February 26, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Noteworthy Issues: Shang-Chi #1 (September, 2020)

Shang-Chi has some family problems he didn't know about.

I’ve seen writer Gene Luen Yang has been doing a lot of work over at DC with Chinese-based characters, appropriate for the creator of American Born Chinese.  Then I learned he’s also done some Shang-Chi work for Marvel.

You know, Marvel has been good about bringing out new comics when some characters get their own movies.  Sometimes, like with the current Eternals series, they turn out better than the movies that also come along.  What about Shang-Chi?  I mean, his movie was actually pretty good…

Issue:  Shang-Chi #1, September 2020

Writer:  Gene Luen Yang

Aritsts:  Philip Tan and Diek Ruan

The Plot:  There’s a battle for control of the Five Weapons Society, and Shang-Chi is inadvertently in the middle of it.

Commentary:  Apparently, because my knowledge of Shang-Chi’s backstory is incredibly limited, there’s a group with ancient roots called the Five Weapons Society.  Each branch is led by a master who has mastered a specific weapon, and when Sister Hammer takes on and takes out Brother Staff, she believes that lets her have the right to run the Society.  Too bad mystical signs say the real leader is the exiled Shang-Chi, the man who killed his father…who was also Sister Hammer’s father.  If Sister Hammer wants to run the Society, she’ll need to take out her unsuspecting brother.

As it is, Shang-Chi is living a comfortable, lowkey life in America, but he can handle himself, and he may have allies.  Ultimately, all he may want to do is save his kid sister.  Too bad she wants to murder her big brother.

OK, as I said, I don’t have a lot of knowledge on Shang-Chi, but I didn’t feel too far behind here.  Yang’s script establishes the ancient ways of the Society before cutting to the modern day, and Sister Hammer seems like a good antagonist for Shang.  There’s a lot of characters who seem to have a history with Shang, and while I didn’t recognize them from past comics, I likewise never felt lost, and the martial arts action worked.  From the looks of things, this is the first of multiple mini-series from Yang about Shang, and I think I’m gonna keep going with this one.  I just wish I recognized more of these characters, but that’s more a lick on me than anything else.

Grade:  B