Comic Vine Review

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Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu #1 - The Place of No Mind Review

4

The Master of Kung Fu, Shang-Chi, goes off on his own adventure!

The Good

One very promising quality of this book is that writer Mike Benson has clearly done his homework on Shang-Chi's world. Instead of placing someone popular like Captain America into a big role or some slapping A-listers on the cover to catch more eyes, Steve Rogers only serves a completely minimal function and quite a few faces from Chi's history make more extended appearances. It's nice to see Benson isn't blatantly using more popular names in an attempt to make the book more alluring and apparently seems to have faith in Chi's unique world. That said, new readers will likely have to search a name or two in our database when they're done with the issue because not much backstory is offered for these individuals.

As for the narrative, it's purely build-up in this chapter. Now, I'm sure some of you are afraid that means paragraphs of exposition, but that isn't the case at all. This is a quick read because things move along so swiftly. We jump from one scene to the next where characters have organic conversations and captions upon captions of forced remarks aren't included. It'll be over before you know it (there's 2 dialogue-free pages, by the way) and by the time you reach that final panel, odds are it has accomplished just enough to hook you. Even though the solicits spoil someone's death, I'll play it safe and won't mention their name. Even though I knew the person would be killed, the scene still managed to shock. I thought it was over when the person was struck by a major blow, but then something gasp-worthy and downright horrific happened. It'll absolutely make you want to see Chi eventually get some revenge, that's for sure.

While we aren't treated to a very lengthy fight sequence, we get just enough to appreciate Chi's technique. There's a feat or two in there that fans of the character are certain to appreciate (come on, the dude pulled out a specific tooth mid-fight!) and the panels right before the melee begins were cleverly executed.

The Bad

Artist Tan Eng Huat has a unique style and it produces a lot of energy in some moments, but there were more than a handful of times where too many lines gave characters odd looking faces or they were placed in somewhat awkward poses. There's some panels where they went too heavy on tying to add shading and depth to the characters' faces and it's really noticeable. I won't lie, I was pretty disappointed with the Crossbones scene, too. Chi taking on one of Captain America's foes has the potential to be epic. But instead of a thrilling sequence, it's brief and there's no actual "fight" between them. We're treated to captions which make the scene sound awesome, but the excitement just wasn't on those pages, unfortunately.

The Verdict

DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG-FU #1 is the master of setting the stage for what's to come. Benson gives us the bare basics of the narrative, briefly reminds us that yes, Shang-Chi's currently an Avenger and a beast in unarmed combat, and ends it all on a note that promises more excitement is right around the corner. It gets the job done and establishes everything in a fast-paced and enjoyable manner.

12 Comments
Edited by Wardishy

Never even heard of this book! I guess Marvel didn't promote it much. Sounds good though.

Posted by bunkerbuster05

Shang-Chi Master of Kung Fu was the first Marvel Title I read as a kid.

I really wish they promoted this book more, I'm definitely gonna pick it up!

Posted by daredevil21134

I can't believe they actually killed that character off. That pissed me off. I really hope this turns out to be good for Shang in the end though.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

Loved this book, brings back the good old memories.

Posted by micah
Posted by Maddpanda531

Oh man, this came out this week!? I totally missed it! D:

I'll have to pick it up next time I go to the comic shop. Can't wait to read about Shang-Chi!

Posted by Owie

They didn't have it at my store, so I was going to look around at some other stores, but now that I see Huat drew it, I don't know...that guy's Annihilators series were some of the worst art I've ever seen.

Posted by infernopig

the art was horrendous! If it had the same art as the cover than I would continue reading it but right now its trash

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

the art was horrendous! If it had the same art as the cover than I would continue reading it but right now its trash

Exaggeration much?

Posted by Geno

TEH's art in this book was wildly inconsistent between poor and average. Benson's writing, at best, was also mediocre. Overall this was a rather disappointing opening to the mini-series, and unfortunately, it probably means Marvel won't be releasing anymore Shang-Chi books in the near future. Such a shame, given that a better creative team could have actually revitalized the Master of Kung Fu series, but as it stands, it appears this half-assed effort is all Marvel is willing to do.

Posted by Dernman

I hope they continue this longer than just his mini but not just with Shang Chi but with the many other MA characters in the MU.