Among the myriad worlds unveiled in Marvel's Secret Wars this summer is one inspired by Tibetan mysticism, Chinese mythology, and Marvel's very own mysterious fictional enclave of martial artist, K'un-Lun. Master of Kung-Fu by W Haden Blackman and Dalibor Talajic offers a Shaw Brothers spin on the Marvel Universe, centered on Shang-Ch's fight with his evil wizard father, and introducing new versions of Kitty Pryde, Elektra, Iron Fist, and more. Marvel has provided us with an exclusive unlettered four-page preview.
The mysteries of Battleworld, the new merged world that forms the basis for Marvel's forthcoming Secret Wars event, are slowly trickling out in the form of various tie-in titles and mini-series announcements. Thus far most of what we know either relates to Marvel Universe characters like Magneto and Loki, or describes in broad terms the publisher's plans for the various "warzones." But today Marvel announced the first specific mini-series set in a Battleworld world; Master Of Kung-Fu.
Written by Haden Blackman and illustrated by Dalibor Talajic, the series is set in the mystical land of K'un Lun and stars Shang-Chi in fight to dethrone his despotic father. Fans will know that Shang-Chi's father in old Marvel continuity was none other than Fu Manchu -- a character Marvel long ago lost the rights to. A recent retcon introduced a new identity for his father, an ancient sorcerer named Zu, and the new series looks set to cement that change.
Listeners of the ComicsAlliance Podcast will know that the other staffers and I have been particularly impressed with the variety of visuals currently offered by Marvel Comics. In the best way possible, it's become practically impossible to describe "Marvel house style," with the publisher staffing books with artists as talented and diverse as David Aja, Adrian Alphona, Michael Allred, Esad Ribic, Chris Samnee, Declan Shalvey, Phil Noto, Mitch Gerads and many more besides. Many of these fly far afield of what you might consider traditional superhero art, and that's a fact that's made so many "All-New" books so fun to read.
Given this recent history it was not surprising to learn that Mike Del Mundo was to draw a new Elektra series written by Haden Blackman, whose résumé includes Batwoman with JH Williams III, making this new series about the beautiful and deadly assassin one of the most appropriately staffed of Marvel's current line.
Two weeks, two high-profile writer swaps on major new Marvel titles.
Last week, Marvel announced that Haden Blackman was taking over as the new writer of the forthcoming Elektra title, replacing writer Zeb Wells because of Wells' increased TV commitments. Now, the company has announced that Inhuman, one of the most-hyped titles coming out of the Inhumanity event, won't be staffed by the series' originally announced writer, Matt Fraction. Charles Soule will be taking it over. Series artist Joe Madureira will remain on the book.