The Weapon #4
Spoilers or bust...and I don't go bust. It's from 2007, so read on, and save the back issue hunt.
Last issue, The Weapon and the Lin Kuei had reached the final leg of the search for the scroll of chi mastery, and now we are in the final leg of The Weapon mini-series. Tommy swoops in and snatches the scroll from the Forest Demons, and fights them off, finally unleashing a solid light slingshot that starts the trigger on the whole slew of traps in the volcanic cavern. Using skill and the last of his solid light constructs, Tommy creates a path through the gauntlet, allowing him and Megan to pass through. As the power runs out on his laser resonators, the light constructs dissipate, and the hole through the traps closes. Between the traps and a flow of lava closing from behind, the Lin Kuei are killed in the cavern.
Tommy and Megan make it back to the plane, and finally open the scroll. Tommy discovers the scroll is full of gibberish, Megan gets a little overanxious to see it, and Tommy clues in that she's Lun Kuei. They grapple, a gun goes off, they tumble from the plane, survive a fall through the trees, and fight on the ground for the scroll. Tommy tosses the scroll over the edge of a waterfall, and Megan disappears, having dove after it. The scroll miraculously (he says with sarcasm) survives the water, and Tommy discovers that the Chinese-looking gibberish forms perfect English, when you bring the edges of the scroll together, like a Mad Magazine fold-in - something I'm sure was used in a treasure hunting movie before (I want to say National Treasure, but I don't remember for sure).
Once Tommy rescues the real Megan Dean-Hughes from her Ling Kuei captors (this comic pretty much leaves you feeling like everyone in Hawaii is Ling Kuei, except for Tommy, his deceased grandfather, and the real Megan) he goes to the Sun Statue, where he finds the real scroll of chi mastery hidden in its base. And that's it. We're left to wonder if Tommy continues to rely on his laser generators, or uses the scroll to have the real deal, learning to focus his chi into solid weapons. Like any good final cliffhanger, we may assume that he will - otherwise, what's the point?
I still hold to what I said in the review for issue #1 - this is a little bit Green Lantern, a little bit Iron Fist, and just kind of mediocre throughout. A real disappointment, because the art is great, and this twist on the familiar is enough to make me want to read more. It would have to get better, but I would like to see more. So just as I have the previous few issues, I'm starting with a 2.5, middle-of-the-road rating, for a story that's just average. I'm again deducting a half-star each for a couple of Indiana Jones riffs, but giving them back, because meh, they were done with enough flair that I didn't hate them this time. The Mad fold-in thing took me out of the story for a minute, so minus a half-star.
The last deduction is arbitrary, because the ending didn't go exactly how I thought it would. When issue three showed the low power level on Tommy's laser resonator, I was sure that the end would involve Tommy having to quickly master "the way of the weapon," finding that his grandfather had prepared him for it all his life - becoming "The Weapon" in fact, as well as marketing. I figured there'd be a fight at the end where it's assumed he's using his tech, and he reveals he's been out of power for awhile, and has been using his chi. I really thought this was going there. So minus one star because it didn't...and okay, giving a half-star back, because it's not my ending to make.
I'd give the whole star back, but if Tommy doesn't use the scroll to master his chi, then this entire thing was kind of pointless. It means the Lin Kuei are out to kill him for tech that resembles something they've been looking for. If he's not going to use the scroll, and he's not going to let anyone else use it, then burn it and call it a day. That would be lousy though. It'd be like watching Bulletproof Monk, but nobody being chosen as the monk's successor at the end.
Add a half-star for making me want to see more beyond issue #4, and plus another half-star for making me speculate on why it would have to go a certain way. So final score:
2.5 stars. Pretty much, the story was just average throughout, but I see enough potential in it to believe it could get better, if it were to continue. Too bad it hasn't yet.
(12/1/14) Update: The site has changed the rules, disallowing half-stars. So, I couldn't quite bring myself to give it a 3, so it gets 2 stars now. -cb