Publisher’s Summary: MIGHTY MARVEL MARTIAL ARTS DOUBLE TROUBLE! ALL NEW ONGOING SERIES! You saw him tear through Fire Goblins in WAR OF THE REALMS with his big, damn magic sword! Now learn the mysterious origins of LIN LIE, A.K.A. SWORD MASTER, Marvel’s newest Chinese superhero, in the English language debut of the original series written by Shuizhu and drawn by Gunji! Haunted by dreams of demons, Lin Lie hunts for his missing archeologist father – and for the secret of the black sword he left behind. And in a brand new story written by Greg Pak (NEW AGENTS OF ATLAS), Sword Master teams up with SHANG-CHI! What happens when an undisciplined, untrained kid with a magic sword tangles with the one and only, undisputed MASTER OF KUNG FU? (Spoiler alert: they will indeed drive each other crazy, with huge ramifications for the Marvel Universe!)
Sword Master (2019-) #1 is packed with two stories–one written by Shuizhu, and the other, Greg Pak–both of which offer impressive ‘introductions’ to new characters and conflicts. While the Shuizhu story focuses more on the origin of Lin Lie–Sword Master–Pak’s story, that picks up after the events of the War of the Realms event, also serves as a solid debut in that it quickly brings reader’s up to speed and establishes the plot.
Although the Shuizhu story isn’t new, per se, it certainly feels that way; from its pacing through to its artwork, Sword Master (2019-) #1 is refreshing. Immediately after being introduced to Lin Lie, I am eager to support his cause and venture with him into the unknown. Pak’s story features Sword Master teaming up with Shang-Chi, and already, in a short period of time, the inexperienced Lin Lie is learning from valuable lessons from his teacher. Thanks to the issue’s ending, I am eager to see what trouble Pak has in store for our heroes.
Visually, both stories are impressive. Gunji’s artwork stands out, as his highly-expressive, sharp-lined panels, that are more common in non-Western creative works, are unlike anything else that I’ve seen this week. It is clear that Ario Anindito is looking to pay homage to the Sword Master work that’s been done already, but not at the expense of his own creativity.
Packed with two solid stories that serve well as introductions, Sword Master (2019-) #1 is a highly-accessible, highly-entertaining read.