Artist John Charles replaces Simon Williams on pencil, as we conclude the split-story begun in Marvel Heroes (UK Magazine) #24.
Spider-Man and Shang Chi waste another page fighting Lady Deathstrike's ninjas at the entrance to the New York Art Museum. Really, it's a wasted page. We've already had plenty of this in Part One, and this recap does nothing except squander one of the eight pages remaining. Good writers use pages wisely. This page was not wisely used.
Cut to inside the museum where Tony Stark is hosting an exclusive showing of the Terracotta Warriors. The super-villain Mandarin arrives, bearing the Bronze "Dragon Shield" of the emperor Qin. As you probably already guessed would occur, Mandarin uses the power of the shield to animate the army. Spider-Man and Shang Chi burst in and fight the army, but discover that when shattered, the pieces of the soldiers magically reform and renew the fight.
Even when Iron Man joins the battle, the heroes are still hard-pressed to find a strategy to defeat their indestructible foes, who are, meanwhile, stealing art works from the museum. I don't know why there is a modern art exhibition in the same room as the Terracotta Army. I'm just guessing the writer and/or artists don't get to visit major art exhibitions very often. In my experience, the curators work hard to provide supporting material which is thematically consistent with the primary display. Hey, that's just my 2 cents.
Anyhow, back to the problem at hand. Clearly fighting the soldiers is no good, so how...?
Oh, yeah. The prophecy. Spidey grabs the Bronze Phoenix Statue and brings it in contact with the Mandarin's Bronze Dragon Shield. The Phoenix and the Dragon fight, and the pair are neutralized.
Iron Man wraps things up with a good old fashioned punch to the Mandarin's jaw. End of Story.
Three questions then.
(1) What's the big deal that Deathstrike stole the Statue at exactly the same time that the Shield was stolen? Why would she go searching for the Statue until AFTER the Shield was stolen? Maybe there's a good explanation, but if you're going to add specific details to the story, they should at least be sensible explicit details!
(2) What was the Mandarin's plan anyhow? Was it to take over the world? If so, why steal modern art? If it was to steal modern art, why not simply wait until the gallery was unoccupied?
(3) Why would the Mandarin travel to New York to animate a dozen soldiers right in the heart of super-hero central? Right back home in Xi'an (in Shaanxi province of China) there are roughly 6,000 soldiers. He have an army five hundred times larger, and also get the time to understand their powers in piece and quiet.
Trite and formulaic, and littered with nonsensical elements. I'll confess, I pretty much suspected it was going to end this way. But I had to wait and see it for myself.