The Art of War by Kelly Roman

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The Art of War by Kelly RomanThe Art of War by Kelly Roman

Rating: 3 of 5 stars

A stunning and gritty graphic novel integrating the iconic strategy text by Sun Tzu into a sweeping thriller set in the near future when Wall Street is militarized and China is the world’s dominant economy.

Kelly Roman served time for a horrific friendly fire incident. Once free, he discovers that his brother died while working for Sun Tzu, the ruthless strategist who runs China’s global financial empire.

From the apocalyptic third world of suburban Ohio, Kelly heads into the futuristic Gomorrah that is Manhattan to infiltrate Sun Tzu’s organization and find out who murdered his brother–and why. Using the skills and genetic enhancements his Special Forces career provided him, he’ll confront both Sun Tzu and his nemesis, a monster of biotechnology known only as The Prince.

Throughout his harrowing adventure, Kelly documents Sun Tzu’s ancient wisdom, which guides him through each bloody battle and hairbreadth escape in his quest for vengeance and redemption.

Stunning artwork, engaging storyline… strange slapdash combination of the two. I’m no stranger to graphic novels, so that I was kind of bewildered by the two separate elements of this one coming together as one threw me for a loop. The characters are fluid, and the plot begs for more, but it can get confusing. Between the choppy narration, the ever-present excerpts from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War that really needed the most digestion and the sloppy dialogue, I just couldn’t find myself invested in the story until the very end when everything came to a head.

I liked it. I think what really pulled it all together for me was the fact that in the end, all the loose threads were tied off masterfully and brought full-circle when, in the middle–and even in the beginning–there seemed to be no closure in sight. There was more to be had, but the satisfaction of the dénouement pretty much compensated for the frustration erstwhile.

A strange but fulfilling ride, this art of war.

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