Friday, July 31, 2015


Story: Jim Zubkavich w/Ken Siu Chong (Interludes)
Artwork: Omar Dogan w/Alan Wang & Gary Yeung (Interlude 2)
Lettering: Marshall Dillon | Chief of Operations: Erik Ko
Managing Editor: Matt Moylan

Let's start by saying that I know absolutely nothing about STREET FIGHTER 3. I think I played it once in my life, at a casino arcade at Lake Tahoe. I'm unfamiliar with the plot and the characters. Its probably the STREET FIGHTER area where I have the very least amount of knowledge. And since this mini-series focuses entirely on SF3 characters, I have to admit to being a bit lost among these pages.

Which isn't to say Jim Zubkavich isn't a good writer -- in fact I would rate him higher than Ken Siu-Chong in terms of grammar and exposition (this is especially evident when the first "interlude" crops up and Siu-Chong guest scripts a few panels of painfully constructed exposition).

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The story here follows a girl named Ibuki, a Japanese high school student who also happens to be a ninja trainee, living among a group of ninjas in a hidden glade. Ibuki and her classmate Sarai befriend a new student named Makoto who is also the heir to a karate dojo. The group is rounded out when African exchange student Elena, also a powerful fighter, arrives as well.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


”In the name of the immortal Master Khan--“

Author: Chris Claremont | Artist: John Byrne | Inker: Frank Chiarmonte
Letterer: Joe Rosen | Colorist: Bonnie Wilford | Editor: Archie Goodwin

The Plot: Colleen saves Iron Fist from execution, then engages Angar and Master Khan’s men while Iron Fist chases after the fleeing Khan. Meanwhile, not far from Khan’s palace, Misty engages in target practice and chats with Jeryn Hogarth.

In the palace, Iron Fist confronts Khan, who attempts to save himself by opening a portal to K’un L’un and offering Iron Fist a chance to return there. When Iron Fist refuses, Khan tries to sweeten the deal by exposing the treachery of Yu-Ti, who stands at the other side of the portal. But still Iron Fist refuses, instead destroying the mystical crystal Khan used to open his portal. Khan is sucked into the ensuing maelstrom despite Iron Fist’s attempt to save him.

Later, Iron Fist and Colleen reunite and head for Jeryn’s plane.

Continuity Notes: A footnote tells us that the events of last issue happened “only minutes ago”. That's a relief. I was afraid Khan had been prepping Iron Fist for execution for a full month or more.

Monday, July 27, 2015


Author: Chris Claremont | Artist: John Byrne | Inker: Frank Chiarmonte
Letterer & Colorist: Karen Mantlo | Editor: Marv Wolfman

The Plot: Iron Fist invades Master Khan’s citadel in Halwan and flashes back to how he wound up there: his father’s attorney, Jeryn Hogarth, got a lead on Khan and flew Iron Fist to his headquarters. Iron Fist bailed out of Hogarth’s plane to mount his assault.

Meanwhile, in K’un L’un, Yu-Ti watches Iron Fist through a mystical crystal. Lei Kung admonishes him for misusing the device, then obliquely accuses Yu-Ti of having his brother, Iron Fist’s father, killed.

Back in Halwan, Iron Fist finds the brainwashed Colleen Wing and duels her as Angar the Screamer uses his “mindstorm” power to confuse the Living Weapon. But Iron Fist is a match for Colleen and uses his power to mind-meld with her and knock her out. Master Kahn and his men enter the room and the weakened Iron Fist is grabbed. Khan orders his men to execute the hero.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Three trade paperbacks reached my doorstep this month, all from Marvel. First up is ANT-MAN: SCOTT LANG, a collection of stories I've wanted to read for some time. As many know, back in the seventies, Hank Pym had moved away from his Ant-Man identity to become Giant-Man, then Goliath, then ultimately Yellowjacket. Marvel brought Ant-Man back into circulation by giving the codename and costume to a new character, a former burglar named Scott Lang (and if anyone saw the new ANT-MAN movie that came out last weekend, this story should sound pretty familiar).

