By Nick Spencer, Jonathan Hickman & Stephano Caselli
If you’re looking for massive story progression, this issue is not for you. Actually, if you’re an impatient reader, you really shouldn’t be reading anything with Hickman’s name attached. Avengers World appears to be taking its time on the overall plot to focus on a small number of characters in each issue. This issue is all Shang-Chi. It’s also freakin’ sweet.
I think I finished reading this issue in less than 5 minutes. It’s a quick read, but that reflects more on the furious pace of Shang-Chi as opposed to a lack of content. Trust me; there is plenty to chew on. For the entire issue, Shang-Chi fights Gorgon in the city Madripoor, which happens to be flying in the sky, on top of the head of a giant dragon. This is crazy-town-banana-pants and it is beautiful. I would expect this insanity from a comic in the seventies, but not here.
The team of Spencer and Hickman deliver a Shang-Chi with little to say. However, those little words speak volumes. Shang-Chi’s powers are depicted in a very interesting manner, both in dialogue and visually. He’s a man of honor and is more than willing to die for it. Anybody who’s thrown off with Shang-Chi being an Avenger needs to read this. There is a reason why Captain America and Iron Man would want him on the team.
Stephano Caselli’s pencils add to the power of Shang-Chi. Several times, the art style changes to depict the warriors of the past whose power Shang-Chi channels. These styles flow together well and give Shang-Chi an aura of immense significance. Oh, and the action looks pretty cool too.
Avengers World is currently less plot-driven and more about getting into the heads of characters most people haven’t been exposed to. Shang-Chi is a guy that deserves some attention, especially since he’s getting his own summer mini-series. This should bring the hype for a solo story.