Marvel's martial artists are facing off, and what better place than something called Battleworld?
Tying in with Secret Wars, this May Marvel is releasing a Master of Kung Fu miniseries featuring Shang-Chi and a cast of Marvel alums fighting in the land of all that's left of K'un Lun reports ComicVine. Haden Blackman and Dalibor Talaji? are creating this miniseries, and it comes from the writer's long love of martial arts story and cross-continuity capers at Marvel.
"After we knew that Elektra would end with Issue 11, editor Sana Amanat asked me if I'd be interested in doing another project at Marvel, and pitched me on a martial arts themed book as part of Secret Wars," Blackman says. "I've always loved the notion of the "multiverse," and the ways in which familiar characters can be re-envisioned -- as a kid, I consumed What If...?; Exiles remains one of my favorite series; and I still go back to reread Avengers Forever just for the battle at the end that incorporates hundreds of Avengers from multiple times and realities. There was no way I was going to pass up an opportunity to flesh out a new corner of the Marvel universe revolving around martial arts and the supernatural.?"
Although Shang-Chi is best known as Marvel's Master of Kung Fu, the title features Blackman's Elektra, Kitty Pryde, Lockheed, as well as Typhoid Mary and K'un Lun's most popular champion Danny Rand, a.k.a. Iron Fist. Blackman says the K'un Lun of Battleworld shares similiarities with its pre-Secret Wars incarnation, but with some changes.
"Life in K'un-Lun revolves around martial arts, and specifically the many different schools that train the populace, each of which focuses on different techniques," says the writer. "Mastering these techniques provides a wide range of powers and abilities -- from something familiar, like Iron Fist's ability to focus his chi to empower his attacks, to intangibility and even shape-shifting."
Speaking of shifting, the Battleworld status quo has shifted around some elements of Shang-Chi's origin -- and his drinking habits.
"In many ways, Shang-Chi will be familiar -- he is the son of a great master, but has a very different moral compass than his father. Accused of murdering a master, Shang-Chi has been exiled from his father's school," says Blackman. "In this world, anyone who is not affiliated with a school, who is not training to reach the peak of his or her abilities, is considered an outcast, the lowest caste in society. With nothing left to give him purpose, Shang-Chi has become a vagrant and a drunk.?"