tiger is joined by Power Man, Iron Fist, Spider-Man, and Black Widow, is also very strong. Despite the multiple heroes in these scenes, White Tiger is never pushed to the side. This is her story, and the eventual victory is rightly hers.

Tamora Pierce is a best-selling YA fantasy author, and she brings her novelist's ear for inner dialogue to this, her only effort in comic books. I thought her work here was solid, and would be interested in reading anything else she brought to the medium.

Cross-posted to the Book Guys site.

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