Written by: Gene Luen Yang
Art by: Marcus To
Colors by: Erick Arciniega
Letters by: VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover art by: Dike Ruan, Matthew Wilson
Cove price: $3.99
Release date: October 19, 2022
Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings #4 force Shang-Chi to prove his worthiness to own the Ten Rings when the Most Revered Game Adminsrators snatch ten deadly warriors away from Earth to fight in an elimination tournament. The winner will be the new owner of the Ten Rings.
Is It Good?
Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings #4 are OK. A Game of Death (1978) styled tournament sounds like the plot of a cheesy video game or B-level martial arts movie, and that’s precisely what this issue delivers. Shang-Chi must fight an eclectic array of opponents through multiple levels of a mystical pagoda. If he reaches the top and wins the final fight, Shang-Chi will be named the rightful owner of the Ten Rings, according to the mystical forces. The only thing missing is the slot to pump in stacks of quarters.
Honestly, there’s not much more to the plot than that. The fight begins, and Shang-Chi faces off against a who’s who of villains from his past, eventually partnering up with an old friend and an occasional rival, Shen Kuei, to make it past the first round.
If you’re looking for a downside, the boilerplate, familiar nature of the story executes like a combat video game, ala Mortal Kombat. The stakes feel low, some combatants are eliminated with relative ease, and barring a surprise ending, Shang-Chi’s victory is a foregone conclusion.
To’s art style, however, elevates the predictable story with exciting action matches, athletic choreography showcasing each combatant’s talents, and a respectable amount of facial acting from the Shang-Chi.
About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.
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Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings #4 shifts the series into a story that reads like a second-rate combat tournament video game, complete with colorful opponents and an objective to survive multiple levels of a mystical pagoda. This issue is light, low-stakes fun, but don’t look for a meaningful plot.