David Michelinie created Scott and wrote several early appearances for him, all collected in this volume, before moving him into IRON MAN as a supporting character during his legendary run with artist Bob Layton. Because of that, this book will, in a way, make a nice companion for the IRON MAN BY MICHELINE & LAYTON OMNIBUS.

Friday, July 24, 2015


Story: Ken Siu-Chong | Artwork: Omar Dogan | Lettering: Marshall Dillon
Chief of Operations: Erik Ko | Managing Editor: Matt Moylan

(Not to be confused with the beloved motion picture, STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN-LI.)

The first STREET FIGHTER LEGENDS mini-series was lighthearted and went for broad comedy across the board. But CHUN-LI takes a different route, playing pretty much entirely straight and reading like an action movie. The story is a prequel to everything we've covered thus far. We meet Chun-Li and her partner, Po Lin, as rookies on the Hong Kong police force. They stumble onto a plot by Shadaloo to steal several Terracotta Warrior statues on display at the local museum and, working with Chun-Li's father, Officer Dorai, thwart the plan.

The story is rife with guest stars from the STREET FIGHTER universe. Besides the obvious ones for a tale set in Hong Kong -- Fei Long and Gen -- we also see Sagat as the leader of the Shadaloo task force, as well as M. Bison and, on the story's final page, "Killer Bee" in cameo appearances.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Author: Chris Claremont | Artist: John Byrne | Inker: Frank Chiarmonte
Letterer: Joe Rosen | Colorist: Phil Rache | Editor: Marv Wolfman

Begin it on a roof-top in Central London -- in late Winter, in the night, in the cold.

Begin it in a side-street halfway between Paddington and Maida Vale, a street named Golladay Mews (made notorious by a string of unresolved vampire murders barely two years gone).

A run-down street, this -- a slum -- left to wither and die amid the hustle and bustle that is London!

Begin it on this street, and begin it with this man: Iron Fist, the Living Weapon. You.

Your quest has led you here -- all you have to do now is survive.

The Plot: Following a note from Hassan, the supposed traitor in the camp of Colleen Wing’s kidnappers, Iron Fist finds himself near the London rail yards. Changing to Danny Rand to avoid drawing attention to himself, he spots a young man being roughed up by a group of hoods. Danny helps fight them off, and their victim introduces himself as Alan Cavenaugh, formerly of the Irish Republican Army.

The duo enters the building where Iron Fist was to meet Hassan and finds him dead. His apparent murderers attack, and under cover of steam from the rail yard, Danny changes back to Iron Fist just in time to be assaulted by a mercenary named Scimitar. Iron Fist and Scimitar duel, and Alan is injured during the fight. Ultimately Iron Fist wins and escorts Alan to the hospital.

Meanwhile, in Halwan, Master Khan and Angar the Screamer have completed Colleen’s brainwashing. To test its success, Khan has Colleen kill a robotic Iron Fist dummy.

Monday, July 20, 2015


A tale of triumph and tragedy presented by:
Author: Chris Claremont | Artist: John Byrne | Inker: Frank Chiaramonte
Letterer: John Costanza | Colorist: Janice Cohen | Editor: Marv Wolfman

The place: An upper maintenance level of London’s General Post Office Tower

The people: On one hand, Iron Fist, the Living Weapon -- a man who has done his best this night, only to discover that a man’s best is sometimes not enough… and facing him, Radion, the Atomic Man, once called the Ravager. A man gone mad.

The time: One minute into one man’s private armageddon!

The Plot: Radion fights Iron Fist while Ward and Joy Meachum, along with a mystery guest, watch the BBC broadcast. In London, Iron Fist awakens after an explosion to find Radion gone. He recharges himself with his power then sees a video recorded by Radion prior to his transformation.

At the hospital, Misty attempts to depart and aid Iron Fist, but suffers a seizure. Meanwhile, Radion is atop the Post Office Tower, firing on the city below, when Iron Fist confronts him. They fight again, and Iron Fist lures the villain to a chamber he learned about in the video. Activating the chamber, Iron Fist transforms Radion back into his benevolent mortal self, Dr. Henri Sorel. Penitent over his crimes, Sorel dies in Iron Fist’s arms.

