Arts Books By The Book literature Review Singapore

★★★★☆ Book Review: Mr Tino (Volume 2) by Russell Molina and Mikey Marchan

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A dramatic conclusion to a bold take on the superhero genre.

Like any good comic series, volume 1 of Russell Molina’s Mr Tino left us on a cliffhanger, a shock death that leaves our titular hero devastated by loss. So of course, we were ready to dive right into volume 2, where we’d hurtle towards the end of Mr Tino’s series, and see if he finally gets his revenge.

Molina and illustrator Mikey Marchan quickly establish themselves as masters over emotional whiplash in this volume’s first few pages, giving the semblance of happier days before dragging Mr Tino back to painful reality with a snap. Whether as a new reader or someone returning to the comic, it’s all the motivation we need to understand the depth of Tino’s loss, and gives him the push to finish what he started, using his newfound super strength for good.

With hints of Korean director Park Chan Wook’s masterpiece Oldboy, what follows from here is a non-stop, action-packed romp through the city, as Tino gets to the heart of the kidnappings introduced in the first book. Putting a supernatural twist on this Filipino issue, we’re introduced to superpowered children as they give chase to Tino, in dramatic, tension-filled scenes that ramp up the adrenaline.

It’s easy to forget that Mr Tino was once an ordinary 66-year old shopkeeper with plenty of powered, over the top moments that allow him to perform extraordinary feats. Even his wheelchair-bound sidekick gets in on the action – grabbing onto the back of a truck to beat a hasty retreat is perhaps one of the most exciting scenes we’ve seen that empowers even the differently-abled and gives him a firm place as a secondary hero in this series.

Not to mention, even Mr Tino’s villains look like villains, oozing with treachery and with the distinct possibility and power to kill off our heroes with brute force. The final showdown is beautifully stretched out that allows us to feel the length of time that passes as they fight, with well-thought out sound effects and poses that add to the heightened realism of these scenes. Drawing to a close after a flashback scene leading to an epic, climactic finisher, we realise we’ve been holding our breath the whole time we’ve been flipping over these pages.

If Mr Tino volume 1 was the origin story, then volume 2 is the stunning climax and conclusion to the series. As a Filipino take on the genre, the series as a whole has given us cinematic, gripping, action-packed drama and even manages to squeeze out the feels with few words, hitting us with a barrage of emotions during the read. And while Mr Tino’s story ends here, the final pages still cheekily leave the series open for potential spin-offs, and if anything, has potential for adaptation into a film or tv series. Exhilarating and a worthy addition to anyone’s graphic novel collection. 

Recommended for: Fans of action movies who want to see what happens when the strapping, perfect superhero is replaced by a kickass senior citizen. 

Mr Tino (Volume 2) is published by Epigram and available here

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