Black Tiger is a legend in the city of Los Santos. For over 20 years he has protected the city.
The Black Tiger is a vigilante, a meta-human, that is keeping the city of Los Santos safe. The safety of the citizens is threatened by ill-intention meta-humans and the mafia. The mantle or “gift” is passed on honorably from generation to generation in the family. Unfortunately, the next generation that inherits the mantle chooses the dark side.
Black Tiger: Legacy of Fury is a modern-day martial art, super-powered adventure in which the new Black Tiger dishonorably uses the gift of mystical powers and ignores his responsibilities as the Black Tiger. He battles his sister with the fate of their city and family legacy at stake. Will the new generation destroy the legacy of the Black Tiger?
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Black Tiger: Legacy of Fury is created and written by John Hervey (Troubleman), with pencils by Rod Luper (Star Wars: Outlander) and Diego Bernard (X-Men Gold, Witchblade). Cover art done by Greg Horn (New Avengers, Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal, X-Men Universe), inked by Arne Starr (The Legion of Super-Heroes, Star Trek), Robert Hawkins, JP Mayer (X-men Gold, Amazing Spider-man), and Chuck Drost (Supergirl Plus, Troubleman). The book was colored by Robert Hawkins, Vinicius Townsend (G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero), and Beezzz Studios, lettered by Marco Della Verde (Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom), and edited by Priscilla Hervey.
Black Tiger: Hidden Dragon Vol. 1 is created and written by John Hervey, with pencils by Rod Luper. Cover art by Rod Luper and Artecida, colored by Vincius Townsend, lettered by Marco Della Verde (Achille’s Inc), and edited by Priscilla Hervey.
Black Tiger: Legacy of Fury is a riveting story packed into a 172-page, full-color graphic novel featuring all six issues of the eponymous mini-series that until now has only been available in its entirety digitally apparently.
Black Tiger: Hidden Dragon Vol. 1 is an 88-page full-color graphic novel featuring all three issues of the mini-series.
Black Tiger: Legacy of Fury
For years, Black Tiger has used his meta-human powers and bone-crushing kung fu to protect the innocent of Los Santos. When an assassin’s bullet ends the hero’s life, the mantle is passed on to the hero’s son Eric.
Around the same time he takes on the Black Tiger Mantle due to circumstances Eric becomes the new leader of the Red Dragon Triad Society. With its defender gone, Los Santos becomes a city at war, torn between the gangs, the feared and hated meta-humans and the police who are pushing to enforce their own form of martial law in an attempt to restore order. While Eric is adapting to being the new leader and the Black Tiger, his sister, Jennifer “Jenn” Fong, deals with her father’s death in her own way.
Jenn, a straight-arrow Assistant Defense Attorney, begins her own investigation into her father’s mysterious death only to learn the secret of the Black Tiger and that Eric is seeking revenge against the wrong party. The deck is stacked against her. Eric has superpowers and an entire gang of ruthless soldiers to support him in his quest for power and revenge.
First, Jenn tries to reason with her brother, then appeals to “family and honor” and when Eric refuses both, she must resort to force but she is not as powerful as her brother. Sister battles brother against the backdrop of a city on fire to determine who will wield the mantle of the Black Tiger.
Black Tiger: Hidden Dragon
Jenn Fong must balance her career and personal life with her blossoming power and responsibilities as Black Tiger. As the unexpected recipient of mystical martial arts superpowers that have been in her family for three generations, Jenn strives to restore the heroic legacy of her father while warring factions bring the city of Los Santos to the brink of implosion.
Driven by the unsolved murder of her father and defamation of his name both as an officer of the peace and as a Black Tiger, Jenn wages a personal and professional battle against injustice. Jenn’s purpose and the unpredictability of her new powers collide as the socially downtrodden meta-humans poise themselves for an insurrection that threatens not only the social fabric of the city but also unmasks the true forces behind the death and desecration of her father’s legacy.
To save the city of Los Santos and restore the disgraced names of both the Fong family and the Black Tiger, Jenn must go farther, dig deeper, and bring it with more bone-crushing kung fu than ever before.
Initially, I thought this was a story about a mixed-race woman based on the wraparound cover for the “Black Tiger: Hidden Dragon”. In the book, she has several faces, and her figure looks weird during some action sequences.
BLACK TIGER: LEGACY OF FURY
The first book tells the story of the origins of the legend of the black tiger. The story centers around the siblings Jenn and Eric. Jenn was an annoying character. She is supposed to be smart, but she is dumb. She has a boyfriend that clearly cheats on her, but she chose to ignore it. When it’s right in front of her face she finally leaves him but comes right back to him just to have him reject her and make her feel that she is at fault. But she is not the only weak character.
Her father did a poor job in raising them on the importance of the gift and what it means for the family. It seems he didn’t have a support system to help him either since he always seems to be on patrol. This made it difficult for him to raise his son and his daughter. Both siblings seem to have grown apart. The brother seems to hate his sister.
Instead of training both his kids to prepare them to receive the gift since both of them seem to be recipients of it, he only focused on his son but wasn’t strict enough. According to tradition, the eldest son inherits the gift after the father dies. Training together could have nurtured their sibling’s bond.
