Monday, July 19, 2021


As presented in DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU Nos. 24, 26, & 27.

Story: Bill Mantlo | Art: Keith Giffen & The Tribe

Story: Bill Mantlo | Art: Jim Sherman & The Tribe

Story: Bill Mantlo | Art: Ron Wilson & The Tribe

The Plot: (DEADLY HANDS #24) White Tiger, Detective D'Angelo, Blackbyrd, and Awilda rush the injured Jack of Hearts to the hospital. While the doctors examine Jack, White Tiger reveals his true identity as Hector Ayala to the others. Meanwhile, Abe Brown awakens in a bedouin camp, to find Brillalae, the woman who switched suitcases with him in New York, tending to him. The bedouins also have the hijacker, Mole, captive, and they want Abe and Mole to fight over the costume inside the case. From a dune above, Mole's compatriots, Scratch and Table-Top, watch. Back in New York, Lin Sun and Lotus have been unable to reach Bob Diamond by phone, so they send him a telegram. But up in Canada, Bob has been buried by an avalanche during the filming of his movie. At the hospital, Jack of Hearts' power goes out of control until White Tiger calms him down -- but moments later, costumed men arrive, demanding that Jack be turned over to them.

(DEADLY HANDS #26) At the hospital, the White Tiger, Blackbyrd, and D'Angelo fight the newcomers, eventually defeating them. In Africa, Abe fights Mole, somehow catching a bullet from the criminal's gun. Mole falls into a pit of snakes and dies as Brillalae crowns Abe winner of the duel. In New York, Lin and Lotus recieve word that Bob was lost in an avalanche, while in Canada, Bob emerges from beneath the snow to find the film crew has departed, and he is alone in the wilderness.

(DEADLY HANDS #27) Searching the South Bronx for the mysterious "Tigre", White Tiger, D'Angelo, and Blackbyrd meet a girl named "Cheeky" playing handball at the local junior high school. The group then heads on to a bar, where they question the patrons and get into a fight that leaves nearly everyone dead, save our heroes and the bartender, Whitewash. While Blackbyrd and D'Angelo question Whitewash, White Tiger leaves the bar and bumps into Cheeky. She has a handball someone asked her to get autographed by the Tiger, but it explodes in her hands, killing her.

Continuity Notes: Issue 24 features several flashbacks to prior installments, as White Tiger explains his past to his allies, Blackbyrd explains the Sons of the Tiger to those present as well, and D'Angelo tells them about his team-up with Bob in issue 13.

Also in #24, we learn that Jack of Hearts' costume contains his power, and without it, he begins to "explode".

Issue 23 suggested that everyone aboard Abe's flight, aside from Abe, Mole, Table-Top, and Scratch, was killed. This issue, Abe gives a number: 278 dead thanks to the villains trying to take Brillalae's suitcase from Abe.

Whitewash, the bartender in issue 26's story, was also tending bar previously when the Sons of the Tiger and Iron Fist battled Snake-Eyes a few issues back.

Hector's brother, Filippo, comes home in issue 26 -- passing out before his mother and Awilda as soon as he walks in the door.

I suggested last week that the parallel stories of the Sons and the White Tiger are not taking place simultaneously, but issues 24 and 25 seem conflicted on whether that's actually the case. We're told in #24 that Abe was unconscious in the bedouin camp for two days, but in issue 25, D'Angelo says that Hector has been a super hero for only "forty-eight hours" -- which, in case you can't do the math, is two days. So if Hector became White Tiger two days ago, and Abe spent two days sleeping after the plane crash, but Hector seemed to find the amulets and transform into White Tiger for the first time on the same day the Sons disbanded -- after which Abe had time to borrow money from Blackbyrd, pack, board a plane, fly to Africa, and wander the desert for a little while before being caught by the bedouins -- how does any of this add up?

My Thoughts: You may have noticed several new names on penciling duties up above (which actually started last week when Keith Giffen and Gil Kane popped up). Per a weirdly long and detailed explanation column by editor Archie Goodwin in issue 25, George Pérez was forced to depart the Sons of the Tiger/White Tiger serial due to his increasing assignments on Marvel's color comics -- but feat not, Goodwin assures us, because that has all been cleared up already, and Pérez will return to the series before long. Don't hold your breath, though, because as near as I can tell, Pérez pencils one single "Sons" story before DEADLY HANDS' cancellation in another six issues.

Speaking of six issues remaining -- from what I can see, the Sons of the Tiger serial only runs in four of them. I'm beginning to think all these various plot threads won't be wrapped up in DEADLY HANDS before its cancellation! Which is a shame, because Mantlo is clearly setting up some kind of payoff. For years, I had thought that the White Tiger supplanted the Sons in their own series, but it turns out that was never the case. I have a pretty strong feeling that Mantlo's original intention was to reunite the Sons and possibly put them into conflict with the White Tiger. Why? Well, we'll get into that a bit more next week.

As for this week's stories -- well, as can be gleaned from above, I generally really like it. The soap opera angst in White Tiger's life is great, while Abe's adventures in Africa remain my favorite thread in these ongoing stories. I only wish Bob's storyline was moving a bit faster, and that Lin and Lotus were doing something more than reiterating every issue that they miss Abe and Bob. Unfortunately, it appears Mantlo is more interested in telling the White Tiger's story than in checking in regularly with the Sons, since Abe, who gets the most page-time of all the Sons in these stories, only gets a few pages in each installment dedicated to his adventures, while Bob, Lotus, and Lin are allotted merely a couple panels. And that's when any of them actually show up! Issue 26 skips the Sons entirely, dedicating its entire tale to the White Tiger, Blackbyrd, and D'Angelo.

Anyway -- it's not that the White Tiger stuff is bad. Like I said, I enjoy it. I just like the Sons more!

Next week, it's our penultimate look at these DEADLY HANDS adventures, as our various plot threads continue in three non-consecutive issues.


  1. I wrote my comment on your previous post about Pérez’s other commitments before reading the editorial in #25 and this post of yours. That was indeed a surprisingly detailed explanation, although being prone to such beasts myself I shan’t condemn it. Speaking of #25, by the way, I believe you have the issue synopses mis-numbered.

    1. Ulp! You're right. I'll fix those numbers. Thanks!