Sometimes I feel like I’m just raining on everyone’s MCU parade! I really don’t want to be THAT guy. However as a fan of the comic book as a kid in the 1980’s I can say if you’d shown me the trailer with no mention of what I was seeing I’d probably wouldn’t have guessed it was Shang Chi “The Master of Kung Fu’ I’d grown up to love!
I’m super duper pumped about the recent addition to the “Phase 4” of Marvel’s cinematic universe, they’ll indeed be introducing none other than Shang Chi: The Master of Kung Fu to audiences around the globe! This really did kinda catch me by surprise, I mean who’d have ever thought Shang-Chi would get his own blockbuster film? I understand the Black Panther, as he’s easily in my opinion, one of Marvel’s most iconic, at least to any real collector of superhero comics. He’s a legend. However Shang-Chi (who as a kid I was a collector of his titles) is a pretty obscure character whom I never thought got enough credit. He’s been around though since the early 70’s and was Marvel’s direct reaction to the popularity of Bruce Lee.
Now in 2018 Shang-Chi once again has an advantage, as Marvel searches for it’s next big hit, cashing in at the box office on diversity in their movies, they’re aiming at lightning striking again with a movie that features an all Asian cast & director in a similar fashion as the Black Panther. I’d have been more impressed honestly if Marvel had introduced The Black Panther movie years before it’s release in 2018, but it seemed like they waited until the right time though to make as much money as possible with diversity being a hot topic. That being said better late than never for The Black Panther and now Shang-Chi I guess.
So being a fan of the greatest martial artist in the MCU I’m hoping they do indeed pull this one off and pull the character into the A-List category! What do we want from a “Master of Kung Fu” movie? Well how about the exact opposite of what we got from the Iron Fist series? This movie needs to bring on a superhuman kung fu spectacle unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Iron Fist was a giant disappointment, it’s terrible fight sequences/choreography, mixed with it’s ultra bland plot & unappealing lead character made for a truly tough series to sit that many hours through. Shang-Chi should be a full on action adventure movie, something like a mix up of Indiana Jones & Enter The Dragon but with the most insane martial arts battles put to screen, To pull this off they need someone who’s a true veteran to do the choreography/directing duties like Wilson Yip of the ‘Ip Man’ franchise or the legendary Sammo Hung. Continue reading
So the news just dropped that the Netflix Iron Fist series has officially been axed. I can’t say I’m sad about the news, but what I can say I’m sad about’s how badly they dropped the ball on what should have been a live action series that set a new bar for hyperactive kung fu mayhem. Not only did the series NOT deliver the impressive kung fu choreography I’d hoped for, but it was actually some of the most uninspired melee combat I’ve seen put to screen in quite some damn time. As I’ve said before, this show had the potential to feature Danny Rand as one of the best superhuman combatants (Let’s not forget about Shang Chi too) the world has ever seen. Rand should’ve been doing crazy ass stunts, breaking bones left n’ right and flexing his Iron Fist power on the bad guys like it was nobody’s goddamn business!
Instead we got a seriously weak ass plot, an annoying, whiny version of the character and some pretty pathetic action sequences. We never even got Iron Fist in his actual costume either, which in the end is a good thing cuz I don’t wanna watch some craptastic kung fu being performed by a dude wearing the classic IF duds. Add in some utterly forgettable villains and the supporting character of Colleen Wing being more bad ass and like-able than the series’ lead and you’ve got a major problem that finally caught up to leading to it’s ultimate demise. It actually blows my mind that some of these comic book adaptations can have such a hard time coming up with something fans would dig, Iron Fist should have been an easy sell. Somehow out of touch people in the industry always seem to think they know better than the fans? What gives with that these days?!
Anyway the good thing about the show being cancelled is that we don’t have to endure the torture of watching an epic character like Iron Fist being drug through the mud any more. Though it was a true utter failure, this actually frees things up somewhat for the superhero. Though it’s likely that we won’t see another season of the character, as reported we’ll maybe see Danny Rand making cameos in other Marvel Netflix shows, I think that it might eventually lead to a new Iron Fist altogether. Look how fast other properties get the reboot treatment-Spider-man, Fantastic Four, Hulk and most recently Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker. So why not Danny Rand?!
