Writer: Tamora Pierce & Timothy Liebe
Artists: Phil Briones(p), Don Hillsman(i), Chris Sotomayor(colors)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
This...makes...sense. White Tiger makes sense. It makes sense that Hector Ayala would bestow his magic amulets to his niece. It makes sense that "Daredevil" would take an interest in her future. It makes sense that she would quickly deduce his real identity. It makes sense that Spidey would also come to the same conclusion. It makes sense that the masquerade would intertwine with the White Tiger's story. It makes sense that Angela del Toro, our Tiger, would after being dismissed from the FBI end up as a security operative. The whole thing makes sense. I'm not used to comic books making sense.
Tamora Pierce and Timothy Liebe open the story with a resolution to last issue's cliffhanger. The Tiger rises from the dead, so to speak, thanks to the properties of her amulets. She then proceeds to interrogate one of the Big Bad's men. The way in which Tiger gathers potential clues and leaves the actor draws upon del Toro's FBI experience. Her humiliation of the actor is in fact a textbook example differentiating between modus operandi and signature, something of which every seasoned agent would be aware.
"Daredevil" escorts the Tiger home and administers first aid, off panel. Pierce and Liebe use "Daredevil" cleverly. He's the one hero who has a right to watch out for the Tiger, and he's the one hero whose actions cannot be misinterpreted. His treatment of the Tiger is neither condescending nor chauvinistic. His treatment leans more toward the paternal, which should be expected.
Pierce and Liebe next segue from a Tiger interrupted drug deal to del Toro's job interview. Once again, the writers provide simply good, solid dialogue that serves as exposition as well as natural words and tones of realism. The authors transplant the questioning to an area where questions would be asked. Such a technique eschews artifice.
Not all of The White Tiger is realistic. Pierce and Liebe have the characters talk and interact naturally, but they also make use of two fantastic genres: super-hero and martial arts. They blend both well. The authors with their action scenes recall grindhouse classics such as Street Fighter and Sister Street Fighter. In a martial arts film, a duel can break out anywhere at any time. In White Tiger, such a melee occurs on a dance floor and helps reinforce the uniqueness of the book.
The team of Phil Briones, Don Hillsman and Chris Sotomayor are perfect for The White Tiger. They know proportion. They're familiar with scale. They are able to illustrate understated expression, which gives the book a more graceful visual theme counter to the typical over the top bombast of comic books. Furthermore, they clothe characters well and do not merely select garb from the latest belly-button bearing celebrity. What's more it appears they have actually studied martial arts moves and easily transpose them to the pages.
White Tiger is not to be missed. The writing craft tickles the ears. The artwork pleases the eyes. The characters attract and rivet your attention.
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