Secret Avengers #08

"Eyes of the Dragon" (Part 3 of 5)

Creators:  Brubaker, Deodato, Beredo

Summary

John Steele and Max Fury are plotting; via exposition its made clear that John Steele is from WWII, and has unresolved memory issues. 

The Secret Avengers are in their QuinCarrier base, where they have been studying the history of Shang-Chi's father, his father's history and the legends surrounding him, and the Eyes of the Dragon.  Legend has it that Shang-Chi's father was one of the evil wizards who created the Eyes of the Dragon, and used it to kill his brother,.using the life energy to expand his own lifespan.  They postulate that Shang Chi's father has used the life forces of his scions and siblings for centuries to expand his lifespan. The Beast theoirizes that if the connection between Shang's father and legend hold, his father's name is Zheng Zu.

When they get news of Zheng Zu and his minions creating deadly havoc in downtown Hong Kong, they respond in force, with War Machine using an EMP pulse to keep their involvement covert.  They begin sweeping the street with the minions, and one of the minions blows their transport to smitherines.

...meanwhile, John Steele and Max Fury infiltrate the QuinCarrier, defeating the Beast and kidnap Sharon Carter.

The minions and Zheng Zu fade, and the Secret Avengers realize they've been decoyed, and return to find a groggy Beast.  A message from John Steele shows that they are willing to exchange Sharon Carter for Shang Chi - or Sharon Carter dies.

 

Commentary

I'm not a big fan of Deodato, but his style seems to work well with the superhero-noir vibe of the book.  Of course, IMO nobody does gritty noir like Ed Brubaker, and this book is right in line with that expectation.  While the summary makes the issue sound short and content-less, the story is very well done, and Deodato's pacing and fight scenes are dead on.

I missed the first two issues, so I'm not altogether sure what is going on, or who the Prince of Orphans is, but it is implied here that he has a long relationship with Steve Rogers, and knows who John Steele is.

John Steele may be the "soldier of fortune" who fought on the Allied side during WWII, and appeared in the Golden Age "Daring Mystery" anthology title (as well as the Fin and the Thunderer!).  In those appearances he had superhuman strength and durability, as well as a relentless nature.  All I know of the fellow was gleaned from Jess Nevin's site The Golden Age Heroes Directory.

I am glad that someone is finally undertaking to revise and bring the non-Marvel portions of the Shang Chi back ito canon; as Fu Manchu is not usuable for copyright issues, using the name Zheng Zu until the rights of the Rohmer estate lapse is close enough fro government work, esppecially since "Fu Manchu" is obviously a Western alias.

Sharon Carter was taken down pretty fast - I'd like to see Sharon step up and become Agent 13, and not some curvy version of Jarvis.  Heh.  I'm going to Hell for that comparison, I know it...  Still SHIELD had a whole bunch of things that Nick Fury has used; I think she'd look marvelous in a SHIELD Combat Suit (CA Vol. 1 #152 or so), for example.

I wish there was some good source for LMD technology; I read the Defenders run with Jake Fury and the Zodiac, and myriad others over the years.  I look forward to the Max Fury story as it unveils.

So, back to my LCS so that I can try and track down the back issues, and perhaps catch up!