Continuity Notes: On page 2, Radion recaps the previous issue’s climax and also describes himself as a walking hydrogen bomb, which the Ravager armor kept in check.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


Some may recall that last year, I was a little underwhelmed by my Comic-Con experience. The trip was fun, but it was more in spite of the convention rather than because of it. This year, thankfully, things returned to form. Here's a recap of the trip by way of some of the tweets I sent out from the convention.

Preview Night: every year I'm unsure whether I want to do it. It costs extra and it's become practically as crowded as any other day of the show. But, given the amount of time spent standing in lines and attending panels throughout the con, Preview Night really is, as it always was, the best opportunity to tour the exhibit hall. And this year it was actually productive for me, as I came across a Japanese Transformer I wanted at a very reasonable price ("Combiner Wars" Superion, for those curious), which might have been scooped up by someone else if I hadn't been there. Nonetheless, I still wonder if it's worth it. Technically, for the price I paid for the Preview Night badge, I could've just had the toy shipped to me from overseas for the same ultimate price.

Friday, July 17, 2015


Story: Ken Siu-Chong | Artwork & Color: Jeffrey "Chamba" Cruz
Guest Artists: Arnold Tsang, Skottie Young, Chris Stevens, Kevin Yan, Mark Lee, Sven
Lettering: Marshall Dillon | Project Manager: Jim Zubkavich
Managing Editor: Marshall Dillon | UDON Chief: Erik Ko

The time has finally come for the Street Fighter Tournament, the event to which Ken Siu-Chong has been building since the first issue of the first STREET FIGHTER series. This tournament is based upon the original, beloved STREET FIGHTER II video game, and features all the same contestants (plus the additions from SUPER STREET FIGHTER II): Thunder Hawk, Cammy, Guile, Blanka, Dhalsim, Dee Jay, Ken, Zangief, Chun-Li, Fei Long, Ryu, and E. Honda, as well as the "bosses", Balrog, Vega, Sagat, and M. Bison.

Siu Chong groups the fighters into brackets and, after an opening speech from Bison, the action begins. T. Hawk is the first to go, defeated by Cammy. In short order, Blanka loses to Guile and Dhalsim defeats Dee Jay, freeing him from Bison's control (Dee Jay was captured by Shadaloo way back in the first series, rescued by Delta Red near its end, recaptured in the second series, and brainwashed in the third). Ken then defeats Zangief as the tournament's first day comes to an end.

But there's more happening on Shadaloo Island besides the Street Fighter Tournament. Cammy reveals to Guile and Chun-Li that she's only pretending to serve Bison, and helps the two concoct a plan to free Delta Red from captivity and take out Bison's protective force field. Meanwhile, Bison is troubled by Dhalsim's abilities and attempts to assassinate him between rounds, but Dhalsim defeats Bison's Dolls and withdraws from the tournament.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Author: Chris Claremont | Artist: John Byrne | Inker: Frank Chiaramonte
Letterer: Dave Hunt | Colorist: Don Warfield | Editor: Marv Wolfman

You are Iron Fist -- and you have come to London to save the life of a friend.

You may also have come here to die!

The Plot: An airliner carrying Danny Rand and Misty Knight is shot down as it descends over Heathrow Airport. Dany changes to Iron Fist and challenges the plane’s attacker, an armored man named the Ravager. But Ravager proves too powerful for Iron Fist and escapes.

Later, as Misty recovers at the hospital, Danny is spurred to put his quest for Colleen Wing on the back burner and search for the Ravager instead. He tracks the villain to London’s General Post Office Tower, where their rematch begins. But this time Iron Fist unleashes his full power, which destroys the Ravager’s armor and blows up the tower, apparently killing both of them.

Continuity Notes: Misty demonstrates super-strength twice during the airport crisis, and soon after it’s revealed that she has a bionic arm. The limb is damaged beyond repair, sidelining Misty for the rest of Iron Fist’s adventure.

Iron Fist uses tracking skills taught him by Lei Kung the Thunderer to find the Ravager. Later, as he scales the Post Office Tower, narration notes that he chooses the stairs over the elevator due to his experience in Harold Meachum’s office tower in MARVEL PREMIERE #17.

