Review – Master of Kung Fu #126

Master of Kung Fu #126

Be Water

This issue is a one-shot story entitled “Shang-Chi’s Day Off”. Everyone knows Shang-Chi is the Marvel Universes master fighter, whether it is with the Avengers, teaming up the other resident Kung Fu fighter Iron Fist Shang Chi keeps himself pretty busy and now he just needs a day to relax and maybe get some ice cream. If only things could be that simple! Before you know it there are ninjas popping up, crazy doctors are conducting strange experiments and monkey’s doing kung fu. So much for a day off, it seems Shang Chi is going to have to show these fools why they call him the Master of Kung Fu!

Master of Kung Fu #126 Cover by Javier Rodriguez
Master of Kung Fu #126 Cover by Javier Rodriguez

Master of Kung Fu #126 was written by CM Punk and I personally heard from several people right away that they were not picking this up because of that reason and I cannot say  I blame them. If you do not know CM Punk is former WWE and wrestling superstar. After retiring from professional wrestling he forwarded into comic book writing and Mixed Martial Arts careers. Obviously, with his name value, he was fast-tracked into the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and started writing for Marvel Comics. Now his first fight was not good and his lack of skill and knowledge was shown in that contest and you can see that same lack of skill in his writing in Master of Kung Fu #126.

Now I know this not his first comic book writing gig but it is one of his first and not to keep drawing a comparison to his fighting career, but you can see some potential, but he needs a lot of work. Master of Kung Fu #126 story wise has a lot of potential in it and there are some actual good things about it, but as a whole, it flounders to do anything. There are some good jokes, but there are so many “jokes” and comedy bits thrown into this issue that most of them fall flat. The story does flow nicely, but it just feels incomplete and very random at times. For a book entitled Master of Kung-Fu Punk does not let the action unleash that much and relies too much on some goofy comedy bits to get through the issue. Master of Kung Fu #126 could have been helped if it was a little bit longer also, maybe an oversized issue or something, as it feels a lot of information had to be dumped toward the end for any the story to make some sense.


The saving grace of Master of Kung Fu #126 is Dalibor Talajic art. Now Talajic did the art on the wonder Master of Kung Fu Secret Wars mini-series that came out a few years ago and his art has only gotten better. He has a wonderful rough style that really plays well with a character like Shang-Chi and I love how Marvel has gone all in on Shang-Chi just being Bruce Lee in the Marvel Universe. Talajic makes him resemble Bruce Lee but it is not too much as to be a perfect resemblance but it is a nice likeness and there some great nods to Lee and his films art wise throughout Master of Kung Fu #126. When the action does heat up Talajic does a great job of showcasing Shang-Chi’s skill, the blows come hard and fast and the visuals are amazing, it is too bad the issue does not have more of this in it. Erick Arciniega on colors does a superb job of giving Master of Kung Fu #126 an old Kung Fu movie type feel, the colors are dark and grainy it is the perfect look.


For a new reader, I hate to say it but Master of Kung Fu #126 is a poor introduction to Shang-Chi if you have never been introduced to this character before. The story has great potential, but CM Punk needs some work on basic comic book storytelling, he relies too much on his writing and jokes instead of letting artist Dalibor Talajic take the reins. Hopefully, Marvel will give Shang-Chi another chance at a series; because in the right hands you can tell some fantastic stories with his characters (may I suggest Ed Brisson he has been on a role with the current Iron Fist series). The art on Master of Kung Fu #126 is the highlight as Dalibor Talajic and Erick Arciniega really shine throughout the issue.

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