Welcome back to Martial Arts Month. This time, I will actually be looking at a character that was previously talked about in The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu magazine: Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung Fu. Now, I actually picked this issue out of the 50 cent bin a long time ago when I had the idea of doing a month dedicated to martial arts. I didn’t read it until recently and you’ll find out what I thought about it below. I know nothing about the character, so this is pretty new to me. The team is mostly full of people I’ve never heard of. The only names I recognize are Mike Mignola as the inker, Denny O’Neil as the editor, and Jim Shooter as the Editor-in-Chief. So, let’s see what happens when the Master of Kung Fu faces some stuff.
The Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu #124
Writer: Alan Zelenetz
Penciler: William Johnson
Inker: Mike Mignola
Letters: Rick Parker
Colors: Christine Steele
Editor: Denny O’Neil
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
The story starts out as Shang-Chi enters a tavern in Tibet. After he kicks the crap out of some butthead for being a butthead, he befriends the owner of the tavern. We find out that Shang-Chi is here to climb the mountains of Minya Konka to discover some hidden wisdom in their caves. The owner warns him of the dangers of the mountain and of the Migou aka “The Abominable Snowman.” In the morning, Shang-Chi takes his leave. After doing things like saving a rabbit and doing a lot of internal speech, he runs into the Migou. Luckily, Shang performed a ritual that the owner told him about and the Migou leaves him alone. Shang also saw that the Migou was an okay guy. He’s a little hairy, but he’s down for the cause.
Migou: Wow, that man is weird.
At nightfall, Shang comes upon the monastery of Rache Churan, the place that is a doorway to the caves. The guards give him a little resistance, so Shang beats them up and heads into the monastery. He runs into more guards and Thugben Sung, the master of the monastery. It’s here we find out that Sung has the telepathy and he knows that Shang-Chi killed his own father, the villain Fu Manchu. It turns out Manchu was a tutor here and well educated in about everything. Manchu was regarded as one of their best men. Sung orders his monks to attack Shang-Chi.
Yes, Shang-Chi. I can see your every thought. I also see what you did on prom night... oh my!
We end up get a pretty nice fight scene where Shang-Chi goes all “Bruce Lee” on the monks. Unfortunately, he’s over numbered and gets taken down. The monks put him in front of Sung and the master hypnotizes Shang-Chi to climb the mountains and jump off. Shang-Chi climbs the mountain almost falls to his death, but the Migou saves him and points Shang-Chi towards the cave of wisdom. A person in the cave (we don’t see the person) tells Shang-Chi that he needs to find Manchu’s grave and atone for what he’s done. The issue ends with Shang-Chi setting off to find the grave.
This issue was a bit of a surprise. For a comic from the early 80’s, it reads a lot like a modern comic. There’s not a lot exposition in it. At this time, you would look at a book like Uncanny X-Men and basically find a whole novel there… and yes, I’m exaggerating a little bit about that. What I’m trying to say is that the issue reads really well. It flows pretty nicely. The story is also pretty interesting and good. The artwork was also pretty good. The fight scenes were pretty nice. They weren’t full of exposition. All you had was Shang-Chi’s internal monologue to help move the fights along.
Is there anything I don’t like about it? Well, I did wish we got some sort of idea that this was a multi-arc story. We only get that towards the end of the issue. I also thought some of the sound effects during the fight scenes were kind of silly. I didn’t know you could use “KIIIICK” as a sound effect. Still, that doesn’t stop me from saying that this was a nice read. I did a little research on this issue since I just randomly picked it up. It turned out that it’s Part Two of a three-part storyline. I really want to keep a look out for the other two issues. Well, that’s all I got for today. Join me next time when I look at some heroes with half-shelves.
NEXT TIME: THE TURTLES FIGHT AN “UNKNOWN” FOE!!!