Monday, July 13, 2015


Author: Chris Claremont | Artist: John Byrne | Inker: Frank Chiarmonte
Letterer: Joe Rosen | Colorist: Michele Wolfman | Editor: Marv Wolfman

You are Iron Fist -- and you have failed.

Not a pleasant word, is it? But then, the truth is rarely pleasant.

And the truth here is that because of you, this man -- Lee Wing -- lies broken in body and spirit, his mind blasted by the full force of Angar’s minstorm! He is a shadow man now, a man who has no soul!

Because of you, his daughter, Colleen, is the prisoner -- the slave -- of some unknown foe who wants you dead.

Two friends, Iron Fist -- people who cared for you, believed in you, trusted you… and, in the end, needed you.

Two people you have failed.

The Plot: Iron Fist keeps vigil over Professor Wing, hospitalized since his encounter with Angar the Screamer. As he sits, Iron Fist flashes back to K’un L’un, when he learned that his friend, Conal, had taught a girl named Miranda the martial arts despite K’un L’un’s rules to the contrary. Conal and Miranda were arrested for this crime.

In the present, Colleen’s kidnappers deliver her to Master Khan in Halwan, who prepares plans to bait a trap for Iron Fist, using one of his own minions.

Iron Fist’s flashback continues as Conal and Miranda, sentenced to permanent mindwipes for their crime, flee K’un L’un. Iron Fist pursues. The group eventually finds themselves prisoners of a race of plant people called the H’ylthri. Iron Fist fights back against these creatures, but is unable to keep them from putting Conal and Miranda to sleep forever in their pods. The H’ylthri let Iron Fist live, however, and returns to K’un L’un.

Once more in the present, Iron Fist reveals that he's used his power to cure the psychological damage Angar inflicted on Professor Wing. Misty tells him that a lead on Colleen’s whereabouts has directed her to London, and Iron Fist agrees to come along.

Sunday, July 12, 2015


A well deserved, albeit long and meandering, tribute to the most ubiquitous musical motif in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

From my perspective, Marvel Studios doesn't have many failings so far. Not all their movies have been great (IRON MAN sequels, I’m looking at you), and yes, there are some things I think they could've implemented better -- but overall, even on the rare occasions they have a misfire, their output is generally still a lot of fun.

But there is one area where Marvel’s movies have mostly fallen very short in my estimation. I love strong recurring musical themes in my movies, especially across multiple films. Think of the STAR WARS or INDIANA JONES movies, the LORD OF THE RINGS and HOBBIT sagas, or the HARRY POTTER series. All these franchises feature numerous recognizable themes and motifs developed across all their installments.

Not so with the Marvel movies. IRON MAN 1, 2, and 3 all have completely different themes by three different composers for the main character. Likewise, THOR and THOR: THE DARK WORLD feature separate themes for the God of Thunder, as composed by two different men. AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON uses some of the main theme from the first AVENGERS film, but that’s a special case which we’ll get to shortly.

But somehow, through all of these, one character’s theme has stayed with him, popping up at least once in every one of the films featuring him: Captain America.

Friday, July 10, 2015


Story: Ken Siu-Chong | Artwork & Color: Jeffrey "Chamba" Cruz | Lettering: Marshall Dillon
Guest Artists: Arnold Tsang, Skottie Young, Chris Stevens, Kevin Yan, Mark Lee, Sven
Project Manager: Jim Zubkavich | Managing Editor: Marshall Dillon | UDON Chief: Erik Ko

At last it's time for the Street Fighter Tournament. STREET FIGHTER II TURBO presents UDON's take on the storyline of the classic STREET FIGHTER II video game. In that game, a mysterious organization called Shadaloo organized a tournament of "World Warriors" and set them against each other in single elimination format. At this point in UDON's storyline we already know plenty about Shadaloo, so there's no real mystery this time: Bison is holding the tournament so he can gauge the world's greatest fighters and eventually brainwash the best of them to serve him.

