The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu: Spider Island Review

Anyone under the age of 35 likely has no clue who Shang-Chi is, or even that Deadly Hands of Kung Fu was born and buried before they were even a glimpse in their father’s eye.  That said, he is a bit of history, for September’s reappearance of Chi.

Fittingly this fall will celebrate the 71st birthday of Bruce Lee, it is also the return of Deadly Hands of Kung Fu a character that Bruce Lee himself inspired.  In 1974 Marvel launched a comic in the midst of the martial arts craze of the 70s and 80s, though the 80s seemed more of a ninja crazy.  Spread out over a decade Shang-Chi was featured in 100 issues, not a great deal compared to the thousands Batman, Superman and Spiderman have seen, but impressive that he did this without superpowers bestowed by a radioactive bite or a yellow sun.

The original run of DHoKF featured ads for films and direct influence and mentions of Bruce Lee as he was the inspiration for the series following his death.  The series also gave us The Immortal Fist a character rising along with Shang-Chi but still prominent in the Marvel Universe in series and special appearances.


As the infected bed bugs infect New York and spider-powered thugs take their new-found abilities to the streets to capitalize on the weak a small army of heroes are fighting the mass of villains and people who look to do wrong in the Big Apple.

Awoken from nightmares Shang-Chi questions Madame Web the origins of his dreams and their interpretation.  If you could ever leave a conversation being more confused and in the dark before it began, this is one of those experiences.  From his ledge he can see Iron Fist cleaning house of the local thugs causing havoc in their neighborhood.  Also looking on is Peter Parker, in jeans not his hero pj’s, who Chi question his safety around so many punk-spiders… if he only knew.

Chi leaps into the fray to help his longtime ally fighting and still dissecting the Madame’s riddle, “A man who is not a man and a spider who is not a spider.”  He and Fist take care of the enemies without pause, only to have a bigger fish spring from the pond of chaos, Bride of Nine Spiders.  A woman much like Iron Fist with skills and abilities.  She and Fist head for the rooftops, only for her to attack and lay Fist into a cocoon.  After some fighting and a cliffhanger Nine Spiders leaves Chi for the rats and takes Fist to who knows where.

Chi awakes under the watchful eye of Silver Sable who learns two things: Kung Fu Masters enjoy Fleetwood Mac, and that they do not own cats, cats enjoy their company and come and go as they please.  After learning the fate of his fight and that Manhattan was now under quarantine, Shang also learns of Spiders possible location in NYC.

After finding and confronting Nine Spiders, Shang-Chi frees Iron Fist and they together defeat Spiders, then learn of Spiders reasoning for her odd behavior.  Ai Apaec, the half man-half spider the Madame prophecized had her under his spell, a gift from the Queen.

How does a kung fu master fight a massive spider with eight legs?  Six arms of fury!

With the help of the Immortal Weapons, Shang-Chi and his friends fight off the soldier of the Queen and take back a little part of the City.

Seeing a great character like Shang-Chi was nostalgic, and a great homage to Bruce Lee and the pioneers of Kung Fu cinema.  Over at my personal blog, like every November I am going all Bruce Lee content for the month of November in honor of his birth month.  Join me at to share articles, reviews and media about the only true master.

About Not Clark Kent

Geek, lover of Baseball, avid comic reader, Bruce Lee fan, follower of Jesus and last but Never least Dad and Husband. View all posts by Not Clark Kent

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