The Marvel Universe is full of badasses. Wolverine, Gambit, Black Widow, and the Punisher rank among them, but after you read the latest issue of ‘Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu’, Shang-Chi will join the list. One of the newest additions to the Avengers roster stars in this 70s throwback that sees him go back to his routes in London to track down the killer of his former lover, Leiko Wu.
In the first issue, we saw Shang reunite with a lot of familiar faces including fellow MI-6 agent Black Jack Tarr and the Sons of the Tiger. Now, he teams up with former Heroes for Hire and Daughters of the Dragon Misty Knight and Colleen Wing after he finds some leads that may direct him to White Dragon, the main suspect in the murder that he’s investigating.
As much as I’m enjoying the fact that an Asian character is front and center in his own Marvel series, I can’t help but find the most recent issue of ‘Deadly Hands’ a bit cliché. Shang’s dangerous pub crawl and the interrogation scenes have been seen time and time again. The brothel scene reminded me of that episode of ‘Firefly’ where Mal and the gang teamed with some prostitutes to take on an angry client that impregnated one of the girls. Basically, if you take this issue apart scene by scene, you could name a thousand movies and shows where they’ve happened before.
However, it is nice to see an Asian character step into these roles for once. Shang pulls some Clint Eastwood moves throughout the issue and establishes his dominance in many ways, which is something that we don’t typically see Asian characters doing. While many can point out Shang as a stereotype because of his martial arts background, he shows in this series that he’s capable of more than that.
The most interesting part of this issue was the run in with his former foe Skull Crusher, who appears to have gone legit since the old days (for the most part). Like Shang, we learn that Leiko has changed a bit since the last time we saw her. As Shang continues his mission to bring the murderer to justice, it’ll be cool to see if more new details about Leiko come to light that could potentially change our hero’s perception of his old flame.
Overall, this issue of ‘Deadly Hands of Kung Fu’ isn’t anything spectacular, but it takes us through necessary story beats. It’s perfectly adequate and I enjoyed it since I’m a fan of the main character, so anyone else who considers themselves fond of Shang-Chi should enjoy it as well.
DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU #2
Written by Mike Benson
Art by Tan Eng Huat, Craig Yeung, & Jesus Aburtov
Cover by Dave Johnson