Hey all, just thought I would offer this month's write-up on the last issue of the Deadly Hands of Kung Fu miniseries. As a whole, I really enjoyed this issue, yet it took me about two readings to get the full flavor of it. Indeed, what interests me the most about this issue is its multi-layered nature. Shang displayed various different aspects of himself in this story, which I hope that I'll get a chance to touch upon in this review. In any case, here we go:
- The biggest gripe I had last month was the fact that Shang had turned into some six-armed spider creature. At the time, I felt kind of frustrated, since I thought the idea was cliche and worn out. I've seen Spider-Man mutated into a six-armed creature before. HOWEVER, when I first read the preview and thoroughly read the issue, the idea REALLY started to appeal to me. Having six arms meant that Shang could pull off his lightning fast strikes even quicker. Seeing his hand techniques reminded me of the barrage of punches that one sees in a fighting manga, or the fast chain punching of Wing Chun practitioners. I have to say, the idea of "sticky hands" seemed very appropriate in this case . Bottom line, Shang having six arms didn't make the fight look stupid or silly. It made the fight look BETTER.
- While Shang having six arms was cool, mutated spider creature Shang looked pretty damn awesome! Watching as he pounded away at Ai Apaec, leading him towards the fire, was nice.
- The inner struggle scene against the spider mutation was a very powerful scene. In context of the two previous issues, this was the culmination of the fears and "bad dreams" that Shang was experiencing. I liked the tension that existed between Shang and this spider mutation, as well as Shang's eventual triumph over it. His declaration that the Master of Kung Fu serves no King, Queen, or god was a very strong affirmation. However, the phrase, "The light of chi, in my tantien..." really resonated with me. Yes, Iron Fist helped Shang out a lot, but I still see it as a display of Shang's emotional, mental, and spiritual fortitude.
- I remember last month Anthony said that regular, normal Shang-Chi would make an appearance. I'm glad to see that he did. Moreover, I'm glad to see another aspect of Shang's personality shows up in this issue, most notably during his last fight with Ai Apaec. Now, we've seen the tactic of a hero toppling over the foundations of a buiilding to take down an enemy before. But, I was glad that it was included because it demonstrates that Shang has a tactical and strategic mind. Though he may not be up tp the level of Batman or Captain America, Shang can be very crafty when need be.
- Again, there were many great Shang lines in here. This one stuck out to me the most however. During his final encounter with Ai Apaec who says that he will die, Shang says,"Perhaps so monster. But perhaps not. Let us discover the truth together." That spoke volumes to me. In one sense, you can see it as representative of the classic literary trope of a hero facing and embracing his fate, whatever that may be. However, for a Buddhist like me, the line seemed remnisicent of a concept called "Thusness." Life is neither good, nor bad, positive nor negative. It can be filled with the most wondrous of joys or the most crushing of tragedies. Life can be all of these things. Life simply is thus. Therefore, one accepts whatever life brings.
To me, in that scene, Shang represented that idea. Whatever life brought, however the cards may turn, Shang was ready to not only face it, but also not be afraid of it.
- Ha, my letter ended up in the letter's page. Pretty sweet.
Egads, sorry for the exorbitant length of my post. Again, great series. Would definitely like to see an ongoing with the Master of Kung Fu. (Now, if there was only a way to get Secret Avengers # 18 here in Hong Kong)