Written by Nick Spencer, Jonathan Hickman
Art by Stefano Caselli
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: February 19, 2014

AVENWORLD2014003_DC11_LRThinking you might be interested in that upcoming Shang-Chi mini-series? Thinking an adventure focused on the Master of Kung Fu might be up your alley? Well, here’s the comic for you…..

Avengers World #3 focuses solely on Shang-Chi who is in a good ol’ fashioned Kung Fu slobberknocker with the ever dangerous Gorgon atop the flying dragon we saw in past issues. This issue is an action packed drag ’em out fight and while there isn’t a ton of dialogue or explicit story told, we get a fantastic look at Shang-Chi and why he deserves to be on the Avengers roster. Spencer & Hickman do a great job of showing the potential of this character, a man with courage and heart who is up against an opponent he cannot defeat, but shows no hesitation in trying to stop. He’s overpowered, overmatched and exhausted but fights on because he has to. There is no honor in not. By the end of this issue if you aren’t sold on Shang-Chi being a character that can carry his own book I dare say there is no hope for you as Spencer & Hickman write a compelling argument for a Shang-Chi ongoing. Some readers may be confused by the whole “Avengers World” and only one character playing any kind of role in the comic, but when that singular character is written this well it’s easy to shoot that argument down. Spencer & Hickman examine what makes Shang-Chi tick in an organic way in the middle of conflict and I’ve never been more intrigued by this character.

Now, let’s talk Stefano Caselli. This issue, quite simply, does not work if Caselli doesn’t deliver the fantastic work he does. Caselli gives readers the look and feel of the best Kung Fu movie you’ve ever seen, with explosive action leaping from every page. Every level of Shang-Chi’s personality is examined in this comic and Caselli showcases them all very well. His tie to the past, his confidence in his skills, his nervousness about fighting Gorgon…it’s all readily apparent in his facial expressions and this comic is another example of just how top-flight Stefano Caselli is. His action sequences are paced brilliantly and this issue flows effortlessly. This is action-packed visual storytelling at it’s finest.

Avengers World #3 is arguably the strongest issue in the series so far, despite it’s lack of Avengers or examination of the larger scope of this book. That said, the Shang-Chi story is so strong that the comic cannot be criticized for focusing so closely on a single character. This is a great comic by talented creators and you should get your hands on this as soon as you can.

The Verdict: 9.0/10


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