Aero (manhua)

Aero is a Chinese action/superhero manhua series written by Zhou Liefen and drawn by artist Keng since 2019. It is published by NetEase in collaboration with Marvel Worldwide Inc.[1] The series is a precursor to and spinoff of Marvel's Agents of Atlas comic book, and introduces the character of Lei Ling (aka Aero), a young architect based in Shanghai who possesses the ability to control and feel air currents, read chi, and fly.[2] The series is translated into English by Greg Pak, who also writes backup stories in the English language comic-book reprints, which are drawn by Pop Mhan and coloured by Frederico Blee.[3] These backup stories are not included in the trade paperback collected editions of the series.[2]

Aero
Aero Vol 1.jpg
Cover of the English language version of Aero Vol 1 (TPB)
Art by Keng
Publication information
PublisherNetEase in association with Marvel Comics
Schedulemonthly
FormatOngoing series
Genre
Publication dateJun 10, 2019 - present
Main character(s)Aero
Creative team
Written byZhou Liefen,
Greg Pak (US edition backup stories)
Penciller(s)Keng,
Pop Mhan (US edition backup stories)
Inker(s)Keng,
Pop Mhan (US edition backup stories)
Letterer(s)Joe Caramagna (English translation)
Colorist(s)Keng,
Frederico Blee (US Edition backup stories)
Editor(s)Mark Paniccia
Collected editions
Volume 1ISBN 978-1-302-91944-3

StoryEdit

In her civilian life, Lei Ling is an architect who helped build the city of Shanghai’s modern cityscape. However, she is also the superheroine Aero, and uses her powers of wind manipulation, flight, and the ability to detect and see the chi of others to battle supernatural threats to the city. The story follows Ling's attempts to balance life with her doting boyfriend Zou (who disapproves of her superhero life) with her life as a superheroine, while the city around her is attacked by her former mentor, the mysterious Madame Huang, who utilises crystalline warriors and the ability to control buildings to wreak untold destruction for an as-yet-unknown purpose.[2]

CharactersEdit

  • Lei Ling – The titular superheroine Aero, she is a young but experienced architect who leads a double life protecting the city of Shanghai as a superheroine.
  • Zou Yu – Ling's doting boyfriend, and a biologist at the National Institute of Science and Technology. He does not know that she and Aero are one and the same, though strongly suspects that this may be the case, enough to ask her directly in the first issue. Despite loving Ling dearly, he does not approve of Aero's methods or supports her as a superheroine. He plans to propose to Lei.
  • Madame Huang – A mysterious former teacher of Lei's who has been planting destructive crystals across Shanghai. She serves as the main antagonist of the series.
  • Keystone – Madame Huang's new apprentice, he is an aggressive partially human crystalline warrior, with over half of his body made of rock.

List of volumesEdit

  • Volume 1 – Before The Storm – Published 12 February 2020.[4] Collects Issues 1 to 6. Architect and superheroine Lei Ling, aka Aero, is forced to battle the very buildings she created, as they are animated by a mysterious force into living weapons of destruction. After dealing with the sentient buildings, a mile-long city appears in the sky and threatens to destroy Shanghai. Aero follows the chi of the city's controller to uncover the true mastermind of the destruction, only to learn that it is her former teacher, Madame Huang, who for as-yet unknown reasons is planning to destroy the city. When she attempts to defeat her former master, she is set upon by Huang's new apprentice Keystone, a half-man, half-rock monstrosity, who after an intense fight sends her crashing through a wall into her old office at the Sacred Tree Studio. In an interspaced flashback sequence that gradually takes over as the main plotline, several months earlier, Lei flies across the city for a date with her boyfriend Zou Yu, at an expensive tower-top restaurant. It is clear that Zou intends to propose marriage to her, but before he has a chance, a series of tornadoes suddenly appear and wreak havoc on the adjacent river. Needing to stop the tornadoes to rescue the people on a nearby ferry, Lei leaves to “powder her nose”, and uses her powers to dissipate the tornado, only for countless other tornadoes to spontaneously generate. After much struggle, Lei realises that a white jade tower that had formed in the middle of the river is to blame, and after battling a group of crystalline monsters that came from the tower, she approaches the tower and notices that the top piece is separate from the rest. After removing the top piece, the tower crumbles into the river, destroying all of the crystalline warriors. The battle won, Lei returns to her date only to be asked by Zou if she is Aero. Lying to Zou, she is shocked to learn that he is not a fan of Aero's methods. The next day, white jade towers erupt across the entire city, and Madame Huang introduces herself at Lei Ling's office.
  • Volume 2 – Publication date TBA

Critical receptionEdit

The series has received generally positive reviews from critics, with much of the praise being directed towards Keng's artwork. The series currently holds an average critic score of 7.4/10 on Comic Book Roundup.[5][6]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Marvel's 'first official Chinese superheroes' make online debut". South China Morning Post. May 10, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Leifen, Z., Keng. 2019. Aero Volume 1: Before The Storm. Marvel Worldwide Inc/NetEase. ISBN 978-1-302-91944-3.
  3. ^ "Aero (2019) #1 | Comic Issues | Marvel". Marvel Entertainment.
  4. ^ "Aero Vol. 1: Before the Storm (Trade Paperback)".
  5. ^ "Best Shots Reviews: AERO #1, SUPERMAN: UP IN THE SKY #1, CROWDED #7". Newsarama.
  6. ^ "Aero #1 Reviews". ComicBookRoundup.com.