This week marks the release of Great Ten, the 10-issue mini-series by writer Tony Bedard and artist Scott McDaniel about DC's team of superheroes from China.
So today, we shine the final spotlight on four of the characters who make up the Chinese super-team, a group of 10 characters created by Grant Morrison during the year-long weekly series 52.
As a primer on just who's who in the Great Ten and what all those literally translated names mean, Newsarama finishes up our series of "re-introductions" to these characters by taking a look at Seven Deadly Brothers, Shaolin Robot, Mother of Champions and Red Socialist Guardian.
Seven Deadly Brothers
Power: The character's abilities are described by his code name – he has the power to divide himself into seven separate martial artists.
What Makes This Character Unique: "Seven Deadly Brothers is the kung fu hero of the Great Ten," Bedard explained. "He is a man who can split up into seven martial arts masters, each the consummate practitioner of a different school of kung fu. In Hong Kong he's a big celebrity, but people might not be so adoring if they knew certain secrets about his past and how he gained his unusual power."
His personality: "He's a jolly Jackie Chan type," Bedard said. "But when he splits into seven, each has a personality appropriate to his style of kung fu."
What Part the Character Plays in the Great Ten miniseries: "Seven Deadly Brothers gets his moment in the spotlight when the Great Ten take on the ancient gods in Hong Kong," Bedard said. "He must help the Great Ten's other Hong Kong-based hero, Ghost Fox Killer, to expose where the gods are hiding. They must also confront an army of local gangsters who are helping the gods (and figure out why the crooks threw in with the ancient deities). We're going for a John Woo feel with Seven Deadly Brothers' chapter in our saga."
Added info from Tony Bedard: "I always loved kung fu flicks like The Five Deadly Venoms that pit different schools of fighting against each other. I'm hoping to evoke some of that feel in this chapter of the Great Ten saga."
Power: An armored robot with powers of Shaolin martial arts.
What Makes the Character Unique: "Shaolin Robot is an ancient automaton, part of a small army of robots created to guard the 500 year-old tomb of a Chinese emperor," Bedard said. "Since his awakening, he has been updated and modernized, from his original clay soldier look to his current robotic look."
His Personality: "In some ways, Shaolin Robot has the least personality of anyone in the Great Ten, and yet his strange operating system, rooted in the endless variations of the I-Ching, allows him to deal with any situation and all the complexities of human nature," Bedard explained. "He's a bit of a paradox: a soulless machine that carries within it one of the greatest sources of human wisdom."
What Part the Character Plays in the Great Ten mini-series: "The master plan threatening the Communist government goes far beyond the return of the ancient Chinese Gods," the writer said. "It also includes a gathering threat in the Gobi Desert, and Shaolin Robot will be a big part of combating that hidden threat."
Added info from Tony Bedard: "Shaolin Robot started out as part of a robot force that attacked Beijing, trying to restore imperial rule. How he'll react to the gods' campaign against the Communists remains to be seen."
Mother of Champions
Real Name: Niang Guan Jun.
Power: Mother of Champions gives birth to babies that are super-powered, yet short-lived.
What Makes the Character Unique: "Mother of Champions is a rather hair-raising concept," Bedard explained. "She can give birth to, as Grant Morrison put it, 'a 25-strong litter of genetically-identical supermen, each with a lifespan of one week. These soldiers age 10 years in every 24 hours. An endless supply of cannon fodder can thus be created. Mother of Heroes can smuggle armies in her belly, like a living Trojan Horse.'"
Her Personality: "Mother of Champions is silent and aloof, which is ironic because her super-power requires an act of intimacy," Bedard said. "She is fully committed to her role, willingly sacrificing her own children for her beloved country. She embodies the capacity for self-sacrifice that makes her people indomitable. But the question is: is Mother of Champions really just in super-denial? Has she reached an emotional equivocation just to avoid the emotional trauma of birthing super-people doomed to die within a week?"
What Part The Character Plays in the Great Ten mini-series: "Red Socialist Guardsman has gone missing, and only Mother of Champions has the proper temperament to bring him back into the fight before it's too late," Bedard said.
Added info from Tony Bedard: "As a father, I'm fascinated by this character's grotesque power. I want to explore what kind of mindset it would take to do what she does. And she doesn't just spontaneously generate these offspring, she needs to be, er, 'fertilized.' Makes me think of the old quote about 'lay back and think of England.'"
Red Socialist Guardsman
Real Name: Gu Lao.
Power: Red Socialist Guardsman has solar powers that make him highly radioactive, which requires him to wear a special containment suit.
What Makes the Character Unique: "Red Socialist Guardsman was irradiated by an accident that turned him into the most radioactive object on Earth," Bedard said. "He's forced to wear an exoskeletal containment suit, opening it only when he wants to blast a foe with his power. He's one of the original Chinese super-soldiers, alongside August General in Iron. The two are an interesting pair: both made monstrous and isolated by their powers. But they went very different ways over the years."
His Personality: "Red Socialist Guardsman is bitter and disillusioned," Bedard explained. "Not only did he get a sucky power, but his country is definitely not turning into the communist utopia he signed on for."
What Part The Character Plays in the Great Ten mini-series: "Having retreated to the remote, barren stretches of the Gobi, Red Socialist Guardsman is pretty much living like a hermit when he realizes he's in the perfect position to do something about this latest threat to Beijing," the writer said. "The big question is whether or not he wants to save the current crowd in Beijing."
Added info from Tony Bedard: "Thank you for checking out Great Ten #1!"