A reboot in this case, in the form of a movie would be exactly what I’d love to come to fruition, one that takes an entirely new approach. I’d love to see Iron Fist portrayed by someone who’s got the real skills and choreographed by someone who’s ready to knock kung fu fan’s socks off. I’d posted before how the Iron Fist action sequences should have been something more like Tony Jaa’s stunning performance in “The Protector”, for one second imagine Tony had a cool Iron Fist costume on in this scene:
So Yeah I’m glad Iron Fist is over for now, bummed they fucked it up so bad, but hey eventually someone who knows how to make excellent kung fu action on screen AND provide a compelling story for the character WILL indeed come along to give Rand some redemption, at least for now we can hope for that. Now at least I don’t have to sit through another 10 hours of mediocre / subpar Netflix “superhero” programming…..
Black Panther is clearly all the rage at the box office and it’s crazy that he wasn’t introduced sooner to the Marvel cinematic universe. We had to wait roughly 10 years for his solo flick since the MCU kicked off, maybe Marvel was strategically timing his arrival with current trends in the news and social media? Whatever the case thinking about the gigantic monetary success of ‘The Panther’ I’m certain people over at Disney/Marvel are scheming what characters will be the next smash sensation and I’m certain they’re considering just how the racial background of them might help bring in the big bucks once again. Let’s face it, the white dude superhero can clearly get a little stale sometimes. So who’re the top contenders that Marvel might introduce to the moviegoing public? Here’s my predictions and hopes:
Shang Chi: The Master of Kung Fu
Shang Chi is clearly at the top of the list when I think about what Marvel might have planned next after the success of The Black Panther. It seems like Marvel and Disney are pretty concerned about their Chinese audience when it comes to releasing new movies as they can make a ton of money there. So if they play their cards right perhaps the legendary Master of Kung Fu could woo audiences in the USA and abroad? I think so, imagine a Marvel Kung Fu flick done right with crazy over the top superhuman martial arts action on the big screen. They could achieve what they should have with Iron Fist and give everyone the action extravaganza they craved for the Netflix character. I’d love to see him come to life on the big screen, he’s a true classic character that deserves more respect..
There are certain comic book covers that just pop right off the page at you when you see ’em & Master of Kung Fu #75 is one ’em! This cool cover way back from 1979 shows again just how damn good of an artist the master Mike Zeck is! This one shows Shang-Chi doing battle with a giant fish man that looks straight out of an H.P. Lovecraft story. I love the simplicity of some covers and this one gets straight to the point with an amazing underwater struggle facing the Master of Kung Fu. There are some truly jaw dropping covers in the Master of Kung Fu comic book back catalogue & Zeck’s done a great deal of them, ah those good ol’ days…
Marvel Comics Presents was a cool anthology series from 1988 that really kickstarted the first Wolverine solo series that same year. This started one of my favorite eras of the character where he took the nickname “Patch” and hung out on the mythical island of Madripoor for some truly grand adventure.
Marvel Comics Presents #1 features the start of the ‘Save The Tiger’ storyline, which is pretty awesome and has some great artwork by John Buscema and features Wolverine going up against the classic Shang-Chi villain Razorfirst. The series featured four, eight page stories from four different superheroes Wolverine remaining at the forefront for most of it’s run.
This particular cover was always a favorite of mine, features some awesome artwork by Walt Simonson and has Wolverine, Shang-Chi, a gigantic Man-Thing and the Silver Surfer. It’s a full cover front and back. What a great cast and an epic cover from a great era!
Do you remember The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu?! Well I thought it’d be cool mention this old comic book magazine put out by Magazine Management Company, which was a part of Marvel Comics way back in the mid to late 1970’s primarily because of how amazing their covers were! Back during this time comic book magazines were quite popular and I was a big fan of The Rampaging Hulk magazine as well. Well The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu gathered Marvel’s most fierce martial arts superheroes in some crazy adventures as well as Kung Fu movie reviews and often time interviews with real life martial artists. Man looking at these incredible covers really makes me want to see a Shang Chi flick sometime soon! Check these out and imagine these on news stands during a time when the kung fu craze was in full effect!
