The Ballad of Sang – An Ode to the Unexpected

Review by Sam Beard

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Synopsis:

Hit writer Ed Brisson (OLD MAN LOGAN, CABLE) and newcomer Alessandro Micelli present a homage to Takashi Miike films with THE BALLAD OF SANG, the story of a child assassin raised in violence and out for revenge after his master is murdered. When a mistake on a job brings the wrath of Don Minchella down on him, Sang barely escapes with his life. While Sang swears revenge for his fallen mentor, every gang in the city mobilizes to return him to Minchella… dead or alive.

A digital copy of The Ballad of Sang was provided by Oni Press and NetGalley for review.

Sang is a child assassin in a world full of violent and vengeful adults. His world is populated by people starving for money, drugs, food, and any kind of purpose. He was forced to grow up far too fast, and now he faces a scenario no one his age should have to deal with. His life is up for ransom, and he must defend his life or die trying.

The characters in this graphic novel are nothing short of colorful. You have a troupe of rock n’ rollers, hipster Gatsby wannabes, and a gang of kick-butt roller derby women. At some point throughout the story, they each take a stab at Sang.

Sang’s one ally, Lucy, seems to be the only person with any kind of decency left in the world. Everyone else is perfectly willing to sell our Sang for the promise of personal gain.

This story is a cautionary tale about the dangers of allowing material things control your life. It warns against forgetting that no matter how different or multifaceted the people around you may be, they all deserve respect. Perhaps most importantly it teaches that when you seek violence you can’t be surprised when violence finds you.

Though I appreciate what the book is saying, it came off as a bit heavy handed to me. There were also moments that felt a bit overly gruesome, but that’s more a matter of personal taste. I did enjoy the art, it has a very 80s high action vibe that was a lot of fun. If you enjoy bloody violent graphic novels with lots of heart, I definitely recommend this one!

The Ballad of Sang trade paperback which collects the first five issues of the series is set for release on March 26th, 2019.

You can follow me on Twitter @SamanthaMaybe and Instagram at sammaybereading for some of my other reviews.

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