After his father was murdered Eric inherits the gift and becomes the new Black Tiger. He also becomes the substitute leader of the Red Dragon Triad Society. He uses the power of the Black Tiger for revenge not for defending the innocent and seeking justice as his father did. He seems to have no desire to honor his father’s wishes and follow in his footsteps.
He is corrupted and has no mercy. Not even for his sister who his gang members physically attacked. After the attack her gift is activated, I’m assuming. She has visions of a black tiger and a red dragon. The spirit of her grandfather tells her to rise up. She apparently also has the gift now? Why couldn’t her gift be activated during the attack? Because she was not trained like her brother her mystical powers are weak it seems.
Somehow, Eric sees the light in the end when it’s too late, and I’m supposed to feel sorry for him. I didn’t. In the spirit world, he gets forgiveness from his father. It is implied that Jenn inherited the Black Tiger mantle, and the story ends with her on the last panel.
Reading the book was a challenging experience. I read it at night and could hardly read the black on red or the black on orange letters. The format seems to be inconsistent. It’s the same with interior art. In some places, Jenn’s face seems different. But you can also see it on the cover art.
I also think the cover art choices could have been better. The main characters are the father, the brother, and the sister. Most of the story is about the brother and the sister. Why not have them on the cover to represent and sell the story? As it is the cover is selling Jenn as the protagonist when she technically isn’t.
BLACK TIGER: HIDDEN DRAGON VOL. 1
Jenn seems to be a stronger character in this story, both physically and mentally. We learn about how her grandparent immigrated to the United States from China. Her visions of the Black Tiger and the Red Dragon continue.
Since her brother did not protect the city like their father, the city authorities established their own defense team against the meta-humans and the mafia. At the same time, she must deal with an annoying ally that is looking for an alliance against the Lady Dragon. On the streets, the situation gets worse. Authorities are hell bend on taking down all the meta-humans including the Black Tiger. There is a war on the streets and the mafia is looking forward to escalating it to the next level.
The lettering problem for me remains, It’s challenging to read in some places. There are a lot of fighting scenes this time around. Some look good, others don’t. There seems to be an obsession with the open leg position during the fighting scenes. Even most of the cover art by the end of the book has that position illustrated. I guess it’s very popular?
The chapter dividers with the chapter titles are too dark to read. Further, why is the first page of the book with the red dragon washed out when in bright colors it is absolutely stunning? In my opinion, the first pages should grab your attention to read more.
The book ended on a cliffhanger that did not feature the Black Tiger as the first book did. Maybe I’m nitpicking but I do appreciate some consistency.
EXPERIENCE WITH THE CROWDFUNDING PROJECT
When I decided to back the “Black Tiger: Hidden Dragon” crowdfunding campaign, I chose the “Catch me Up Tiger” tier which included The first volume of Black Tiger: Legacy of Fury, and the current book Black Tiger: Hidden Dragon, the wraparound cover by Rod Luper. What intrigued me about the project was that I thought I would be getting a story about a mixed-race woman who knows martial arts.
Stretch Goals included having Rod Luper’s cover as a wraparound cover and one free amazing 6″ x 2″ metal Dragon Bookmark to every Backer as a physical reward. You could also get a metal bookmark as an add-on which I did. You can’t have too many of these, they look amazing and are durable. Perfect for reading thick books or hardcover versions.
The updates on the progress of the campaign were timely provided by the project manager. I had no issues receiving the books after receiving the tracking number just a few weeks after contributing to the campaign.
While the story about the Black Tiger is interesting, it didn’t read smoothly. I’m not as enthusiastic about the art either. So, even though I had no issues with the customer service and receiving the books, the reading experience was not that great.
This would be the first time during the first year of crowdfunding entertainment that I’m not completely satisfied with a book. It’s weird but it happened. I’m no comic expert by any means. Prior to last year, I didn’t know much about the American comic book industry so I’m approaching this from a “normie” perspective.
Too many chefs in the kitchen can be problematic. Way too many people were involved with the interior art of the “Black Tiger: Legacy of Fury”. The first thing you see is the list of the creative team. The odd thing is that there were specific pages credited to different artists. It’s the first time I’m seeing that. Were the artist divided into teams and each team was assigned a set of pages? Then they came up with their own interpretation?
Maybe it’s none of the above but from reading the books and checking out the art it seems that there was little consistency about how Jenn should look and what her specific physical characteristics should be. In the second book, the art was a little more contained and structured.
I have the feeling there is something I’m missing because I don’t know about the journey of how the single issues were made. Projects based on existing material usually have a foreword page where they share part of the history and their journey to compile the material and bring it to life. Maybe there were challenges that new readers just don’t know about.
In any case, this was my experience, but it doesn’t mean it will be the same for others. Maybe I’m not the intended target audience and that is totally fine.
As of date, the crowdfunding campaign of Black Tiger: Hidden Dragon Vol. 1 is still active if you want to check it out on Indiegogo and get the mini-series books. Or check the digital individual issues at the Beyond Time Comics’ website.
Interested in more titles? Check them in the “EYES ON” series wherein I documented my experience with crowdfunding entertainment and shared my notes on the products I received.
My notes are all set. Let me know what you think.
See you on the next page!