Shang-Chi might be one of Marvel’s greatest warriors, but it looks like he hasn’t brushed up on The Walking Dead enough to avoid making this mistake.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Shang-Chi #3
When it comes to Marvel Comics and The Walking Dead, the two couldn’t be more different in terms of style, tone and storytelling. Short of the non-canonical and ever-popular Marvel Zombies franchise, the blending of the undead and superhero genres is somewhat limited. Enter Shang-Chi, one of Marvel’s greatest warriors and apparently also one of its least informed characters when it comes to undead related shenanigans.
And while many characters in The Walking Dead have learned to live with the recently deceased and successfully been able to glean a thing or two about how to deal with the never-ending zombie horde banging at their gates, Shang-Chi just broke the number one rule in the undead handbook in the pages of Shang-Chi #3 by Gene Luen Yang and Dike Ruan.
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Recently re-launched to no doubt capitalize on the upcoming MCU film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, this new volume sees Shang-Chi relocated to San Francisco’s Chinatown as he tries to enjoy an ordinary life outside of the superhero business for the time being. Unfortunately, Shang-Chi’s life is almost immediately upended as previously unknown and long-lost siblings arrive on his doorstep looking to both hurt and help the hero in an attempt to install him as the Supreme Commander of the Five Weapons Society, a secret organization that Shang-Chi wants no part of.
But like many superhero gigs, Shang-Chi doesn’t really have a choice in the matter, as his evil sister, Shi-Hua, aka Sister Hammer, sends her gang of undead kung fu vampires called jiangshi to combat her older brother in order to lay claim to the title of Supreme Commander herself. Based on the Chinese folklore entities sometimes referred to as “hopping vampires,” these jiangshi attack Shang-Chi and wound him in a way that immediately brings flashbacks of The Walking Dead to mind, especially in the way he handles it.
Feeling the constant pain begin to steadily intensify at the site of the wound – but apparently not thinking enough of it to be that big of a deal – Shang-Chi decides to keep his injury under wraps from his half-siblings, Brother Sabre and Sister Dagger, as they train to defeat their malevolent sister. To make matters worse, the cut is revealed to be spreading across Shang-Chi’s body, giving him crusty white jiangshi-esque skin that doesn’t look to be going away anytime soon. At this point the wound is practically screaming “tell someone what’s going on!” But just like the mistakes made by countless characters in The Walking Dead that have died only to return as reanimated corpses, Shang-Chi seems to be following in their shambling footsteps, an idea that might have huge ramifications down the line.
So even without being able to crack open a trade of The Walking Dead to brush up on all things undead, Shang-Chi really shouldn’t keep the fact that he might be turning into a member of the jiangshi from his friends and allies. But as with any good zombie tale, there’s no fun in nipping the undead-plague in the bud, so expect a thrilling and slightly nonsensical continuation to the Master of Kung Fu’s classic zombie mistake.
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