REVIEW: Master of Kung Fu #1

STORY BY: Haden Blackman
ART BY: Dalibor Talajic, Goran Sudzuka
Publisher: Marvel

Behind an interesting opening dialogue, lies, potentially at least, an equally interesting main story. There is a dog, a drunk and a trio of guards. No this isn’t the start of a joke, but it does end with a punchline of sorts.

Despite not bothering anyone whilst having a conversation with a stray dog, the drunk is asked to not so politely move along. This soon escalates into a curious attempt to extract himself from the clutches of the guards without actually hitting them. Think Jackie Chan meeting Zui quan. This encourages a crowd and the big reveal that the drunk is actually Keanu Reeves! Wait a minute…. sorry my bad. The drunk is actually Shang-Chi.

Haden Blackman writes an enjoyable romp with plenty of humour. This being a Secret Wars book, there is the ubiquitous mash up of the various elements of Battleworld.  This time it’s in the shape of Caliban and Calisto of the the Morlocks. The highlight of the issue for me is the conversation with the dog, who acts like a confidant until the action causes Shang-Chi to reveal himself.

Dalibur Talajic’s art is strong throughout, creating an atmospheric environment that is clearly meant to be feudal Japan-esque. If I had to be critical I would say some of the action panels look awkward, but in contrast, the panel of Shang-Chi in mid kata screams power and focus.

The issue is a set up issue, as most first issues are. However, along with the signs and portents of the conclusion, this issue includes a big upside with the fun element. I am not sure that I like the book because of it’s simplicity or the fact that the market, at least Big Two wise, seems to be stagnating waiting for the big issues that are scheduled to follow their respective summer “blockbusters”. Either way, it’s a promising start for a character that has a huge fan base, but maybe not the commercial success he deserves. Now that he looks like Keanu, that might change.

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