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Sunday, 2 July 2017

Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter 4 - Richard goes to school

Ric Estrada and Wally Wood join Denny O'Neil as he brings the first storyline to an end in Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter 4 (Oct/Nov 75). I may not have been terribly impressed with it overall, but a four issue introductory story arc was quite the rarity for the time.

The chapter opens with Ben Turner, still on crutches, being attacked by some men he does not know. Richard Dragon shows up in time to stop them from killing his friend, and explains that the men are working for the Swiss, who has captured Carolyn.

Barley Ling shows up at that point. It turns out that he, too, has been hired to bring down the Swiss, so asks Richard for his help. It's a bit of a no brainer, since Richard wanted to find him anyway.

Ling tells Richard that the Swiss recruits his operatives through a martial arts school that he runs. Richard goes an enlists at the school. He is recognized right away, and the best fighters there try to kill him, and fail. The Swiss is also at the school, with Carolyn, and flees before Richard can catch him.

There is a big chase scene, and the Swiss kills Carolyn hoping that will stop Richard's pursuit. She dies in his arms, proclaiming that she might have fallen in love with him, which is kind of strange, when you consider that they really didn't have much interaction before she was kidnapped. Her death does not deter Richard at all. It makes him turn pale and swell up, though.

The Swiss has poisoned needles, and tries to use those to kill Richard when the hero catches up to him. Richard grabs all the needles out of the air, and then kills the Swiss.

That does conclude the story, although one is left without explanations about quite a few things. I like to think the book made the backstory clearer, and that was sacrificed for fight scenes in the comic.

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