Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings #1 Review

Writer: Gene Luen Yang
Art: Marcus To and Erick Arciniega
Letters: VC’s Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99
Release Date: July 20th, 2022

A lot has happened to Shang-Chi as Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings #1 opens.  Not only is he now Supreme Commander of the Five Weapons Society (after overthrowing his father), he’s now in possession of the ancient and powerful Ten Rings. But he may not have them for long as Lady Iron Fan, A.I.M., Hydra, The Hand, The Inner Demons, and The Red Dot Collective all seek to grab the Rings for themselves and come calling. It’s a first issue onslaught like no other.   Can you survive all the martial arts action within?

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The Story

If I were a gambling guy, I’d bet that Shang-Chi’s facing more dilemmas this month than any other hero.  Not only is he trying to keep the soldiers in the Five Weapons Society (who preferred his father’s rule) from rebelling, he’s trying to figure out how to use the Ten Rings and keep them hidden.  On top of that, every mercenary and military organization is gunning for him.

It makes this issue frenetic, pure action from beginning to end, only stopping for one brief interlude with Shang-Chi and Delilah Wang playing miniature golf.  But even there, Shang-Chi ends up getting into a fight with a member of his rogues’ gallery.   Geez, a guy can’t even go to a Putt-Putt anymore without having to get into a Kung Fu throwdown(!)
As much as I loved the martial arts action, which felt akin to watching a film such as “The Raid”, where there’s hardly a chance to breathe before another brutal attack comes, I wish there’d been some time where Shang-Chi is experimenting with and studying the Ten Rings.  Since these artifacts are obviously based on the Shang-Chi film, some aspects of the film are worked into the story, like the Ten Rings coming from the extra-dimensional land of Ta Lo.

I want to get into other aspects of the Shang-Chi film that haven’t been included, like Shang-Chi’s friend Katy, which is a shame, because Katy was a fun character in the film.  I suppose Delilah Wang is supposed to be a stand-in for her.

I hope next issue there are more moments with Delilah and the rest of Shang-Chi’s supporting cast.  I’d also love to see more of the inner workings of the Five Weapons Society.  It’s crazy how many secret groups and organizations exist within the Marvel universe, but most of them are never fully explored, they have no depth.

The Art

Marcus To’s art on Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings #1 captures Shang-Chi’s acrobatic moves and fighting style in fine fashion.
The book is riddled with villains, and one huge panel has them all facing Shang-Chi from Shang-Chi’s POV, very reminiscent of the end of “The Avengers” when Loki looks up to see the Avengers looking down at him.
The Hand are drawn especially menacing, their swords and Kamas glinting malevolently.

As far as the Ten Rings themselves, I wish they’d been drawn in a more spectacular fashion, but instead, they’re just drawn with a slight golden shimmer, even when they’re used in combat.  When Shang-Chi uses the Rings, his eyes pulsate red, which is a nice effect.

Final Thoughts

Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings #1 is a martial arts battle fest from beginning to end.  It’s an explosive way to kick off the series and a change of pace from the usual first issues, which are usually mostly filled with exposition and set-up for future issues.
In future issues, I’d love to see more about the Five Weapons Society, including how Shang-Chi is going to “reboot” them into a different organization and get the rebelling soldiers under control.


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