Thursday, October 11, 2012

80-Page Thursday: Master of Kung Fu: Bleeding Black!

From 1990, Master of Kung Fu: Bleeding Black, written by Doug Moench, art by David and Dan Day. The wraparound cover didn't wow me, but "80 All New Pages of Martial Arts Mayhem!" isn't a bad deal for $2.95. (Or the buck or so I paid at comicon!)

This was continued from, and possibly intended for, Shang-Chi's serial in Marvel Comics Presents. The story here is broken down into eight-page chapters, just like MCP's format; it could have run for five months there, twice a month. In the concluding chapter in MCP, Shang's spy girlfriend Leiko lost a hand, and Shang himself was poisoned and would die within a year. (Except Marvel Comics Presents #8 was from December 1988, and this issue was published February 1990...)

Shang's friends (and former spies) "Black Jack" Tarr and Clive Reston had been trying to follow a lead to Fu Manchu Shang's father's immortality serum. (Marvel lost or gave up the rights to him, so Shang's dad is no longer referred to by name!) The lead is murdered by Zaran, but Shang-Chi gets back in the game, even if he's not sure his heart is in it: he doesn't seem to be at his best, but can't tell if it's the poison, or if he's giving up.
Zaran is working for Shadow-Hand, who at first glance I thought was going to be a comrade of Razorfist: both his hands are missing as well, replaced by a ball-and-chain, morning-star arrangement. (The balls are spiky sometimes, smooth other times; either a mistake in the art or Shadow-Hand had them swapped out.) SH has stolen the reliquary-map to Fu Manchu Shang's father's last hideout; but doesn't seem particularly interested in the immortality serum, if he even knows about it: he wants to take over the organization and the Si-Fan warriors. Then, profit?

While I haven't read a ton of Master of Kung-Fu, Shang-Chi always seems remarkably passive for a lead character: on the way to the hideout, Shang admits to Leiko he doesn't see the difference if he dies today or 80 years from now. Still, Leiko's love does seem to keep him going. There's kung-fu, there's betrayal, there's a genetically-created Yeti; all-in-all not too bad. I do have to wonder how well this one sold, though; I had never seen a copy before.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

I like how that mustached guy says "Hey chinaman." Can't say that now in these ultra-PC times.

Also liked how bad-ass Zaran#2 tried to sound saying "I like the look, the weapons, and drawing blood." Well yeah right? Or else why be a bad guy stupid?:)