Marvel Comics Presents #4 (Master of Kung Fu)
“Crossing Lines, Part 4 of 8: Water”
Writer – Doug Moench
Pencils – Tom Grindberg
Inks – Dave Cockrum
Letters – Michael Heisler
Colors – Petra Scotese
Assistant Edits – Michael Rockwitz
Edits – Terry Kavanagh
Chief – Tom DeFalco
Another evening visit with MCP here at the humble blog. I say this as though when someone discovers this post sometime in the future, they’ll care that this post was published in the PM!
We open with Shang-Chi, Reston, and Black Jack Tarr conferring to plan how they may go about rescuing the kidnapped (or, as they put it in this story “kidnaped”) and newly one-handed, Leiku Wu. They’re assuming she was napped/naped by a one-handed fella called Argus. It’s a pretty contentious chat… with neither Chi nor Tarr really seeing eye-to-eye as to how they go about it. Ya see, Chi wants to leave Tarr and Reston behind… which, causes Jack to flip out… it’s really quite an annoying little scene that kills a few too many panels in my opinion.
Shang-Chi assures the fellas that, while he doesn’t want them to accompany him, that doesn’t mean he’s going alone. He’s got frenemies (oof, I can’t believe I actually used that word. Stop me if I do so again) in low places… and so, we are introduced to Shen Kuei… the Cat. I’ve never seen this dude before, but it seems as though he and Chi have had a tussle or two in their time… even had a few women come between them, one of them Leiko Wu herself! Upon learning that she is in trouble, the Cat agrees to help out.
Speaking of Ms. Wu, we join her as she’s been tied to a chair by… none other than Argus. During her… uh, interrogation (?), she manages to break free… but is quickly kayoed with a (literal) right-hook to the mush.
We shift scenes to a boat (called The Junk), where Tarr is giving Chi and the Cat the quick and dirty on their mission. He tries making it far more complex than it needs to be, but what it all boils down to is… Chi and Kuei are both Asian… and they’re going to replace some Yakuza weapon-buyers in order to get in close to Argus. Once they’re inside, they’ll assume the roles of “Red Wolves”, whoever they are.
Chi and Kuei think the first part of the plan is solid… but, that second-half… they’re not so sure. They all board a little rowboat to head back to the docks from The Junk. Just as they arrive on dry land, however, The Junk is blown sky-high. Game on.
I have this little… hmm… problem with “Part 4’s”. If you’ve listened to any of my audio exploits, I’m sure you’ve heard me mention it a time or two. In today’s decompressed comics landscape, “Part 4 of 6” pretty much means you’re in for a garbage issue… full of poorly-told recaps, with the teensiest bit of momentum toward the climax.
Now, this chapter wasn’t recappy in the slightest… but, it felt like quite the time-killer. Which is kind of a shame, as I’ve been kinda digging on this story up to this point. Hopefully this was just a lull… and next time out, we’ll be back to business as usual. I don’t wanna be too hard on it, going by the “three chapters = one issue” model we’ve been using… I suppose this was decent enough “first third” of an issue.
Perhaps if I had any familiarity or attachment to Shang-Chi and his crew, I’d be a bit more excited seeing folks like The Cat.
Tomorrow: Fear Bug… take four!