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"It is simple, Chan Sen. You can kill me and avenge your master, or you can listen to me and surpass him."
A man seeks vengeance for the death of his master, Xu Li. The murderer, Liu Wong, offers him some tea and an explanation for his actions. This provides a Framing Device for the true story, of how Wong got to the level he's at today.
Notable for a consistently strong art style and dead-serious writing on-par with the greatest Kung Fu epics. You can find it here.
This comic gives examples of:
- Action Girl: Fang Lin establishes herself as one in the first two frames she appears in.
- All Your Powers Combined: Wong's father's style is called the Divine Fist of the Unconquerable Sky, which is an amalgamation of all the styles he has fought against/witnessed.
- Amazonian Beauty: Fang Lin again. She's definitely a sturdy girl.
- Arrogant Kung Fu Guy: Definitely Master Fei and it looks like Sen is headed this way.
- Art Evolution: The series starts out in monochrome, and shifts to color after the first chapter.
- Avenging the Villain: Chan Sen, Xu Li's apprentice.
- Badass Boast: Prior to the series' first Curb Stomp Battle, one of the opponents taunts Master Fei about how long it's been since anyone heard of him fighting. After the fight, Master Fei explains why.
Master Fei: "It's been ten years since anyone spoke of my fights because no one has walked away from them in that time."
- Also Liu Feng is said to have described his kung-fu style as simply "I don't know what it's like to hit a man twice."
- And then there is the Tiger Knuckle School...
- Badass Grandpa: Present Wong is this. The first Story Arc is how he becomes this.
- Zhang, going by the streaks in his Badass Beard,.
- Bald of Awesome: Master Fei. Some would call it a Bald of Evil, but he's more of a Jerkass than outright evil.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Wong and Fang Lin.
- The Big Guy: Zhang.
- Blood Knight: Zhang.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Zhang.
- Bold Inflation
- Bond One-Liner:
Liu Wong: No, you should let me pass too.
Wong: You knew my father???
Fang Lin: Do let me know if this kung-fu fight interrupts your playtime.
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: The three factions vying for control over Xiao Chengzheng wear brown, yellow and blue, respectively.
- Contrived Coincidence: Wong and Lin are talking about the three factions that want to get a hold of the governor's imperial seal so they can rule the region. Then, in the middle of the conversation, Wong just happens to pull the seal out of a well when he goes to get a drink. Then, while he's examining it, who shows up? The bandits Wong had fought twice before, who just happen to belong to one of the factions.
- Curb Stomp Battle: Fei's fight against Ji Jiao and Ji Bao.
- And if Fei isn't exaggerating, then Liu Feng's entire career was nothing but this. When you can say "I don't know what it's like to hit a man twice" and have that taken seriously, you're a guy who has kicked a lot of asses with very little effort.
- Meet Zhang.
- Cynical Mentor: Master Fei views Wong as more of an annoyance than anything else.
- Dumb Muscle: Zhang doesn't quite grasp the concept of sarcasm.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The first chapter.
- Does Not Understand Sarcasm: Zhang is very literal-minded.
- Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: It's Wuxia, what do you expect?
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The story is the tale of how Wong killed Chan Sen's master, told in flashback by Wong to Chan Sen.
- Fragile Speedster: Word of God states that Wong is a speed fighter while Fang Lin relies on her physical strength more than speed.
- Genocide Backfire: Xu Li, fearing the fighting style of Wong's father, killed him and attempted to do the same to his son, even though the former took his secrets to his grave and the latter was completely ignorant of his legacy. Guess what drives Wong to learn Kung Fu now?
- Genre Savvy: Chan Sen. Mildly. When Wong asks him to sit and listen, Chan Sen does. Someone's been reading Discworld.
- Good Is Not Nice: Master Fei, along with the rest of the Five Dragons, dedicated his life to protecting those who couldn't fight for themselves. He's also an utter badass and an arrogant dick with a Hair-Trigger Temper.
- Grail in the Garbage: Liu Wong pulls the governor's seal - which will grant its bearer a claim to rule the region - out of a random well when he goes to get a drink.
- How We Got Here: The premise of most of the strip so far.
- Hard Work Montage: One strip covers 29 days of running to get in shape.
- Humiliation Conga: Wong's welcome at the Tiger Knuckle School. He arrives boasting to the headmistress about how he's a master of the Five Mantis Fists, then contemptuously dismisses the school's most accomplished student because she's a girl. He proceeds to get his ass kicked by every single student, one by one. In descending order of their skill. In old-age retrospect, he decides it was a humiliation he sorely needed.
- Invulnerable Knuckles: Averted. A bandit's knuckles are shown to be reddened when he punches Wong, though this may be a previous injury.
- Jerkass: Master Fei. Whether he turns out to have a heart of gold or just a heart of soul-crunching punches is still to be decided.
- MacGuffin: The Imperial Seal, which all three faction leaders in the civil war need to be officially rule the province. Wong, having little to no knowledge of the surrounding situation, finds it accidentally.
- Mighty Glacier: Zhang, of Meng Qi's merry little band. The man is huge. And apparently can't keep up with the gang when they're off running to rescue Fang Lin.
- Mixed Martial Arts: The Divine Fist of the Unconquerable Sky, the style of Wong's deceased father, sounds like it's this. Wong's task in life is to recreate it since Dad took the secrets to his grave.
- Nostalgic Narrator: The title should have tipped you off.
- Oh Crap: Master Fei guards his family Kung Fu secrets jealously. Wong begins practicing them in secret. When Master Fei later strikes at Wong for clumsiness, the latter reflexively uses a very recognizable block.
- One-Man Army: Zhang. Complete with lampshade hanging.
- Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: Fang Lin and Wong run into a bunch of bandits/
Fang Lin: I'll take the ugly one.
- And later...
Meng Qi: Brother Zhang, our "Papers".
- Promotion to Parent: Po serves as Wong's parental figure after his parents are killed.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: Wong fights the same group of five bandits three times, with radically different outcomes. The forumgoers complained that it was unrealistic when the same guy knocked five bandits out singlehandedly and was trounced in their next two fights. However, this is how it can happen in real life. The main variable was the element of surprise, which is very often decisive in any battle.
- Rule of Cool: Established from the get-go.
- Slasher Smile: "Brother Zhang, our 'Papers'."
- Schedule Slip: A few changes and interruptions have occurred within the schedule, partly due to other commitments and partly due to trying to find a schedule which worked for them. The Dreadful was actually created so the fans could read something else by Matt Speroni while waiting for HIKYM updates.
- Scheherezade Gambit: Wong does this to Chan Sen, providing the basis for the Whole-Episode Flashback.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: Wong and Lin again.
Wong: We're not together or anything. It's important that you don't imply that.
- Shout-Out / Take That: "This isn't goofing off-- THIS is goofing off!" (Wong performs a Shoryuken.)
- The title is also a reference to How I Met Your Mother, with the whole flashback narrative going-on.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Oafs. I am surrounded... by oafs!
- Troperiffic: Proudly, as per one half of the writing team's Signature Style. Just look at all the Badass and Evil tropes Master Fei embodies, fer cryin' out loud.
- Title Drop
- What Kept You?: Wong and the rescue party learns that a hundred brick walls are as one to a Tiger Knuckle disciple.
- Whole-Episode Flashback
Brian Clevinger: Think of it as a kung fu movie. But a comic.