I’ll be the first to admit that ever since I picked up Powers, I’ve thought Michael Avon Oeming is a god. I love the man’s style, and I am unashamed. So, in truth, I sought out this title not because it was a movie starring Chow Yun Fat and directed by John Woo, but because Oeming was attached to it. So shoot me.

What I got for my trouble was a kung-fu action story with a great big heart at the center of it, full of loyalty, a key awareness of history, and an array of intriguing characters that I still want to know more about. Kar, a young Tibetan man living in the U.S., has generally gone where life has taken him, currently that path leading him into the society of street gangs. What he doesn’t know is that both Chinese assassins and the government are seeking him out to discover his place in a puzzle streching back to Nazi experimentation in Tibet before World War II. As Kar begins to search his own memories and his family’s stories for the truth behind the legend of the Bulletproof Monk who saved the Tibetans from Nazi horror, he also begins to find the worth in himself and his own choices. As with the best stories, the plot wraps up but also leaves the story wide open to continue — a thing I’d love to see. Of course, Oeming’s artwork still kicks butt.

Bulletproof Monk
ISBN: 1582402442
by Brett Lewis and R. A. Jones
Art by Michael Avon Oeming and Jason Baumgartner
Image Comics 2002

  • Robin B.

    | She/Her Teen Librarian, Public Library of Brookline

    Editor in Chief

    Robin E. Brenner is Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts. She has chaired the American Library Association Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection List Committee, the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee, and served on the Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She is currently the President of the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table for ALA. She was a judge for the 2007 Eisner awards, helped judge the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards in 2011, and contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. She regularly gives lectures and workshops on graphic novels, manga, and anime at comics conventions including New York and San Diego Comic-Con and at the American Library Association’s conferences. Her guide, Understanding Manga and Anime (Libraries Unlimited, 2007), was nominated for a 2008 Eisner Award.

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