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These Are Shang-Chi's Biggest Foes

Marvel Comics' very own master of kung fu will be facing off against a number of villains in "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," his MCU debut slated for September of 2021. To fans of the character's comic exploits, these names will ring familiar.

Modeled after Bruce Lee, in the comics Shang-Chi is the son of an international supervillain who rebels against his evil father and devotes his mastery of the art of kung fu to dismantling his father's criminal empire forever. 

Though the martial artist is nowhere near as famous as the many characters he will be joining in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Shang-Chi still has a surprisingly large gallery of villains for this movie and (fingers crossed) its sequels to pull from. 

Attempting to capitalize on the 1970s' explosive embrace of kung fu movies, Shang-Chi's villains were typically other martial artists who were equipped with some special gimmick or unique weapon that made them a unique challenge for the master of kung fu. They may not be anywhere near as famous as Thanos or the Red Skull, but here's hoping these memorable Shang-Chi foes get their moment in the cinematic spotlight. 

Zheng Zu, formerly known as "Fu Manchu"

Ever since his debut in "Special Marvel Edition" #15 in 1973, Shang-Chi's one true archenemy has always been his evil, scheming father — even though his father's exact identity has changed multiple times. 

When the "Kung Fu Craze" reached America's shores in the 70s, Marvel decided to purchase the comic book rights to Sax Rohmer's "Fu Manchu" novels and created Shang-Chi as his previously unknown son. Fu Manchu was the racist, xenophobic personification of "Yellow Peril," the Western fear that Asian immigrants would eventually wipe out "white culture" around the world. 

Marvel used the loss of the rights to Rohmer's creations as an opportunity to establish a new backstory for Shang-Chi's father that attempted to distance the villain from his racist roots. Renamed "Zheng Zhu" in 2010's "Secret Avengers" #8 the Master of Kung Fu's father was now an immortal wizard who sought to conquer the world using his vast criminal cult, the Five Weapons Society, which consisted of Zhu's Orders of the Si-Fan, the Golden Dawn, and the Hai Dai.

To fulfill his dreams of global conquest, Zu trained his son, Shang-Chi, from birth to be the ultimate warrior. But when he sent the lad on his first assassination mission, the young martial artist returned and informed his father that he would foil Zhu's plans to rule the world. 

Thus betrayed, Zhu remained Shang-Chi's biggest enemy until his death in "Master of Kung Fu #118" in 1982, though the character would make several brief returns in the years that followed. 

Midnight Sun

After Shang-Chi rebelled against his father, Zheng Zhu sent his adopted son, the Midnight Sun, to bring him back one way or another. The adoptive brothers clashed in "Special Marvel Edition" #16 in 1973 and fought a fierce battle that ultimately ended in tragedy. 

Midnight Sun's real name was M'Nai, and he was the only survivor of a British assault on his village. Wishing to cultivate the hate within him, Zheng Zhu adopted the boy and raised him alongside Shang-Chi, and the two children became bet friends. This friendship was irrevocably broken when Shang-Chi vowed to destroy his criminal empire, and Midnight Sun fought accordingly when the men's father pitted the two of them against each other in Shang-Chi's second story ever. 

Though the two men loved each other deeply, Midnight Sun was more loyal to his father than he was to Shang-Chi, and their duel only ended when M'nai fell off of a construction crane and died as he hit the ground. Though he was killed in his first appearance, M'Nai would prove to be the first of many siblings who would become Shang-Chi's enemy. 

Zheng Bao Yu, formerly known as "Fah Lo Suee"

Originally one of Sax Rohmer's problematic "Fu Manchu" characters, Fah Lo Suee's name was changed to "Zheng Bao Yu" once Marvel lost the rights. The daughter of Zheng Zhu, Bao Yu was Shang-Chi's half-brother, and although the two both sought to defeat their father, they wanted to so for completely different reasons. While Shang-Chi wanted to bring an end to Zhu's criminal empire and the destruction it caused around the globe, Bao Yu wished to supplant their father and claim his empire for herself. 

The daughter of Zheng Zhu made the transition to the comic book panel in 1975's "Master of Kung Fu" #26 where she butted heads with Shang-Chi for the first time. It was common for the two to temporarily join forces against their father, though Shang-Chi always kept his guard up lest his devious sister finally manage to trick him into delivering their father's empire into her hands. 

