|MASTER OF KUNG FU No. 3, September 2015|
Writer Haden Blackman clearly had a lot of fun scripting this third instalment of Shang Chi’s adventures upon “Battleworld”, as within the space of its opening few pages the ex-creative director of “LucasArts” fulfils a genuine ‘love of intermixing’ by integrating “a wide range of reimagined characters” into his “Secret Wars” tie-in book… and what an incredible assortment of “Marvel’s martial artists” he has selected too, with some being “not… immediately obvious or expected.”
Indeed it is clear that the GLAAD Media Award-winner has scoured the roster of “Marvel Worldwide” characters in order to populate the kingdom of K’un Lun’s “Ritual of the Thirteen Chambers”. For not only do obvious choices such as “wise T’Challa of the Panther Clan”, “Master of the Iron Fist, Rand-K’ai” and Karnak “from the House of Terrigen Mists” appear as competitors. But so too do the likes of the “mysterious Drew, weaver of the Spider Cult”, the “noble Creed, leader of the Tooth and Claw” and “Shattered Spector, mercurial Master of the Faces of the Moon”. In fact even the “savage Lord Namor” resurfaces “from the Halls of Atlantis after years of self-imposed seclusion” in order to fight for the opportunity to be Emperor for the next thirteen years.
Equally as impressive is that despite their daunting number artist Dalibor Talajic somehow manages to redesign every one of these major “Marvel” personalities into someone who both ‘feels familiar’ but is also “wholly new”. Something ‘which is exactly what Blackman had apparently hoped for when writing the mini-series’ storyline. However due to time constraints, many of these figures are regrettably reduced to little more than fleetingly brief cameos in two double-splash illustrations which occur at the very end of the comic.
These montages, whilst dynamically drawn by the Croatian penciller, provide nothing but a tantalising glimpse of these semi-familiar faces, with supposedly formidable opponents such as the Black Panther unceremoniously being laid low by the Master of King Fu within mere moments. Only a bearded Sub-Mariner is awarded any genuine ‘screen time’ during this early phase in the martial arts tournament and rather dishearteningly, even Namor’s frantic under-water fist-fight is cut inauspiciously short by Shang-Chi somehow transforming his hands into steel blades (similar to those of the villainous Razor Fist) and rather bloodily puncturing the Atlantean’s lungs with them.
|Writer: Haden Blackman, Penciler: Dalibor Talajic, and Inker: Goran Sudzuka|