Master of Kung Fu #18

You will never understand
How the reptile mind
Struggles

Shang Chi seems to have entered the scene fully formed. It’s as if the shock of discovering that his father is one of history’s greatest villains has inured Shang Chi to further surprises, giving him a confidence beyond Marvel’s penchant for neurotic characters. Most telling is Shang Chi’s plan of attack, choosing to chip away at Fu Manchu’s empire instead of launching a frontal assault. It’s rare to see such a calculated, proactive approach in a serial comic, like if Batman were to concentrate exclusively on dismantling Ra’s al Ghul’s criminal empire over a ten year period.

The fight scenes had me double checking the Comic Code Authority at the time of publication. Shang Chi squares off against an Indian dacoit in two absolutely brutal clashes that wouldn’t be out of place in today’s comics. I have to admit, my dislike of Paul Gulacy’s artwork was the one thing holding me back from taking on this project, but I can think of few artists as capable of drawing a man setting himself on fire and jumping through a plate glass window.

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