Review: Giant-Size Kung Fu Bible Stories

With a name like Giant-Size Kung Fu Bible Stories I’m sure you’re wondering what exactly you’re getting with this comic aside from a crazy title. Well, it’s an anthology by a lot of talented comic book creators and even a pretty famous animator. You may know him from such series as Batman: The Animated Series… that’s right Bruce Timm (who has done other comic book work in the past) has a story in this anthology. Before I talk about the stories I’m going to tell you something up front. I reviewed a digital copy of this book. The actual cost of the print copy is $20 bucks. Listen… I really liked the stories inside, but I would have to see the quality of the print version before I recommended anyone to buy it and so for that reason I’m not going to score this book. It’s not realistic of me to say, “Yeah buy it” without actually seeing it myself first. Even then… I just don’t know about it. Seven stories and a handful of pin-ups from Arthur Adams, it’s about $2.50 per a story.

Maybe talking about some of the stories will help make up your mind.

The first story and definitely either the best or tied for it is, “Secret Crisis on Ultimate Earth” by Bruce Timm. It’s a spoof on big event crossovers from the “Big Two”, but it’s actually rich with comic history. The art is of course fantastic because it’s Bruce Timm. It’s a great big potshot at the comic industry and it really will make any comic fan grin.

The second story is an Empowered story from Adam Warren. Warren puts a ton of time and love into the art on this story making it one of the best looking Empowered stories he’s ever produced. The story itself just follows Emp and Ninjette.

KungFuBibleStories_CoverI wasn’t a fan of “Astronmus” by Tom Scioli. I’m just going to leave it there because with Scioli’s stuff there’s really two camps: People who love it and those that do not. I’m in the latter and that’s all there is too it. He has a second story “8-Opus: Destroyer of Worlds” which I felt the same way about.

Ryan Ottley’s “Snowman Slaughter” was a nice surprise. It was very funny and looked great. It starts off with this husky and homely looking kid finding out that his snowman has been destroyed. He thinks he knows who the culprit is and it’s the rich kid in his class. He goes to school and clocks the kid right in the jaw. It only gets better from there and again the art is some of Ottley’s best.

Erik Larsen’s “Jack Champion” was an awesome blend of sci-fi, thriller and the superhero genre. I’m actually not going to tell you the details at all for this one because every panel factors into the experience of the story. It really came across as the first issue of a comic rather than just a one-off story, but I don’t know if Larsen has time for two monthlies unless he has someone else do the artwork.

The last story is from Andy Kuhn and it’s, “Frankenstein of Mars.” I’m really not big on stories that take “x” character archetype and place them on Mars. They all come across about the same and there’s no exception here. The only part I liked was when Frankenstein gave himself a new name, but then he called himself Frankenstein and that ruined it.

This is an incredible collection of art for the most part. Damn near all of the stories are well-written and could easily stand on their own as a one-shot or in some cases as an ongoing or mini-series. When it’s all said and done though that price tag really nags at me. Again, I really like this book overall, but I wasn’t in love with it. For the most part they were just fun little stories that could have easily found homes in Dark Horse Presents or just as a monthly mini-series. If you’re a die-hard you probably already have it and if not then you might wait for it to hit the bookstore market and be sold at a discount.

Creators: Bruce Timm, Adam Warren, Arthur Adams, Tom Scioli, Ryan Ottley, Erik Larsen, Andy Kuhn Editors: Erik Larsen & Bruce Timm Publisher: Image Comics Price: $20.00 Release Date: 9/3/14