The volume's initial issues provide quick check-ins with the cast, and let us know just how long it's been since this whole thing started. According to Chun-Li, six months have passed since the start of UDON's first STREET FIGHTER volume. I'm not sure if I think that's too short or not. I generally like ultra-compressed timelines, but in this case a whole lot has happened, including Ryu traveling the world, and six months feels a bit short. But it doesn't not work, so I'm okay with it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


You are Iron Fist -- And this night you are breaking the law.

It’s called by many names -- surreptitious entry, breaking and entering, trespassing -- but the meanings are all the same. You are where you should not be.

You do not care.

For this night you hunt Colleen Wing’s kidnappers. And their trail has led you here -- to Stark International’s New York complex -- a trail left by dangerous, desperate men…

…A trail marked with blood.

Author: Chris Claremont | Artist: John Byrne | Inker: Al McWilliams
Letterer: Dave Hunt | Colorist: Janice Cohen | Editor: Marv Wolfman

The Plot: Iron Fist infiltrates Stark International’s New York complex in search of clues to Colleen’s whereabouts. As he sneaks around he bumps into Colleen’s partner, Misty Knight, also investigating the kidnapping. Misty leads Iron Fist to her Stark contact, security chief Don Cauley, but they find him dead. As Misty looks for clues in Stark’s mainframe computer, Iron Fist goes in search of Cauley’s killer.

An alarm alerts Tony Stark to the intruders in his facility, and he changes to Iron Man to go after Iron Fist. The duel of iron begins as elsewhere, Colleen’s kidnappers prepare to load her aboard a plane bound for parts unknown. Colleen nearly escapes her captors but is stopped by a mystery man with a tattoo similar to Iron Fist’s on his chest. The man turns Colleen back over to her kidnappers then goes on his way, making a phone call to Ward Meachum.

Back at the Stark complex, Irons Fist and Man fight it out until Misty breaks up their fight, having discovered that Don Cauley is alive after all. Cauley is part of a renegade faction within Stark working for Halwan, and he had drawn Misty to the facility to kill her. Iron Man apologizes to Iron Fist for the misunderstanding and the heroes part ways.

Monday, July 6, 2015


Writer: Chris Claremont | Artist: John Byrne | Inker: Al McWilliams
Letterer: Karen Mantlo | Colorist: Michele Wolfman | Editor: Len Wein

You are Iron Fist and this man is trying to kill you.

His name is Khumbala Bey and, until three days ago, he served as bodyguard to the princess Azir of Halwan, serving her as his family had served the Lion Throne of Halwan for over a thousand years.

And then, a stolen robotic nightmare called a Monstroid soared out of the Central Park sky and tried to take Azir’s life… and Khumbala Bey was nowhere to be found.

Azir would have died that afternoon, Iron First--had you not saved her. And, by saving her, shamed Khumbala Bey beyond redemption.

He would kill you for that now.

The Plot: At the Halwan embassy, Iron Fist is attacked by Princess Azir’s disgraced ex-bodyguard, Khumbala Bey. Their fight stops when Azir orders Bey to leave Iron Fist alone. She expresses her hope to see the Living Weapon again, then he departs the embassy with Lt. Rafael Scarfe. The duo drives to the Wing residence, where they find Professor Wing roughed up and hallucinating, babbling that Colleen is in danger.

Iron Fist and Scarfe travel to the office shared by Colleen and Misty, where they find two men posing as police abducting her. Fist and Scarfe pursue the kidnappers into a blind alley, where they run into Angar the Screamer, whose screams create vivid illusions. Iron Fist battles several illusory foes and unmasks the last one as Khumbala Bey. This allows him to break from Angar’s altered reality, but by the time he and Scarfe recover their senses, the kidnappers and Collen are gone.

Iron Fist prepares to kill Angar, but Scarfe stops him and reveals a clue: Angar’s ID card from Stark International.

Sunday, July 5, 2015


Just a quick note to mention that today I'm bound for sunny San Diego with plans to attend Comic-Con this Wednesday through Saturday (we will be driving home on Sunday). And this year, I'm thinking I might tweet a bit from the convention, just for fun. So if you haven't noticed the little "Follow" button off to the left, now might be the time to jump on it. In fact, here's a bigger one for you:

That said, I make no promises as to the quality or quantity of my tweets! I'm still new to actively tweeting, and I often forget to do it until the moment has long passed.