For a time, she managed to gain control of MI6, causing Shang-Chi and his many spy allies to leave the agency and create an independent spy agency called "Freelance Restorations" in 1982's "Master of Kung Fu" #113 and 114. Years later in 2013's "Fearless Defenders" #8 through 12, Bao Yu was experimenting on the alien species known as the Brood in an effort to turn them into her tools of destruction, only to be stopped by Misty Knight's Defenders team. 


Introduced in Shang-Chi's first appearance, the "Celestial Order of the Si-Fan" were Zheng Zhu's private, secretive, and ancient society of assassins, spies, and ninja. It was an elite and highly trained group that was trained to obey Zhu without question, and not just anyone could join their ranks. 

But Tiger-Claw wasn't just anyone. Introduced in 1975's "Giant-Size Master of Kung Fu" #4, the outsider known only as "Tiger-Claw" approached Zheng Zhu and demanded that the villain make him a "lodge master," one of the top-ranking members of the Si-Fan order. Angered by the stranger's impertinence, Zhu sent three Si-Fan lodge masters to kill him, but Tiger-Claw killed them instead. Convinced that he might have finally found a match for Shang-Chi, Zhu allowed Tiger-Claw to replace the men he had killed and become a lodge master. 

Zhu's hope would soon prove incorrect, however. Confident in large part due to his new position, the lodge master challenged the Son of Zheng Zhu to a duel. Though the fight was fierce, Tiger-Claw was decisively defeated by the undisputed master of kung fu. 

Razor Fist

Originally introduced in "Master of Kung Fu" #29 in 1975, Razor-Fist would become one of Shang-Chi's most frequently recurring villains and have no less than three different criminals take up the name. The first Razor-Fist was simply an enhanced bodyguard named William Young who worked for a crime lord named Carlton Velcro. 

Young served as Velcro's assassin and enforcer as needed, and the crime lord eventually had Young's fists replaced with literal blades in order to somehow augment the villain's martial arts prowess. When Shang-Chi and the first Razor-Fist finally met in the field of battle, however, Velcro's guards accidentally shot and killed Young in "Master of Kung Fu" #31 while trying to hit Shang-Chi. 

Years later in 1981's "Master of Kung Fu" #105, Velcro decided to create two new Razor-Fists when two of his men, brothers William and Douglass Scott, each lost a hand in a car accident. Velcro replaced each of their missing hands with one of William Young's blades and had the two brothers pretend to be the same villain by taking turns serving as his new assassin. 

William ultimately dies in the same manner as his namesake when Velcro accidentally shoots and kills him as well in "Master of Kung Fu" #106, leaving Douglas Scott as the sole remaining Razor-Fist. Douglas would go on to clash with Shang-Chi several times over the years and would even come to blows with other Marvel superheroes like Hawkeye and the mutant Wolverine.


Knowing he would never be able to dismantle his father's vast empire on his own, Shang-Chi quickly began working with Sir Dennis Nayland Smith's team of MI6 agents in  "Master of Kung Fu" #17 and 18. Among these agents was a man named Simon Bretnor who was introduced in 1975's "Master of Kung Fu" #33. Bretnor was dating another agent named Leiko Wu at the time, and this quickly created a great deal of tension among the team as both Shang-Chi and another agent named Clive Reston also loved the woman. 

After spending years working as a secret agent for MI6, however, Simon Bretnor began developing a dual personality named "Mordillo" who soon became one of the world's most dangerous assassins. When Shang-Chi kept Mordillo from finishing a contract, he vowed revenge on the kung fu master and hatched a plot against his very own teammates. 

Leiko eventually discovered his treachery and helped MI6 track Bretnor to his secret island hideout, where the villain equipped his most dangerous weapon: the "Death-Hand," a steel gauntlet introduced in "Master of Kung Fu" #34 that could shoot fire and poison darts from its finger tips. Combined with Bretnor's extensive martial arts training, Death-Hand was a worthy opponent for Shang-Chi, but the villain was ultimately incinerated when he accidentally leapt directly into the path of the rays of a laser weapon known as the "Solar Chute" in "Master of Kung Fu" #35. 


Introduced in "Master of Kung Fu" #42 in 1976, Lancaster Sneed adopted the name "Shockwave" after he used metal plates to rebuild himself in the wake of a horrific injury. He initially tried to make a living as a circus performer across the globe, but after returning to the US and creating a new exoskeletal power suit, he vowed to get his revenge on those he believed were responsible for his injuries: MI6. 

