Comics : Avengers World #3
This review was first published on: Mar 2014.
Now the Universe is safe (until the next time it's at risk at least), the Avengers are assisting S.H.I.E.L.D. with the day to day issues of Earth. Earth has plenty of threats such as the Hand.
In Avengers World #1, Falcon, Black Widow, Wolverine and Shang Chi went to Madripoor to investigate the rioting. It was probably caused by the Gorgon raising a dormant dragon, upon the head of which was the island of Madripoor!
Avengers World #3
Apr 2014 : Review (No SM)
Summary: No Spider-Man
Shang Chi, after taking out all of the present Hand ninja, challenges the Gorgon. Shang has done his homework and, knowing the Gorgon's gaze can turn a man to stone, extinguishes all the torches with a clap of his hands to cover their fight with darkness. The Gorgon counters by setting the temple ablaze, arguing the it can be restored but Shang Chi can not! Shang fights well, using the weapons Tony Stark provided for him in Avengers (Vol. 5) #11 and turning the Gorgon's attacks against him. Shang Chi also draws on the attributes from some noble warriors that have come before him. However, just as the warriors that preceded him eventually fell, the same happens to Shang with the Gorgon getting the upper hand and beating him.
The Gorgon praises Shang Chi, saying he fought valiantly but it wasn't enough, and then throws him from edge of the Madripoor. It's worth remembering here that Madripoor is now several hundred feet in the air on the back of a dragon; Shang has a long way to fall.
An action packed issue. The review is brief as the whole issue is just the fight of Shang Chi against the Gorgon and so summarising it is quite easy. Don't make my brief review trick you into thinking I didn't enjoy the comic though, as I did. I liked the style of the writing; it was though I was watching a classic Kung Fu movie. I was pleased with the continuity reference with the nod back to Tony Stark equipping Shang Chi once he joined the Avengers. I also liked the way Shang Chi fought the Gorgon; how he acknowledged his opponent was his superior in many ways and so scrapped accordingly using tactics and cunning. It was maybe a little depressing in that at no point in the comic did Shang think he would win the battle, but this is very in keeping with his character so good. He is ultimately correct as the Gorgon does defeat him but his plummeting fate isn't much of a cliff hanger as we know he'll survive somehow – my bet is on Falcon making the save.
I find it interesting how the first issue of Avengers World set up four stories, the next issue then carried on one of these tales and now this issue is furthering the plot of another. Presumably issues #4 and #5 will expand the other two plots. That could mean the Avengers World #1 has set up a years worth of comics. It could be argued that Avengers (Vol. 5) #1 did similar concluding with the Infinity event. Clearly this is Hickman's style. Whereas someone like Slott will tell three or four seemingly unrelated stories but then tie them up with a twist at the end of the year, Hickman from the word go sets out a year's worth of stories for the reader. I don't necessarily prefer one style to the other, I'm just acknowledging the difference styles.
Finally, the art and as normal it doesn't disappoint. The colours used to capture the temple on fire are great. I also really like the subtle, sepia-like tones used for the pages in which Shang Chi is remember warriors past. The only colour that leaps off of these pages is red; the same red that Shang wears, linking the characters nicely. Really nice work.
I clearly have a soft spot for Shang Chi and his tales so it scores alright, however, the story of the Gorgon raising the dragon isn't furthered at all – I hope it wasn't done purely to provide further peril to Shang Chi's defeat.
Just how many branches does the Hand have? Sabretooth is in charge of one, some have joined the Goblin army following Kingpin's defeat and now there are these guys led by the Gorgon!