King Lee instructs the younger of two sons (Prince Lee) to seek the path of Buddha and all it's wonderful powers. Soon after, the King and his closest heir die suspiciously, and the ambitious Queen is suspected of treason. The Queen is powerful and well protected by many skilled Kung Fu masters. Now earthly representatives of four religious sects, Taoism, Buddhism, Mysticism and Shingon rally together to teach and protect young Prince Lee from his malevolent stepmother the Queen and her many denizens. Little do they know it will take their combined efforts to defeat a foe that threatens spirituality as they know it.
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This historical fantasy from Hong Kong is steeped in Asian myth and legend, though to no understandable end because of confusing storytelling. The overarching plot is built on an ancient conflict between spirituality and evil. Taoism, Buddhism, Shinto and mysticism have earthly guardians called the Four Saints, who engage in lengthy battles against the Clan of Seven Evils and, it seems, each other. Their mission is to "teach people to become living deities of their own beliefs, finally entering the world of Nirvana, bringing peace to the human world." Their long fights are punctuated by long monologues riddled with religious and spiritual terminology, not all of it really decipherable, owing to either poor source material or incomplete translations. The first two-thirds of the story consist of these battle scenes, with character introductions and background stories appearing at the very end, forcing bewildered readers to move back through the book to understand what has just happened. In the tale, a king's son, heir to enormous powers and destined to be a Buddha, is threatened by his evil stepmother, now the queen of the realm. Transforming Asian religions into complex mythological superheroics is a unique idea in comics, but here, the backstory, constantly alluded to and never explained, renders the plot indecipherable. The artwork is muscular and well executed, if short on storytelling technique beyond fisticuffs and shouting. It's conceivable that the overall story might make sense in future volumes, but as it is, in story and art, this mythos is a mess.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Everything is depicted with fine lines and exceptional detail, and the coloring really helps bring his drawings to life." -- Pat King Animefringe
"If you like manic, no-holds-barred mayhem of Hokuto no Ken, then Story of the Tao is for you." -- Javier Lopez, Newtype USA
"The result of all this is one of the best comics I have read in my life. " -- Dr. Brown, Animerica, Jan 2003
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Book Description ComicsOne, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P11158899189X
Book Description ComicsOne. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 158899189X New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.1833892