As always, the regularly scheduled IRON FIST and STREET FIGHTER posts will go up while I'm away, and I will once again try to compose a summary post a week or two after my return.

Saturday, July 4, 2015


What's this? A rare Saturday post? Yes, this could have easily gone up tomorrow, but given that today is the Fourth of July -- America's Independence Day -- I couldn't pass up the chance to post some pictures of my newest collectible acquisition.

But, as always, I'm going to spend some time to set the stage first. A few years back, EFX Collectibles announced they would be producing a line of prop replicas based on items from Marvel Films' productions. Among these items was Captain America's star-spangled shield.

Now I'm not a prop replica guy. I owned none until this one. I was never into "role-play" type toys as a kid, and I'm not really into them as an adult either. But there's something about Cap's shield -- it's not just a prop, it's a piece of art. So I was really excited at the prospect of owning it and mounting it on my wall.

Friday, July 3, 2015


Story: Ken Siu-Chong | Artwork: Omar Dogan | Lettering: Marshall Dillon
Chief of Operations: Erik Ko | Managing Editor: Matt Moylan

Note that I've made a slight change to my originally advertised order. I was unaware at the time I planned this all out that STREET FIGHTER LEGENDS: SAKURA was published more or less concurrently with STREET FIGHTER II and ties loosely into its events. Now, with that disclaimer out of the way...

STREET FIGHTER LEGENDS: SAKURA is the first in a trio of LEGENDS mini-series, all spotlighting female characters and drawn by Omar Dogan. It's interesting to me that UDON chooses to lead off with a mini spotlighting Sakura rather than the higher profile Chun-Li or Cammy. But Cammy's story is one of the major threads in the ongoing STREET FIGHTER comics, so it's likely there wasn't much that could've been done with her here that wouldn't have stepped on the ongoings' toes. And Chun-Li will spotlight the next mini-series, so her time isn't far off

But the question remains, if you're going to do a Chun-Li story, why not start with it? My best guess is that Sakura is completely sidelined from the main action in STREET FIGHTER II and UDON wanted to keep the character in circulation. Which works out fine, because this is a fun little series that never takes itself too seriously; something nice to see when compared with the STREET FIGHTER ongoings, where, for the most part, melodrama is the order of the day.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


You are Iron Fist, and in a moment, you will be fighting for your life.

You are calm now as you face your opponent and assume the cat stance. Your breathing is easy, your muscles loose, untense, your mind and body honed to a near-killing edge. Every sense -- every particle of your being -- is alive, aware… waiting

You are ready -- almost eager -- for battle. And this is right -- for are you not the Living Weapon? And is it not a weapon’s purpose to be used?

Strange thoughts these… Alien questions. The answers had always come so easily enough in K’un-Lun.

Not so on Earth. And the more you question, the more confused you become…

Enough of this foolishness! Today is not the time for questions. Today is for battle!

Author: Chris Claremont | Artist: Pat Broderick | Inker: Vinnie Colletta
Colorist: Phil Rache | Letterer: Karen Mantlo | Editor: Len Wein

The Plot: Iron Fist spars with Colleen Wing, then leaves to take a walk. Meanwhile, a group of terrorists infiltrates a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility and activates a robot called the Monstroid, sending it to kill Princess Azir of Halwan.

Later, Danny Rand stumbles across a softball game in Central Park between the NYPD and the staff of Marvel Comics. Danny joins Marvel’s team as the game proceeds, with Princess Azir incognito among the crowd of observers. The Monstroid arrives to kill Azir, taking out all the police in the process. Danny changes to Iron Fist and challenges the robot, ultimately defeating it.

Elsewhere, the leader of the terrorists is reprimanded by his employer, Master Khan, who makes plans to either enslave or kill Iron Fist.

Continuity Notes: According to a footnote, the Monstroid first appeared in MARVEL TEAM-UP #5.