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Review: Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu #6

Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu #6

When it comes to James Bond movies, to say that the endings are nothing short of satisfying, is definitely a disservice to the theatrics connected to it. The movies that Sean Connery starred in are probably some of the most iconic movies of all time. The style and flair that he brought to every scene is what has made the character so immortal. Even George Lazenby’s foray into the character, though only lasting one movie, was probably the best in the series. Three more actors would inhabit the role but the one that has always stood out in my mind is, Sir Roger Moore.

Moore was James Bond for a good part of the 1980s, the era when I fell in love with movies. His interpretation of the character brought what is fun about spy movies, and what The Kingsmen movies can’t help but steal in the best ways possible. His best Bond movie in my mind, Octopussy, which was both funny and action-packed but showed moviegoers how to build up a story to a satisfying big bang ending. In the final issue of Shang Chi, Master Of Kung Fu-The Hellfire Apocalypse, we find Shang Chi as he confronts both his brother and father in a fight which may cost many including his, their lives.

We find Moving Shadow and Shang Chi facing off as Fu Manchu spectates in delight, as his two sons face off for the first time, testing if this fateful battle is his will. Meanwhile, Leiko, Blackjack and Clive, meetup with up Spetz and the Omega team, as they fight Fu Manchu’s men on their way off the island, as Spetz suffers his own death. Eventually, Leiko,Blackjack, Clive and what’s left of the Omega team neutralize the threat Fu Manchu was about to unleash.

Overall, the satisfying conclusion that gives diehard fans of this character what we expect from Doug Moench’s masterwork. The story by Moench is brilliant and amazing. The art by the creative team is mesmerizing. Altogether, a well-woven tale that feels as epic as the stories it was inspired from.

Story: Doug Moench
Art: Jimmy Palmiotti, Paul Gulacy, Paul Mounts, Richard Starkings,
and Wes Abbott
Story: 9.4 Art: 9.3 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu #5

Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu #5

Netflix’s venture with Marvel Studios is one of the most fruitful partnerships in modern entertainment. It’s true that DC has been making their own splash on television for a few years but comic book fans wanted more. They wanted shows that showcased more than the studios were offering. We mostly had to rely on movie offerings, from the two houses, and some offshoots like Image, i.e. Kick-Ass series.

The buzz radiated from when comic book fans first saw the television version of Matt Murdock. Then comic books fans got to see Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist onscreen soon after. It made fans more than happy. In the television version of the Avengers movies, The Defenders saw a team-up between these Heroes of New York culminating in a final big fight. In the fifth issue of Shang Chi, Master Of Kung Fu-The Hellfire Apocalypse, we find Shang Chi and Leiko in the fight of their lives.

We catch-up with Spetz and his MI-6 Omega team as they reach the shores of Fu Manchu’s island, where they are met crossfire as soon as they arrive on the beach. Meanwhile, Blackjack and Clive, reach the other end of the island, to rescue Leiko and Shang, unknowing of what lies in their way. We also find Leiko and Shang finally finding their way out, as they help the Omega team get to Fu Manchu’s lair. By issue’s end, Shang fights his way to exactly where Moving Shadow is, as they begin their final fight.

Overall, the story ramps up on the action, giving fans the penultimate issue the story requires before a satisfying conclusion. The story by Doug Moench is wonderful and remarkable. The art by the creative team is spellbinding. Altogether, this issue is a callback to the best kung fu films of the 1980s. It’s enough to make you want to pull out your old VHS tapes of Kung Fu Theatre.

Story: Doug Moench
Art: Jimmy Palmiotti, Paul Gulacy, Paul Mounts, Richard Starkings,
and Wes Abbott
Story: 9.4 Art: 9.3 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu #4

Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu #4

Denzel Washington is known most for these days, his work with Antoine Fuqua, in Training Day and The Equalizer movies. One of my favorite movies by him was Out Of Time where he starred with Eva Mendes and Sanaa Lathan. In the film, an old flame reignites something in Washington’s character while a new obsession gets him in hot water. In the fourth issue of Shang Chi, Master Of Kung Fu-The Hellfire Apocalypse, we find Shang Chi finding that his love for Leiko is still there which may lead to more trouble than he ever foresaw.

Leiko and Shang Chi are reliving their past for a short moment when Shang Chi regains some semblance of honor and gets Leiko to reveal what she found about the Mandarin’s plans. The Mandarin is in his hidden lair where we find out the full power of the weapon he created as it eviscerates everything in a nearby fishing village. Lieko’s husband is caught in the crossfire between a group of commandos that work for Reston and the Omega team. Spetz saves her husband only to imprison him. By issue’s end, Leiko and Shang reunite with Tarr and we find out exactly who Moving Shadow is.

