REVIEW: ‘Shang-Chi,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Shang-Chi #3

Shang-Chi #3 is written by Gene Luen Yang, illustrated by Dike Ruan, colored by Triona Farrell, and lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham. It is published by Marvel Comics. Part three of “Shang-Chi VS. The Marvel Universe” centers on Shang discovering another long-lost sibling of his, Zhilan, who shares his goal of reforming the Five Weapons Society. However, Zhilan turns out to be a mutant which puts Shang in conflict with his fellow siblings Brother Sabre and Sister Dagger-as well as Wolverine, who offers Zhilan an invitation to Krakoa.

With this issue, it becomes clear that the creative team intends to tackle a different genre of fiction with every issue, along with the usual martial arts and superheroic elements. Shang-Chi #1 was more of a heist story, while Shang-Chi #2 was a homage to the James Bond films. This issue feels in line with wuxia films such as House of Flying Daggers and Shadow, as Zhilan’s mutant abilities allow her to summon music as glowing green strands of energy. The Loss Nech Monster even makes an appearance!

The issue also continues Shang’s trend of attempting to keep the peace between his fellow Marvel heroes and his siblings, and this time the cracks clearly show. Both Brother Sabre and Sister Dagger attempt to kill Zhilan, as Shang’s father viewed mutants as an abomination (proving that some things in the Marvel Universe will never change), and it’s clear they have a long way to go before they abandon years of indoctrination. Matters aren’t helped with the introduction of Wolverine, who tends to fight everyone he meets. Yang manages to juggle all these threats with ease and also comes to a resolution between the various parties.

Artwise, Ruan delivers one of the most interesting fight scenes in the series to date. Shang manages to hold his own against Wolverine, despite the X-Man’s healing factor and adamantium claws. And under Ruan’s pencils, Shang’s blows land an impact in every panel-stopping his siblings’ weapons dead in their tracks and even sending Wolverine flying off a cliff. Farrell’s color art also adds to the wuxia vibes, as most of the issue takes place in the lush green forests of Scotland. Zhilan herself wears a long green robe, and her powers appear as twisting emerald strands of music, and even the sound effect of her songs have a green outline. I also appreciate that Lanham continues to differentiate between Shang speaking in English and Ancient Mandarin by using uppercase letters for the former and lowercase for the latter-and that Yang mostly has Shang speaking in Ancient Mandarin to his siblings solidifying their bond in a small yet very important way.

Shang-Chi #3 delivers one of the best fight sequences in the series to date and shows the cracks in the Master of Kung Fu’s new life. The next issue will see Shang going up against the Fantastic Four, and with a mysterious figure in the works plotting to destroy the Five Weapons Society, the timing couldn’t be worse.

Shang-Chi #3 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Shang-Chi #3
4.5

TL;DR

Shang-Chi #3 delivers one of the best fight sequences in the series to date and shows the cracks in the Master of Kung Fu’s new life. The next issue will see Shang going up against the Fantastic Four, and with a mysterious figure in the works plotting to destroy the Five Weapons Society, the timing couldn’t be worse.