Jack reviews “Cinder and Ashe”

Hub Comics Jack Reviews Cinder AsheCinder and Ashe
Gerry Conway and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez
DC Comics, $14.99, recommended for mature readers

Hub Comics Jack Reviews Cinder Ashe 2Cinder and Ashe is a pulp masterpiece by writer Gerry Conway (Spider-
Man, Firestorm, Justice League of America), artist Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez
(Atari Force, Batman, as well as DC Comics Style Guides used for their
licensed superhero products), with traditional flat colors by the great Joe
Orlando (various EC Comics, Classics Illustrated, Mad Magazine). First
serialized in 1988, it heavily borrows from the detective genre while
commenting on the worldview of two distinctly different survivors of the
last days of Vietnam: a half American /half Vietnamese orphan-turned-street
thief named Cinder, and a marine named Ashe. The book takes place
between 1980s New Orleans and 1970s Saigon, intertwining the two
locations to flesh out the protagonists and how the tragic events of war (and
the results of war, poverty, corruption, etc.) still affect them. The book is
simultaneously lowbrow and highbrow; it uses traditional (but not
unsophisticated) comics storytelling and embraces detective tropes while
simultaneously investigating post-traumatic stress disorder.
The bad guys are bad: they’re misogynistic bigots, pimps and pushers,
corrupt politicians, and punk hooligans. This makes the good guys so
likeable; they’re honorable, fair, and they put the good of community in front
of their own personal needs. Despite its adult-oriented action, this is a DC
Comics title after all.

Action-packed and historically relevant, Cinder and Ashe excites and
intrigues. The characters are complex, the stakes are high, and the pacing is
expert. This comic came out around the same time as Watchmen and is a
lost masterpiece of the first wave of thinkers who dared to say “comics aren’t
for kids anymore.”

-Jack Turnbull