Hey all, greetings from China! In the same vein as the Iron Fist and Black Panther appreciation threads, I thought I'd get the ball rolling and discuss everyone's favorite master of Kung Fu, Shang-Chi. Granted, every couple of months, one of these threads on Shang crops up, but personally I just had to make this thread. Indeed, this is one of those times that I REALLY wish I was a successful comic book writer, because Shang is a character who've I've been wanting to write about for the past several months. Anyway, a couple of my thoughts:
- In a way, I'm pretty glad that Shang has started to make more frequent appearances recently. Unfortunately, as I'm in China, I don't have access to alot of American comics. Still, I read reports here and there, and I'm glad to see that Shang is playing a prominent role in the Shadowland mini-series and will play a vital part in an upcoming issues of Secret Avengers. At the same time, I can't say I'm too happy with Shang's attire. As I look at the pages of Shadowland and the cover of the SA title, I have to roll my eyes at Shang's 70s/non-Chinese costume. As we've said before in the past, one of the things that has to change is Shang's costume. Iron Fist was able to get a needed and welcome costume change. Shang should as well!
- As an East Asian Studies scholar, who has studied Chinese history, religion, philosophy, and martial arts, Shang speaks to me. I like that dynamic he has with his father and the Confucian overtones are very prominent. Though his father is irrehensibly evil, Shang cannot outright hate him. He's come close, but in the back of his mind, he feels a ton of regret in that he cannot be the dutiful son. At the same time, I think Shang has difficulty controlling his violent urges. During the most recent H4H series, Shang had moments when he did just lose it, the most telling is when he snapped the neck of Humbug. I think a writer could tap into that inner tension. Although he is very calm and pacific, everytime he heads back into the world, he engages in violence and destruction. Everytime he does that, he proves his father right.
- I think there's alot of potential for a Shang series. Yes, he is a master of Kung Fu, but in the old series he was also a member of MI-6. I could envision some issues with him "walking the earth," like Caine from "Kung Fu," and engaging in some straight up martial arts action, while at the same time he could do espionage and spy missions. I could definitely see Ed Brubaker writing a Shang series.
- I think that there could be several new editions to Shang's rogue gallery. Guys like the Cat and Zaran the Weapons Master are pretty cool, but there have been a ton of new characters who could easily become Shang villians. One who comes to mind is Mr. X. A cold-blooded psychopath and exceptional fighter, he would relish trying to claim a victory over the undisputed Master of Kung Fu. Another character who I think would make an excellent adversary for Shang is Daken, since both are vastly different yet similar on various levels. Both have less than stellar relationships with their fathers and spurn what their fathers represent. However, whereas Shang spurns the thought of ruling an empire, Daken yearns to carve one out for himself. Furthermore, it would be interesting to see Daken try to psychologically manipulate someone as focused and centered as Shang.
Anyway, those are some of my thoughts on Shang Chi. What about yours?