Thursday, January 07, 2016
I've said it before, but in the Marvel Universe, go to Florida, and you're gonna run into Man-Thing. Why should Shang-Chi be any different? From 1974, Master of Kung Fu #19, "Retreat" Written by Steve Englehart, art by Paul Gulacy, inks by Al Milgrom.
I've usually preferred Man-Thing as a guest-star than the lead: the mindless muck-monster is inherently reactive, not really showing a lot of initiative in his stories. Interestingly enough, I'm not sure Shang-Chi does either, since he doesn't ever seem to have a lot of choices, but agonizes over them constantly. This month, Shang is on the run in the Florida Everglades, from a pair of his father's assassins. Already tired and drugged, Shang tries to avoid the fight until they catch up to him, at which point he beats them into a bayou with a log. But he is unprepared to run into the Man-Thing. In this case, somewhat literally: Shang collides with and is engulfed by him, then pulled out by the passing Lu Sun.
Lu Sun seems a nice enough fellow, although I'm curious exactly what an Asian wise man was doing out in the middle of the Everglades in the middle of the night. Seriously, I just had to look it up, and he apparently only appears this issue! (Although, not the issue pictured there.) I almost wonder if Shang wasn't more drugged than he let on, and only imagined him. Shang could've passed through Man-Thing himself, and although Lu Sun is hit in the leg by two arrows when the assassins catch up, they don't really acknowledge Lu Sun...
The Man-Thing happens back along and "whosoever knows fear--burns at the Man-Thing's touch!" The assassins are incinerated, and as the Man-Thing lurches back into the swamp, Shang-Chi is left wondering if he isn't a mindless destroyer himself. Which is a little harsh, Shang.