Overall, the story gets even more exciting, giving readers a spirited tale, which keeps readers wanting more. The story by Doug Moench is delightful and impressive. The art by the creative team is entrancing. Altogether, a book that gives readers a deeper understanding of who this character is.

Story: Doug Moench
Art: Jimmy Palmiotti, Paul Gulacy, Paul Mounts, Richard Starkings,
and Wes Abbott
Story: 9.7 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu #3

Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu #3

Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy was quite ahead of this time. Movie critics rarely had heralded superhero movies up until the trilogy’s release, many did Nolan’s vision. The movies did something that adaptations struggle with. It satisfied the diehard comic book fan and the regular movie watcher. It pulled from the different stories already in canon while remembering that a good story must always be told.

One of the gifts that the movies gave audiences was the introduction of Ra’s Al Ghul, a storied character, who never saw his time onscreen until Nolan used him. As the character’s influence is evident not only those movies but the Gotham television show. In the third issue of Shang Chi: Master Of Kung Fu, we find Shang Chi’s father in an omnipotent position much like Ras Al Ghul, giving our heroes an intimidating adversary to face.

We find Leiko in the middle of who is behind the Hellfire Apocalypse, and it just so happens to be Shang Chi’s father, who faked his own death so no one would be the wiser. As Shang Chi enters the lair, he is able to reach Leiko and escape only to take on a hail of gunfire, as the truth is revealed about what his father had been up to, and where this doomsday weapon may be headed. As Leiko and Shang Chi look to escape the fortress, these two must fight their way out, through the failed experiments that his father created, where they were once humans but are mindless ravaged beasts who no wonder the compound. As the two are alone, Shang realizes he still feels some sort of way about Leiko, knowing that she is married only complicates his intentions. By issue’s end, the Omega team is getting closer, someone close to Leiko and Shang has other intentions and things between the two are reignited.

Overall, the story feels like a James Bond movie that more than tilts its hat at the famous spy. The story by Doug Moench is thrilling and commanding. The art by the creative team is enchanting. Altogether,  a story that maybe Shang’s big-screen debut may aspire to.

Story: Doug Moench
Art: Jimmy Palmiotti, Paul Gulacy, Paul Mounts, Richard Starkings,
and Wes Abbott
Story: 9.7 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.66 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Master of Kung-Fu #2

Master of Kung-Fu #2

Bruce Lee’s influence on film cannot truly be put into words. His impact is far reaching and ineffaceable in so many ways. He was one of a kind and his mark on everyone who has seen him in action can be seen in every action movie to this day.  You can see his mark on every martial artist to grace the screen from Steven Seagal to Jean Claude Van Damme to Donnie Yen to Jet Li and to the one man who can be called his contemporary, Jackie Chan. David Carradine even referred to him as the James Dean of Martial Arts.

His first movie made in the west and probably the first commercialized worldwide martial arts film, was Enter The Dragon. The movie had some well-established American actors, like Jim Kelly, but anyone who has seen the film has no doubt in their mind, that Bruce Lee was the star. The idea of a fight amongst the greatest fighters continues to be a recycled idea since that iconic movie. In the second issue of Shang Chi, Master Of Kung Fu-The Hellfire Apocalypse, to find Leiko, he must fight his way to her.

We are in Singapore, where Chi and Reston are surrounded by a ninja clan, as Chi fights them off, Reston find escape, one that will give the way to fight another day. We are taken back to France, where we find more about the Hellfire Objective, and its mission to recruit zealous men to become part of the army of Saint Germain, the same secret operation Leiko was sent by MI-6 to investigate. They also find out about the Omega Team, lead by Morgan Spetz, who MI-6 has assembled to find Leiko. By issue’s end, another assassin looks for Chi’ while Leiko finds out that the person behind everything, is the one-person Chi is the closest to.

Overall, the story begins to get better, as we soon find out just how big of a conspiracy Leiko was looking into, making this story resemble Lee’s classic western made crossover. The story by Doug Moench is electrifying and powerful. The art by the creative team is captivating. Altogether, an exhilarating introduction to a hero which everyone will soon know.

Story: Doug Moench
Art: Jimmy Palmiotti, Paul Gulacy, Paul Mounts, Richard Starkings, and Wes Abbott
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Master of Kung Fu #1

Master of Kung Fu #1

With all the buzz coming from SDCC from the past few weeks, the most interesting news, as usual, came from Hall H. This is where some of the biggest news gets released and the world holds their collective breath until it does. As in previous years, this year was no disappointment. It was a sign of things to come. One of the biggest announcements to come was from Marvel and the next phase of movies that will be released over the new few years.