I love to see new villains created for comic books today, but I won’t lie here. I really like it when some weird ass old D-lister from who knows when re-emerges onto the scene with a vengance into a current title. It always brings a smile to my face and sometimes the villain hits the big time graduating to the B-list or sometimes even the A-list level. So I began to think about a handful of villains from the yesteryears of my youth and decided that these guys need another chance to shine. Now I am not one hundred percent positive that all these guys haven’t made a more recent appearance, as I obviously can’t afford to read every title out there (Hint! Hint! Any of you comic companies want to send me promo comics for review?!!) but I am pretty damn sure this first group of villains have been pretty silent for quite some time so here are the first five that came to mind!
1. Shadow Stalker
This master assassin is probably my favorite on this list. He’s a super old school villain from “The Master of Kung Fu” series back in the 1970’s. He often time battled Shang-Chi and was one of his major enemies way back when. He’s definitely a weird ass character, which is probably why I like the dude so damn much! There’s really not much known about this guy, he hides in shadows with his yellow skin and kicks major ass with his morning star-hair.
A previous Shang-chi villain, Razorfist, who is from around that same era is now a pretty popular nemesis to Wolverine. Razorfist was also a fave of mine, so how about sending Shadow Stalker after Wolverine next time he travels to Madripoor? I’d pay to see that!
2. The Missing Link
This largely forgotten villain of The Incredible Hulk need to get back onto the smashing circuit again and knock some sense back into him! This guy was once a “neanderthaloid” from long ago who survived in a pocket beneath the earth by some unknown means. During atomic testing in China the pocket he survived in was ruptured and he was affected by the bombing, later returning to the surface as a radioactive monster! There he was handed over to the Russians who launched him into the New York Harbor where he raised hell.
This was the beginning of his battling the Hulk where he for a short time established himself as a major adversary. But where has The Missing Link been lately? I say it’s time for this guy to come back as a major contender and start some serious meddling in the affairs of Banner & The Incredible HULK!
3. Hammer & Anvil
These guys were pretty cool I always thought at least, however when villains in the 1980’s were killed by Scourge it wasn’t exactly a good sign of their popularity! Their story is also pretty unique “Leroy “Hammer” Jackson was an African-American prisoner said to hate everyone and everything. As part of a chain gang, he was chained to a white racist named Johnny Anvil. The pair’s hatred of prison, however, was stronger than their hate for each other and they succeeded in escaping the chain gang while still chained together. Hammer stole a .38 handgun from a guard, and when the two encountered an alien who had crashed on Earth, Hammer tried to kill it but accidentally wound up saving the creature’s life instead; it fed on metal, and used the bullets fired at it to regenerate. The alien wanted to thank them, and replaced the chain linking them with a device that granted them superhuman powers. The two returned to prison seeking revenge, but wound up battling the Hulk instead.”
Yeah that’s what their Wiki page had to say do you really need any other reason to see these guys back in action? I didn’t think so! I think The Wrecking Crew needs to have these guys join their gang-how cool would that be? Granted they’d need a good makeover most likely but power them up and and have them raise some havoc again!
Yes Wyre is a D-lister from 1992 with an B-List background. He’s not very well known from his appearances in The Alpha Flight where his main nemesis was Wild Child, who at the time was a bit of a D-lister himself before he more recently graduated as a major villain of Wolverine. The Canadian mutant Wyre, much like Wolverine is a bit more of an anti hero, and actually has tangled with Logan before. He appeared back in 1992 and has genetically modified wires that can stretch from his body which he controls with his mind as well as a similar healing factor. His main mission was to take down members of a feral group of assassin called the Breed who were created from his DNA and quite possibly his hairy ass chest!
I think Wyre needs a good makeover obviously but given his background he could prove to be a major player in Wolverine’s world perhaps even resurfacing with information or a death wish again for Wild Child and Roumulus?
This guy should be back causing serious trouble for the Hulk! He first appeared in the The Incredible Hulk #334 back in the eighties and later in issue #342 he kills himself. As far as I know that’s the last we have seen of the psychotic gamma zombie. Half-life was pretty awesome actually aside from being really creepy looking he’d start out looking like a green zombie with a sylish 80’s hair-do and absorbing life from living creatures to become more “normal” looking.
When the Leader employed him to take down The Hulk he drained him so badly that ol’ jade jaws was not much more than a walking pile of skin and bones. I see no reason why Half-Life can’t come back, perhaps revived by The Leader? He’s a great classic Hulk villain that needs to step back into the spotlight-zombies are all the rage right now and a gamma powered zombie is ten times as awesome!