|Eagle Takes Flight|
A few years ago, I distinctly remember seeing a TV episode of "House M.D." where the belligerent doctor informed a black politician aspiring to the Presidency that; "it's not just called the White House because of the paint job". And while it was offensive, he was right.
Eagle: The Making of an Asian-American President was a very pragmatic, compelling, and enthralling saga of Kenneth Yamaoka who ran and won the 2000 Presidential election (years before Barack Obama broke the race barrier) as a third-generation Japanese immigrant who served and nearly died in Vietnam before becoming a lawyer and then a United States Senator.
It’s also a bit disturbing to me to see the tangled mess of political intrigue and scandal and rumor mongering that takes place; where oftentimes, it’s not the issues which define the success of a politician, but his public image. But that’s what makes this manga series so brilliantly insightful, because there is a ring of authenticity to it.
Much of the manga is told through the eyes of a young idealistic Japanese journalist Takashi Jo who brings to mind James Stewart as "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington". Just after the tragic accidental death that claimed the life of his single-parent mother who raised him, he learns that Yamaoka has handpicked him to write an in-depth article about his groundbreaking campaign. Jo is given a close, behind-the-scenes view of the Yamaoka campaign—and comes to admire Yamaoka as a politician, even if he does not respect him as a man (particularly after he discovers that Yamaoka is secretly his biological father who had a brief affair with his mother). Jo finds himself wondering why his father has chosen to bring him into his life at this particular time; while part of him longs to believe that his father wants to help advance his fledging journalism career—he cannot help but suspect that his manipulative father has another role, to neutralize a potential scandalous skeleton in his closet.
Even more chillingly, Jo wonders if his father may or may not have had his mother killed and arranged her murder to appear as an accident to prevent a potential political scandal. There are a myriad twists and turns throughout the series, it's a surprisingly interesting ride; even if you aren't one for political thrillers.
The art is excellent and very realistic, the characters are incredibly genuine and there are more than a few thinly-veiled real life political figures populating the pages, and the storyline is superb with its character-driven and complex plot. Even if you’re not for political dramas, I think many would find this series highly enjoyable.
RATING: 4 and 1/2 STARS!!!!