By Jim Beard
Kung fu's more than just a martial art—to some it's a way of life. To Wolverine, it's common ground to stand on in a battle against the dark underworld itself.
Writer Jason Aaron has crafted a unique locale in the San Franciscan Chinatown of the Marvel Universe, but when WOLVERINE: MANIFEST DESTINY #4 hits the streets on January 28 the whole shebang just might come a'tumblin' down.
"It's Logan realizing that he's got some old business in Chinatown that's gonna have to be sorted out if he's gonna be able to relocate to San Fran with the X-Men," says
Aaron of the limited series' conclusion. "As issue #4 opens, he's in the thick of sorting it out, by facing down an entire army of gun-toting thugs and the four super-powered warriors of the Black Dragon Death Squad, who almost ended Logan once and for all the last time they fought."
Marvel's martial arts characters represent an irresistible attraction to Aaron, one he spreads like wildfire to his readers. WOLVERINE: MANIFEST DESTINY #4 features some of his most favorite: the high-kicking, bad guy-chopping Sons of the Tiger.
"I first saw the Sons of the Tiger in the old DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU magazine, where they first appeared," he explains. "I still love those magazines, all filled with Shang-Chi or Iron Fist stories and tons articles about martial arts films and paperbacks. There's even a David Carradine cover by Neal Adams, for god's sake.
"The Sons of the Tiger were a blatantly obvious way of capitalizing on the huge popularity of Bruce Lee's last film, 'Enter the Dragon,' but I loved them nonetheless. They've been missing from the Marvel Universe for too long."
Not only do the Sons of the Tiger reappear, but actually reunite after having long ago put their shared adventures behind them and gone their separate ways.
"So far we've just seen two of them, Abe Brown and Lin Sun, but in issue #4 look for the third and final member, Bob Diamond, to pop up as well," Aaron reveals. "The Sons of the Tiger, reunited at last! I just got a little chill."
Doing their own thing but witnessing events too strong to turn away from, the Sons' opinion of Wolverine's presence can only bring yet another level of difficulty to the proceedings.
"Abe Brown and Lin Sun have been running a martial arts school in Chinatown," Aaron notes. "Bob Diamond has been off making movies. They all begrudgingly respect Logan, but still don't think he should be meddling in Chinatown business. In issue #4 though, the Sons realize they can't just sit on the sidelines anymore. It's time to get back into action."
Logan's fans should know that WOLVERINE: MANIFEST DESTINY #4 won't be completely dominated by his co-stars—there's more than enough Wolverine action to go around. And Aaron's keen on one particular aspect of that action.
"Wolverine's rematch with the Black Dragon Death Squad, especially Soulstriker, the fellow who can punch you in the soul," he cites as a high point. "Wolverine's hungry for some revenge against those guys."
Above and beyond that, the writer's happy to have added to the X-Men saga and that of the Sons of the Tiger.
"With the big comeback that Luke Cage and Iron Fist have both made over the years, as well as the White Tiger, it just seemed time for the Sons of the Tiger to make their returns as well," states Aaron. "It's also me getting the most out of all those hours I spent as a kid in the 70s watching kung fu movies."
Face it, Tiger – with WOLVERINE: MANIFEST DESTINY #4, out January 28 courtesy of Aaron and artist Stephen Segovia, you just hit the Kung Fun jackpot!
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