What…the…hell?!?! Let me just get that out of the way first. I was actually at a loss when I first saw the one shot Fear Itself tie in entitled ‘The Monkey King‘. For those who don’t know the Monkey King or Sun Wukong in eastern mythology is the main character in the epic novel ‘Journey to the West’ who traveled with the monk Xuanzang to retrieve Buddhist sutras from India (as well as inspired a number of anime characters such as Goku from Dragon Ball).
Now in the Marvel Universe apparently the legend of the Monkey King all happened and everything but during modern times there was a second person who shared the title of the Monkey King and that was a crime boss somewhere in China. A rival crime boss soon crosses the Monkey King and tricks the simian gangster into a trap where he was sent to the Eighth City (see Iron Fist lore). When the hammers began falling to Earth in the Fear Itself storyline the one which falls down to China and picked up by the Absorbing Man released the now reformed crime boss back into the world with all the powers of his namesake as the new handsome Monkey King.
The only way I can really describe this one is that it’s a mix bag. There’s a few hits and misses in here that’ll either have you clap for joy or scratching your head in confusion. As an origin book it’s great in the way it explains the character and his background. Basically this man used to be a pretty bad person but now gifted with the powers, skills, and abilities of the Monkey King he now seeks redemption for all the wrongs he committed in his past, a pretty basic anti hero story.
One of the things in this book that had me shaking my head was it being a Fear Itself tie in. Really now? Except for one panel (and a little one at that) there wasn’t anything else really related to the big Fear Itself storyline whatsoever. Seriously Marvel stop putting that on pretty much every new book released, it’s gotten past annoying now.
Overall if you’re a fan of Iron Fist or martial arts comics I would say pick this title up and check it out. It just might be worth your time.