I like to think I possess a pretty solid familiarity with the Marvel Universe. I’m sure no expert, but with close to 40 years of funnybook reading under my belt, I’ve picked up a few things, got to know a few characters, and generally know my away around the Marvel neighborhood. And yet Marvel Legends runs so deep that even Hasbro has summoned a few characters here and there that I know little about. Shang-Chi is one of those characters. Apart from running into him in Shadowland and Spider-Island, I wouldn’t know him hardly at all. And he’s getting his own MCU film. Wow.
Now if Shang-Chi is your boi, I’m not bashing him. I was surprised to see that he’s got a substantial number of books and appearances under his belt. I was also pleased to see that there’s a tie-in with Sax Rohmer’s old novels. Alls I’m saying is, I don’t really know the guy, but based on the package, I take it he’s The Master of Kung Fu. Cool. This is the third figure from the Demogoblin Wave that I’m opening, and I’m still thinking maybe I should have sat this wave out. The two GamerVerse Spider-Man figures turned out pretty nice, but I don’t know that I really needed them. And now here comes Shang-Chi. Well, let’s open him up.
There’s certainly not a whole lot to say about his costume. Shang-Chi’s got a pair of red trousers with orange and yellow ankle cuffs, a black belt around his waist, and other than that he’s just showing a whole lot of skin and muscle. The coloring on the pants is nice, the sculpted muscles look great, His nipples awkwardly get by on paint alone, rather than sculpt, and I think those are newly sculpted feet, but I wonder why they lack peg holes. He’s undoubtedly a nice looking figure, but I tend to think more generic martial artist or maybe GI JOE, more than I think Marvel Comics. But that’s just my own ignorance talking. Either way, I think Hasbro’s got about 90% of their GI JOE Classified Quick Kick figure right here.
The head sculpt is also quite nice. The definition in the facial features is sharp, and I dig his determined expression. A shouty head would have been nice for action poses, but what’s here is still plenty good. Of course, the most notable thing about the head sculpt is the wild headband that snakes off his head and blows in the wind. Now, I think this thing looks great, but I really think Hasbro should have made an option available where the headband isn’t quite so animated. Either a second one to peg into the back of the head or a whole different head. Maybe that’s asking a lot.
The articulation here is fantastic, and that’s pretty much required for a martial artist figure. Shang-Chi sports those wonderful shoulder crunches, which we usually see on Spider-Man figures. He also has regular rotating hinges in the shoulders, the elbows are double-hinged, the biceps have swivels, and the wrists are pegged hinges. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double-hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a waist swivel, an ab-crunch hinge under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball-jointed. All the joints feel nice and solid.
And as you’ve already seen in the pictures, Shang-Chi comes with a whole passel of hands. The last time I saw anything close to this many hands in a Legends release was back in the All-Father Wave and the white costumed Iron Fist. You get a pair of fists, a pair of chopping hands, a pair of accessory holding hands, a pair of “I’m gonna hit you with the palm of my” hands, and a pair of graspy hands. The assortment of hands here is no joke.
Shang also comes with a pair of nun-chuks. One is straight and the other has one chuck bent at a 90-degree angle. They have ornate gold ends and a sculpted gold chain. I’m not a huge fan of the plastic they used for the gold parts. It just looks kind of cheap. Also, I’m not sure how many times I’ll be able to flex the chain without it snapping. So far there haven’t been any stress marks, so that’s a good sign.
Going in to this review, I sure didn’t think I needed a Shang-Chi figure, but coming out of this review I’m happy to have one. Even with knowing next to nothing about this character, I can’t deny that this is an unbelievably fun figure to play around with. The articulation and extra hands go a long way, and I found him to be almost impossible to put down. He’s still standing on my desk so I can fiddle about with him on my downtime. After sucking down two contrived unlock-able suit video game Spider-Man figures, Shang-Chi turned out to be just the palate cleanser that I needed!
I love Master of Kung Fu. The Paul Gulacy drawn era in the 1980s was utterly gorgeous. It’s well worth checking out. Don’t like this figure much though. The headband seems to be tripping and where is his gi jacket? A shame. Apparently we’re getting a Shang-Chi film soon.
I’ll have to check out some of the 80’s stuff!