Shockwave attacked MI6 and used his "Shockwave Armor" to give Shang-Chi a run for his money. The armor granted Sneed an incredible amount of protection, gave him a slight boost in speed, strength, and agility, and equipped him with jet-powered flight, laser canons, and, rather appropriately, shockwave emitters. The high-tech gadgetry almost made the villain a challenge for Shang-Chi in "Master of Kung Fu" #43 through 45, but the hero quickly put him down and discovered that he was actually the nephew of Sir Dennis Nayland Smith. 

Smith was one of Shang-Chi's most trusted allies and was his main point of contact with MI6, and the discovery of Shockwave's identity was a surprise to both of them. Sneed had worked with his uncle in MI6 until one day, on a routine mission in Africa, Sneed suffered the injuries that affected his mental state, forcing him to leave MI6 and become the villainous Shockwave. 

Shaka Kharn

Like Rome, Zheng Zhu's criminal empire wasn't built in a day. In fact, his grand Celestial Orders were developed over the course of centuries thanks to the long life he received by taking the Elixir of Life, also known as the "Elixir Vitae." According to 2010's S.H.I.E.L.D. #4, the elixir was invented by none other than Sir Isaac Newton (yes, that Isaac Newton) and granted its users unending life without any known limit.

Decades before that issue released, however, the Elixir of Life was believed to have been developed by Zheng Zhu's distant ancestor: Shaka Kharn. Introduced in "Master of Kung Fu" #46 in 1976, Zheng Zhu recovered Kharn's skeleton from its tomb and used his unique mix of mystic and scientific knowledge to reanimate Khan and return his soul to his undead body. 

Shaka Kharn was said to be the greatest warrior who ever lived, and Zhu was certain this would finally bring about the end of his son, Shang-Chi. The two fought throughout "Master of Kung Fu" issues #48 through 51. After one of the most harrowing battles of his entire career, Shang-Chi emerged victorious, defeating his ancestor and foiling his father's plans once again. 


Grigori Sovchenko was introduced in 1982's "Master of Kung Fu" #110. Thanks to his father's position as a high-ranking member of the KGB, Grigori was chosen to join a rare "exchange program" between China and Russia, during which two of the most skilled Chinese martial artists would trade places with one Russian for a period of 15 years. 

Master of the "Naked Kill" fighting style, Grigori was the most dangerous man in all of Russia by the time the two Chinese assassins returned home. After killing several top spies throughout Russia without raising suspicion, Grigori adopted the name "The Ghost Maker" and officially joined the KGB, though he soon declared himself a free agent. 

Ghost Maker came into conflict with Shang-Chi and MI6 during the Russian agent's attempted assassination of Queen Elizabeth II. Though usually the assured victor in any fight, Shang-Chi was shocked to discover that he could not beat the Ghost Maker in combat and was narrowly defeated a number of times as the master of kung fu attempted to stop the assassin. Eventually Ghost Maker made a mistake, however, and accidentally doused himself in the acid he had meant to use on the queen, subsequently dying in "Master of Kung Fu" #111.

A good villain rarely stays down, however, and Grigori was eventually resurrected by the Hand in 1994's Daredevil Annual #10 and sent to kill Elektra. With Daredevil and Shang-Chi's help, Elektra defeats the assassin by stabbing him in the head, killing him once again. 


One of the most visually striking villains in the "Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" trailer, Death-Dealer only appeared in handful of comic book issues throughout late 1982 in "Master of Kung Fu" #115 through 118. While Zheng Bao Yu was director of MI6, a man named Li Ching-Lin infiltrated the agency's ranks to serve as a double agent for Bao Yu's father, Zheng Zhu. 

Fearing Ching-Lin's brutality, Bao Yu hired Sir Denis Nayland Smith and her brother Shang-Chi to take out the dangerous assassin. Shang-Chi easily bested the double agent and forced Ching-Lin to flee back to Zheng Zhu, who outfitted him with new weapons and a striking costume and named him the "Death-Dealer." Armed with his new equipment, Death-Dealer attacked Shang-Chi and his group and was once again quickly repelled, accidentally leading Shang-Chi back to Zheng Zhu's castle hideout in China. 

There, Death-Dealer and Shang-Chi would fight one last time. Still just as outmatched as in the previous issues, Death-Dealer is killed by Shang-Chi in "Master of Kung Fu" #118 when the hero hits the villain with a lit brazier, causing his costume to catch fire and burn him to death. When all was said and done, Li Ching-Lin only dealt out death to himself.

