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‘White Savior’ Review: A Wacky Comic Book With Important Things To Say

We must have seen countless movies that glorify how a hero swoops in at the last second to save everyone in sight. Sometimes, even those who don’t wish to be saved (yes, I am talking about all those fiercely independent ladies; I see you). While true heroes like Captain America seldom exist, we are familiar with a lot of those who feel they are above everyone. And then, like a fresh breeze, we meet Todd Parker. He is a common American film history teacher, except that his roots are Japanese. Despite this, Todd has no interest in adopting his native culture. It’s probably for the best, given that he cannot eat two Asian meals in a row. America has engulfed his life and perspectives on everything he sees and hears. 

Todd Parker is the hero of the parody comic “White Savior.” The talented artists Eric Nguyen and Scott Burman have created this hilariously entertaining comic. Previously Nguyen has worked with many famous publications and has drawn classic comic book issues such as Iron Man, Logan, Batman, and many more. Nguyen’s immense experience in the industry makes him the perfect person to spearhead such a groundbreaking comic series.

The plot follows Todd’s journey from being mugged in broad daylight to going down a time wormhole where he lands in the exact tale, he has been hearing from his grandfather repeatedly. Though he does not believe a word of the stories he has heard, the bizarre time-traveling experience gives him a glimpse of the real struggles that his ancestors faced in his homeland. Interestingly, a teacher who cannot throw a punch land on a fierce battlefield, which is the kind of juxtaposition that furthers the story’s depth.

“White Savior” parodies the “white hero” trope, where Asians or any other non-white ethnicity in the world are deemed in need of being saved. Being an Asian himself, Nguyen is well aware of the struggles of Asians, and this truly resonates with every scene in the story. The way Todd thinks and presents his opinions on trivial things shows how he also has been whitewashed into believing the tales of America rather than trusting his own grandfather’s legendary tales. However, we can’t really blame him as his grandfather does not remain untouched by the wonders of America. His obsession with Oreo cookies shines a light on how westernization and American things seep into cultures across the world.

Moreover, the comic openly parodies Tom Cruise’s movie “The Last Samurai.” For years, we have seen white heroes know martial arts and be better in battle than the samurais and warriors who have trained for years on end. It makes absolutely no sense in retrospect, but those movies have somehow garnered public appreciation. To alter such a scenario, the creators of the comic extrapolated instances where the diversity and ingenuity of Asian culture can be accentuated over the white hero trope. Nonetheless, the story is far from being as serious as the topics it tackles. The plot of the comic is excruciatingly funny, with punks in need of therapy and contemporary quips as the warriors lose their phalanges and metacarpals. “White Savior” offers a much-needed shift in comics as it humorously revels in its impactful story and the representative hero. 

Furthermore, Nguyen has been extremely vocal about his views and thoughts that went into crafting the comic. The authors intended to expose the problematic elements of these tales, and they did it with humor and satire as their main tools. Eventually, that is the comic’s ultimate goal: to unite people and laugh at the madness and stupidity of the past, while also acknowledging the advancement that must be achieved ahead. Apart from just championing diversity, the comic dives headfirst into various modern facets like the attention spans of people, the ignorance of their culture, and, most importantly, a powerful rebuttal to stereotypes that sometimes become more memorable than the plot of their movies. Although it seems a compound of all possible genres as our protagonist travels back in time, witnesses an epic battle take place and lives his present life as a film history teacher, the comic is ever-shifting as it does not confine itself to just one box. Consequently, it checks off a variety of elements that go into making a highly entertaining story.

The plot does not just have depth and dimension; it is also fully aware of the story it weaves. “White Savior” does not take itself too seriously, even though very crucial issues form the foundation that kickstarts the comic. It breaks Asian characters and stories out of the mold of being underrepresented or ignored altogether. The vast majority of readers in the Asian mainland will relate to the tropes of the plot while laughing uncontrollably. This comic is just the first of four to come. As readers, we can’t wait for the rest of the comics to come out and know how Todd’s story unfolds.


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