The Marvel universe has been around for more than 80 years, with thousands upon thousands of comics piling up over that time. So when it comes to numbering stories and following a character’s story arc, things can get to be a bit confusing.
For example, fans who pick up this week’s “Shang-Chi #1” may be expecting to find a brand new story. Instead, this is a continuation of the recent Shang-Chi story we’ve seen. While this may be an ok issue to pick up and read without any prior context, it is far from the beginning of a story.
Shang-Chi has been reunited with his family and has taken over his family business. Nice as that sounds, things are a bit more complicated for the hero than they may seem. It’s not exactly a family restaurant he’s taking over, but rather a worldwide crime organization.
With that comes a lot of work and not a lot of time for a personal life. Dating can be particularly tough. So while Shang-Chi works tirelessly to reestablish his father’s organization and remove the crime aspect of it, he also tries to work in some time for himself. Those of use who read these superhero stories know better than that though.
Of course, becoming the Supreme Commander of the Five Weapons Society is going to draw some attention, and not exactly the kind Shang-Chi would like from his superhero friends. So while he tries to correct all of his father’s mistakes, he’s also trying stay under the radar of heroes like Spider-Man.
This Shang-Chi story, which again is a continuation of the recent limited series we saw late last year, has been interesting but far from ground-breaking. It boils down to a hero facing the ghosts of his past and confronting his family. While the action has been fun and there has been a fair amount of humor, it was nothing that really broke the mold.
That bing said, this version of Shang-Chi is incredibly likable and one of the strongest characters in today’s comics. It’s easy for the reader to get behind the new Supreme Commander and his family, dysfunctional as they may be. This series is likely to be one that will get fans falling in love with the character before he makes his appearance on the big screen.
This particular issue also leans heavily on the involvement of Spider-Man – which can be seen as both a positive and a negative. On the one hand, it takes the spotlight off of Shang-Chi and the other primary characters of this series. On the other hand though, it allows readers to see what Shang-Chi’s relationship will be like with the other people in his life now that his life has changed so drastically.
With a subtitle like “vs. the Marvel Universe,” you can expect to see some more characters popping up throughout this series. With that bing the case, it will be interesting to see the balance of focus and whether or not Shang-Chi himself gets enough time in the spotlight to really shine. If it’s done right, this is a very interesting concept for a story going forward and writer Gene Yang can certainly find that perfect balance.
You can check out “Shang-Chi #1” now. For more on this week’s comics, check out today’s episode of Marvel Time:
Mike is a writer that has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed “nerd.”