The Ballad of Sang #1 Review

Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Alessandro Micelli
Colorist: Shari Chankhamma
Letterer: Crank!
Publisher: Oni Press

Review by Cory Webber

The Ballad of Sang #1 starts off with Sang, a mute child assassin, entering a club and brutally murdering a whole bunch of guys. His enthusiasm lands him in hot water with Don Minchella, the man who sent him on this very mission. The ensuing fallout leaves Sang in a desperate situation.

The Ballad of Sang #1 is most likely for fans of comics like Hit-Girl, what with its child assassin, ultra violence and mature language. So, umm, reader beware, yo!

Ed Brisson is a writer that has come on my radar recently. I have enjoyed his Iron Fist and Old Man Logan runs at Marvel, and, to a lesser extent, his Bullseye mini-series. He writes flawed characters very well, and I’m sure Sang is a character he will write very well…I just didn’t get a good grasp of that in this first issue. Brisson sets up the story just fine. It’s easy to follow and the pacing is great, so I’m assuming this will read better as a collected volume.

The art by Micelli in The Ballad of Sang #1 is gritty, which fits the style of the story very well. There is nothing innovative about any of the layouts or action; however, overall, the art is perfectly suited for this story. I did enjoy a couple of the close-up facial expressions of Sang. For someone who is mute, these were crucial in giving him a little more personality and depth.

For the most part, the colors were good for this story. However, there were several backgrounds that could have benefited from a splash of color, instead of the drab earthy tones that were used.

The lettering by Crank! was wonderful. From the dialogue, to Sang’s hand-written notes, to the sound effects, and especially, to Sang’s sign language subtitles. The letters were distinct and unique throughout.

Verdict: Wait and See.

Like I said before, I’m assuming The Ballad of Sang will read better as a trade, as this issue doesn’t give you too much background or story setup. In fact, the solicit by Oni Press provides more background than this entire first issue. I also can’t recommend this book based on the actual content. It was a little too profane, vulgar and ultra violent for my tastes, especially when it mostly involves a child assassin.

Cory Webber
Cory Webber is a devoted entrepreneur, husband and father. Having recently discovered the wonderful world of comics, he spends most of his free time devouring issue upon issue. The rest of his free time is devoted to sleeping.

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