Moving Shadow

The main villain of the "Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu" adult comic book miniseries, Moving Shadow was yet another son of Zheng Zhu who sought to defeat Shang-Chi and thus replace him at their father's side. Introduced in the series' first issue in 2002, Moving Shadow would prove to be a challenging foe for his heroic brother. 

Like Shang-Chi, Moving Shadow was trained in the ways of Martial Arts from birth, but unlike the master of kung fu, Shadow completely embraced his father's evil ways and vowed to serve him with absolute loyalty. Moving Shadow did not even question Zhu's order to kill his own brother, and attacked the hero the first chance he got. 

Ultimately, however, Shang-Chi once again proved himself to be the better fighter and defeated his half-brother without killing him. Utterly beaten and left in disgrace, Moving Shadow returned to Zheng Zhu, but the cold-blooded villain murdered his son for his failure. 

The Shadow Council

"Secret Avengers" #1 (May, 2010) introduced a new threat to the Marvel Universe: The Shadow Council, an organization formed by Confederate Soldiers from the American Civil War who discovered a rift in time and space they named the Vanishing Point. After Steve Rogers returned from his apparent death in 2010's "Captain America: Reborn," he decided to form a new, covert-ops team of Avengers to investigate and defeat the Shadow Council. 

When the Shadow Council try to resurrect Zheng Zhu in 2010 and 2011's "Secret Avengers" #6-10, Steve Rogers approaches Shang-Chi and asks for his help. Rogers' team of Secret Avengers includes Sharon Carter, the Beast, Ant-Man, the Black Widow, Valkyrie, Moon Knight, and War Machine, and together, they fight the Shadow Council and the half-dead Zheng Zhu and manage to disrupt the ritual that would have fully resurrected Shang-Chi's villainous father, causing him to die once again. 

The White Dragon

In "Master of Kung Fu" #61, Shang-Chi fought a Triad assassin named Chao Sima who operated under the codename of "Skull-Crusher" due to his signature weapons: steel balls bound to his wrists via long chains. Hired to kill Shang-Chi, the pair would come to blows multiple times over the years, and Shang-Chi always emerged the victor. Years later, their relationship radically changed in when Leiko Wu fell in love with Chao Sima before being murdered by a villain known only as the "White Dragon."

Though White Dragon originally debuted in 1978's "Amazing Spider Man" #184, he wouldn't battle Shang-Chi until 2014's "Deadly Hands of Kung Fu" #2 and 3, when Chao Sima approached the Master of Kung Fu and asked for his help in avenging Leiko Wu's murder. Though he initially distrusted the former villain, Shang-Chi agreed to help Skull-Crusher, and the duo infiltrated the White Dragon's castle, where they discovered a secret ritual led by none other than a resurrected Midnight Sun, Shang-Chi's adoptive brother, that would grant the villain untold power. 

Midnight Sun's willing servant, the White Dragon held off Shang-Chi and Skull-Crusher until the ceremony is nearly over, at which point he kills both himself and Skull-Crusher in order to complete the ritual. Chao Sima had gotten the upper hand, however, and made sure that the ceremony didn't grant Midnight Sun power but instead resurrected his beloved Leiko, who cast Sun into the underworld, making White Dragon's sacrifice meaningless.

Shi-Hua, Sister Hammer

Introduced in 2020's "Shang-Chi" #1, one of the Master of Kung Fu's most recent villains is yet another hidden child of his father, Zheng Zhu. 

Zheng Shi-Hua is Shang-Chi's younger sister, and the two were raised together until Zhu separated them for trespassing in a forbidden room. Zhu branded the girl's forehead and lied to her brother, telling him that she had been executed in order to teach him a lesson. In reality, Shi-Hua was sent to Russia to join the Five Weapons Society's House of the Deadly Hammer, where she finished her training and became her house champion and adopted the title of "Sister Hammer." 

When Zheng Zhu died once again, the Five Weapons Society was left without a leader, and Sister Hammer was determined to take her father's place and lead the organization as she saw fit, even going so far as to kill her half-brother, Brother Staff, in order to do so. Naming herself the new "Supreme Commander," Shi-Hua tries to have Shang-Chi killed but only succeeds in revealing to Shang-Chi that she is still alive in "Shang-Chi" #2. The Master of Kung Fu attempts to convince his long-lost sister to forsake their father and leave his evil ways behind, but when she refuses, Shang-Chi defeats her in combat and takes control of the Five Weapons Society himself, vowing to turn it into a force for good at the end of the fifth and final issue of the series.