One of the surprise announcements, though there had been some industry buzz over the last few months, had been that Shang Chi, Master Of Kung Fu, would be making getting how own Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. Most of the world doesn’t know who he is but serious comic book fans do. Much of his original story had been marred with distasteful racist stereotypes and outdated ideas. In a reboot of sorts, the original writer returned in 2002 to update the story for a new generation in the debut issue of Shang Chi, Master Of Kung Fu-The Hellfire Apocalypse.

We’re taken to France, where Agent Leiko Wu is infiltrating a crime syndicate’s fortress, one that she realizes soon enough that she just walked into a trap. We also find Shang Chi, in solitude on an island, where his meditation supernaturally syncs with Leiko, the woman he once loved, as he knows what he must do next, but his actions are interrupted by an intruder in sanctum sanctorum. We also find Leiko being tortured, as the crime organization is trying to find just how deep MI-6 is into investigating them. By issue’s end, an old friend looks for Chi’s help, while his exploits bring him to Singapore retracing Leiko’s trail.

Overall, an interesting story thus far, slow-moving, but well developed. The story by Doug Moench is exciting and intense. The art by the creative team truly stands out, simply beautiful. Altogether, an exhilarating introduction to a hero which everyone will soon know.

Story: Doug Moench
Art: Jimmy Palmiotti, Paul Gulacy, Paul Mounts, Richard Starkings,
and Wes Abbott
Story: 9.6 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Cable: The Last Hope Vol. 2

The Mutant Messiah has been found and she’s Mutantkind’s last Hope. Cable heads to the future to protect her and is joined by X-Force. But, Bishop, Stryfe, and Apocalypse are all looming.

Cable: The Last Hope Vol. 2 includes X-Force/Cable: Messiah War, Cable (2008) #13-25, X-Force (2008) #14-16 an X-Men: Hope by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, Duane Swierczynski, Mike Choi, Ariel Olivetti, Paul Gulacy, Gabriel Guzman, Humberto Ramos, George Caragonne, Paco Medina, Clayton Crain, Steve Dillon, and more!

Get your copy in comic shops now and book stores December 24! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.


Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Review: Green Lantern: Dragon Lord #3

For us fans of Bruce Lee, in his limited filmography lies a treasure trove of life lessons. Ones that pushes people beyond what they accept for themselves and ones in which infinite potential is the ceiling. His book, the Tao Of Jeet Kune Do, impresses on its readers to“Not being tense but ready. Not thinking but not dreaming. Not being set but flexible. Liberation from the uneasy sense of confinement. It is being wholly and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.” As these words would confuse most, but to see the forest through the trees per say, is what his philosophies demanded for comprehension.

These philosophies were embedded in every role he played, as these backstories for each character, he had something to do with it. Enter The Dragon carried many of his philosophies about martial arts and life in general. His most personal film was his last, Game Of Death, very action packed and one which intertwines his philosophies all throughout. In the last book of Green Lantern: Dragon Lord, our hero must go on his ow quest to find the woman who holds his heart and to purge evil throughout the kingdom.

We find Jong Li, about to enter the fabled Lung Mountain, where a series of trials and marauders await his arrival, each one he must conquer and save Jade Moon. General Shan plots to have the power of the Green Lantern to himself as well as overthrow the emperor, both are at his grasp, if he defeats Jong Li. As Jong Li, fights his way to the top of the mountain, he brings back the Dragon Lords, is finally able to confront Shan. By book’s end, not everything goes as planned, as he saves Jade Moon, but she still suffers a fatality, her son becomes the new emperor and Jong Li enters history a legend.

Overall, a heart rendering end to a great story, one which gets to the core of what makes Jonng Li, one of the greatest Green Lanterns of all time. The story by Doug Moench is whimsical, thriving with lore and gives the reader a nice slice of history. The art by the creative team more than complements the story, it  illuminates these great characters. Altogether, an almost perfect ending to a such a momentous story.

Story: Doug Moench
Art: Bob Lappan, Dave Stewart, Joe Rubinstein, Paul Gulacy 
and James Sinclair
Story: 10 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Green Lantern: Dragon Lord #2

The world is in love with the “reluctant” hero figure. Men and women who can and should save people. But those heroes always have some boiler plate excuse like “I don’t do that no more.” Of course the worse excuse being “I’m no hero.” This is exactly why Alan Ladd’s seminal classic Shane is a favorite among middle aged men, even those who don’t like Westerns. The story revolves around a high plains drifter who wanders into a small town and accepts a family’s hospitality. This peace of course doesn’t last. He eventually gets caught in the war for the Wyoming rang as a land baron looks to take over the family’s land. This leaves Shane in a precarious position as his honor leaves him no choice but to get involved.

