by Haden Blackman, Dalibor Talajic, Miroslav Mrva
It’s hard going from DC’s Convergence books to Marvel’s Secret Wars. The Convergence books may have classic/familiar takes on heroes but saddled with the same boring location/dilemma (Stuck inside a giant dome in a Gotham City), but if this book is any indication, Secret Wars is simply allowing creators to run loose with Marvel properties.
One of my favorite Shang-Chi stories, and the watermark by which I judge all other Shang-Chi books, is the Spider-Island mini. It has good characterization, strong action scenes, and has little to do with Spider-Island itself. This book could be in my Top Ten Shang-Chi stories, if it finishes strong.
It opens with an “animated” Kung Fu movie style introduction, establishing the history of this world. It involves the city of K’un Lun in a state of constant bloodshed from the feud between the Ten Rings and the Iron Fist clan’s. Eventually they decide to have a tournament to choose a ruler instead of continuing with a never-ending war.
The Ten Rings clan currently rules with an oppressive regime as the tournament for the next ruler of K’un Lun approaches. A drunkard, revealed to be Shang-Chi, engages three members of the Ten Rings and defeats them easily. The peasants see him fight and help him hide in order to convince him to compete in the tournament and dethrone the current ruler.
This is a fun book, having many tropes of Kung Fu films without many of the downsides of the genre. Shang-Chi is a bit less heroic than his 616 iteration but still faithful enough to follow. The art shines in depicting an ancient-esque city with people randomly Kung Fu fighting in broad day light while horned and/or lizard citizens look on.
Some of what is teased for the next issue I’m apprehensive about, but for a book called “Master of Kung Fu” it lives up to the title.
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent.