Writer: Alyssa Wong
Artist: Andie Tong
Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters: VC’s Travis Lanham
Since I read his earliest adventures Shang Chi: the Master of Kung Fu has long been a favorite of mine. Thankfully Marvel and the rest of the world will soon experience what a wonderful character Shang Chi is with the release of Shang Chi & the Legend of the Ten Rings this summer (hopefully). With his MCU debut on the horizon it makes perfect publishing sense for Marvel to produce Master of Kung Fu books for a hopefully receptive audience. First there was the recently concluded Shang Chi series by Gene Luen Yang and this week saw the release of Alyssa Wong’s one shot adventure The Legend of Shang Chi #1– the Equinox Blade.
The Legend of Shang Chi #1 continues the grand tradition of Shang Chi as he is once again mixed up with British Intelligence (MI-6), who are in need of his particular skill set. A few months prior the British Museum obtained an ancient katana sword known as the Equinox Blade, which can steal the soul of anyone it cuts. While MI-6 can’t insert themselves into gaining possession of the sword there is nothing stopping them from hiring a free agent, like Shang Chi, to steal the blade. Yet to the shock to no one, MI-6 is not the only ones who wants the blade, and that leads to a confrontation with the classic Wolverine villain, Lady Deathstrike. With a healthy dose of kung fu and some delightful sword play these two masters of martial arts make an interesting pairing while they put on quite the display over this 22-page one shot.
The Legend of Shang Chi #1 was a lot of fun, and Alyssa Wong has a great grasp for Shang Chi, and a great nod back to the earliest days of the Master of Kung Fu when Shang Chi often found himself mixed up with British Spies and many a political intrigue. Using Lady Deathstrike was also an interesting choice, as she often doesn’t venture out of the Wolverine books yet is a perfect foil for Shang Chi. Andie Tong’s art had a nice dynamic energy necessary to convey the skill and quickness inherent in Shang Chi. But with all that said I’m not sure that this issue was a necessary one shot, especially with $4 price tag. It might have been better as a digital first or as part of a larger Shang Chi anthology. Yet as a longtime Shang Chi fan it was a delightful, yet far too quick, of a story and I do hope there are more Shang Chi stories from Wong in the future.
Verdict: The Legend of Shang Chi #1 is a fast- paced and high energy adventure with some great traditional Shang Chi elements mixed in with modern sense in storytelling and is a Buy for devoted fans of the Master of Kung Fu.