There have been some pale imitations of this hero archetype over the years and many have come close but very few can truly compare. One of my favorite characters that fall into this type is D from the anime film Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. He fits the type perfectly. Add to the fact he is also half vampire, and hunt vampires and you got one of the more badass characters ever written. In comics the legendary Wolverine fits this type in many ways as his stature causes most to underestimate him but his “lone wolf” posture is what makes him both enigmatic and magnetic to his fellow X-Men and readers alike. In the second book of Green Lantern: Dragon Lord, Jong Li is another occupant of this archetype but he engages only when the lives of Jade Moon and her son are in danger.

We catch up with Jong Li, as he tries to get closer to Emperor, as his heart leads him to find Jade, as he disguises himself as a magician, so no one knows who he is.  This is where he gets close enough to find and rescue Jade from General Shan and hundreds of soldiers surrounding the royal palace, where he runs away with her. While in the woods, he reveals the very thing Shan is looking for and, which attracts assassins, but the ring’s power proves to be too much for any adversary, as Jong Li finally embraces its might. By issue’s end, Jong Li’s honor renders him powerless but sends him on a quest to restore it and the legacy of the Dragon Lords.

Overall, an excellent installment in a rather epic story which purports Green Lantern lore to legendary proportions. The story by Doug Moench is exciting and multilayered. The art by the creative team is extraordinary. Altogether, this story only gets better with each issue and this is more than the standard bearer for the quality of this series.

Story: Doug Moench Art: Paul Gulacy, Dave Stewart, James Sinclair, and Joe Rubinstein
Story: 10 Art: 9.3 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Green Lantern: Dragon Lord #1

There is nothing a like a great prequel, especially if it fills in all those holes that the reader wants to know about their favorite characters. One of the best ones I remember from growing up is the Muppet Babies, as I grew up watching The Muppet Show, and the cartoon offered us fans another side to our favorite characters. This is also true of the Truth: Red, White and Black book where we see that before Steve Rogers became the iconic hero, many Black soldiers volunteered, much like the Tuskegee Experiment. As I always wondered who was there before, as the new Black Panther comic book, showcases in many trips to the Hall of the Black Panther, where he seeks the council of all the Panthers who came before.

As Neil Gaiman’s Marvel 1602, though not an origin story, but rather an alternative history, how would our  favorite characters favor in an another time in history? This is precisely what Gotham By Gaslight sought to show readers that Batman will for all intents and purposes, be the same, just with 17th century ideology.  This is also what Milestone’s Icon, Kumail Rizvi’s Kahlil and Superman: Red Son shows audiences, that depending on the circumstance, we might not have Superman as we know him to be. This leads me to ask of one of my favorite characters, Green Lantern, how was there never no one worthy before Alan Scott, Hal Jordan, John Stewart, and Kyle Rayner, to be a Green Lantern? In Doug Moench’s superior Green Lantern: Dragon Lord we meet Earth’ first Lantern, Jong Li.

The reader is transport ancient China, 660 A.D. precisely, where we are taken to the Last House of the Dragon Lords, and meet a young tempestuous monk, named Jong Li, one whose impatience overshadows his potential. We are also introduced to jade Moon, who belongs to the Emperor’s Harem, as she looks to escape the palace with her child, she seeks refuge within the Dragon Lords temple, unfortunate for her, the palace guard tracks her down. This unfortunate chain of events leads to the massacre of the Dragon Lords, the capture of Jade and Li to flee with Jade’s son. While Li hides in the woods, the Guardians of the Universe, finds Jong Li, to become Earth’s first Green Lantern, one he is uneasy to accept and finds it even harder to navigate at first. That is until Jade through the Lantern acts as his conscience, guiding his actions, as he frees the country from the corruption the Emperor’s rule has brought. By issue’s end, an experienced Jong Li, finds himself on the precipice of reuniting Jade with her son , as his abilities become even greater.

Overall, an excellent story which combines a story told in Ancient China using the familiarity of the Green Lantern canon. The story by Moench is smart, action packed, and delicately weaves Eastern mythology with superhero lore. The art by the creative team is refined, vivid and striking. Altogether, a story that more than deserves to be part of the Green Lantern pantheon, as it proves that Jong Li is the standard all Green Lanterns including Hal Jordan could only hope to follow after.

Story: Doug Moench Art: Paul Gulacy, Bob Lappan, James Sinclair, Joe Rubinstein
Story: 10 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

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