Jonathan, son of Kevin:
Characters Appearing: Clive Reston, Fah Lo Suee, Leiko Wu, Shang-Chi, Sir Denis Nayland Smith
Master of Kung Fu #122
Issue(s): Master of Kung Fu #122
This is also the last issue by Doug Moench. By this issue i believe everyone knew the series was cancelled. There are a lot of stories about the conflicts between Doug Moench and Jim Shooter. One that's relevant here is where Shooter supposedly told Moench to make this book about ninjas. As i was writing this entry, Chris left a comment here nicely saying something along the lines of what i was going to write about that. And it really is crazy that this series would be cancelled while martial arts were having a major revival in Daredevil and elsewhere. It's been a great book with a nice set of characters and it's really been blessed with great art. A little bit of a concession to the times might have really helped get it some attention.
It's not like Shooter was asking Moench to turn this into a super-hero comic (although with all of the crazy villains Shang-Chi has faced i wouldn't find that entirely out of line either).
In any event, this issue really focuses more on one of those other great cast members, Clive Reston.
He's character that has an almost League of Extraordinary Gentlemen type of potential, being the son of James Bond and the grand-nephew of Sherlock Holmes. Not much was ever really done with those connections, unfortunately, and there isn't much here, either.
Reston is hired to hunt down a maniac that he had previously sent away while he was still a member of MI-6. The guy had come after him and Leiko personally before Reston sent him away (that's Leiko in the scan below, from when she and Reston were still dating).
The rest of the "Freelance Restorations" organization that Reston and all the former MI-6 guys (Shang-Chi, Leiko, Denis Smith) are now a part of now are alerted to the fact that there's something more to the mission thanks to Shang-Chi's sister, Fah Lo Suee, who is currently running MI-6. And so Shang-Chi and Leiko have to come to Reston's rescue...
...and it turns out that the guy that hired Reston was actually the maniac himself.
As with all the stories after the death of Fu Manchu, it's a well done comic that nonetheless doesn't have any real impact.
There's kind of a clown theme going on in this issue...
...and here's the clown at the end that karlos mentions in the comments. He's also Reston's initial contact seen above without the clown make-up.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places Shang-Chi and company's appearance in ROM #38-39 between last issue and this one.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
The clown character, who says goodbye at the end of this issue - Moench himself?
Posted by: karlos | February 18, 2015 7:28 PM
I've added a scan of the panel karlos refers to.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 19, 2015 7:40 AM
Sort of wonder if that last "bye, folks" by the Reston clown is in reference to the last words of "The Howdy Doody Show" spoken by Clarabell in its final episode?
Posted by: Ataru320 | February 19, 2015 8:48 AM
Moench said in an interview a few years ago that when DC offered him the Batman gig, he was told by Shooter that he couldn't work for both companies.
And so Moench quit Marvel to work at DC.
Odd that Shooter effectively (according to Moench) ousted Moench from the title, yet closed it down just 3 issues after he left.
Posted by: Karlos | March 12, 2015 9:15 AM
With all the whining over the Iron Fist show daring to have a straight white male lead, one would have thought Shang Chi would be their logical (racist, discriminatory, ridiculous, SJW) solution.
Posted by: Flying Tiger Comics | March 14, 2017 3:30 AM
I know fnord doesn't like things getting nasty and political and I say this with that in mind: please don't assume bad faith. I believe there are perfectly sincere and non-racist reasons people might take either side of the dispute over casting Iron Fist. To just parenthically cast such aspersions is needlessly offensive.
That said, I see your point about MOKF although some of the arguments about stereotyping used to criticize the Asian American IF proposal would also apply here. And in any case, the Fu Manchu issue would clearly be a licensing problem for making a TV show while using Fu Manchu at all - or an expy like Yellow Claw - would raise other issues of cultural and racial sensitivities.
FWIW, I'm not particularly tied to either position re:Iron Fist. I just think we should be more careful calling the views of others "ridiculous" let alone "racist".
Posted by: Ubersicht | March 14, 2017 7:44 PM
I remember dismissing this one as a youngster because Shang Chi only has a small role, but when I finally read it I loved it. When Reston gets that clipboard from the "doctor" and its full of gibberish...great creep-out moment. No surprise Moench went on to become a great Batman writer.
Posted by: MindlessOne | April 28, 2017 8:51 AM
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