Shang-Chi, who's name can be interpreted as "a rising and advancing spirit" was born in Hunan province in China, son to a wealthy international crime lord named Fu Manchu and an unknown American woman genetically selected by his father. Trained privately by the greatest masters of various disciplines, Chinese and otherwise, Shang had limited contact with his parents.
When he did see his father, his father told him that all of his training was being directed toward some sort of great humanitarian goal, as his father manipulated Shang into thinking that he was a philanthropist. When the time finally came for Shang to face the outside world and carry out this mission, he was transported to England, where his mission was assassination. He knew nothing other than to honor his father with complete loyalty, so after stealthily sneaking into his target's home, he killed who he thought was an evil man in one swift strike. British secret agent Sir Dennis Nayland-Smith arrived on the scene in time to catch Shang, but of course couldn't keep him there. Shang later sought out his mother, now living in London, who then told him the truth about her former husbands life of crime and evil. At that time, Shang swore to become his father's enemy, and do whatever it would take to topple his evil empire.
Shang-Chi made his first appearance in Marvel Special Edition #15. He was created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin.
This led to to a banding of heroes like the Sons of Tiger, Iron Fist, Jack of Hearts, and White Tiger to take down the organization known as the Corporation. Shang would eventually team-up with other heroes such as Spider-Man, Thing, and Rom the Spaceknight.
Joining the British intelligence agency MI6, Shang later moved on to form his own crimefighting organization with Sir Dennis called "Freelance Restorations". Shang eventually found his father's retreat in Hunan and killed him in a brutal battle. Plagued by guilt and tired of the pressures of crime-fighting, Shang moved back to China, to the small fishing village of Yang-Tin, becoming a fisherman amongst the locals. His peace was short lived however, as the reappearance of his father forced him to utilize his skills once again.
Facing a stronger, younger version of himself in the form of a half-brother, Moving Shadow, Shang nonetheless was victorious in the end. Enraged at the failure of his second son, Fu Manchu killed Moving Shadow and supposedly died in the aftermath. Unfortunately, subsequent appearances and events reveal that Shang's infamous father is far from dead.
Major Story Arcs
Shang Chi has since reemerged numerous times, to aid friends such as Spider-Man, the X-Men, and his teammates in the Marvel Knights. He fought alongside his partners in a newly revived Heroes for Hire with his teammates including Iron Fist, Misty Knight, Coleen Wing, Black Cat, amongst others. After the Heroes for Hire team disbanded, Shang was called to service by MI-6 to help bring-in a Welch crime lord. Who was really a Red Dragon with memory loss. Sometime after this incident, he became the guardian and teacher to a young Killraven for a period of time.
Secret Avengers: Eyes of the Dragon
Shang Chi is asleep when suddenly he senses that he is not alone. He wakes up to find several ninjas of the Hai-Dai Order attacking. He fights well, but there are many.
Fortunately, an ally appears in the form of the Prince of Orphans. He is there on the behest of Steve Rogers, and Shang-Chi is keen to discover why. Two days earlier, Hank McCoy passed a message to Steve Rogers from the Prince of Orphans. It concerned a temple he'd come across filled with dead monks.He had heard rumors that the Hai-Dai were responsible. Steve knew that the Hai-Dai were supposed to have disbanded, but the Prince informed Steve that they were looking for the Eyes of the Dragon, and if that was the case then there was trouble on its way. In the present, Shang-Chi joins Steve aboard the Secret Avengers' floating HQ. Shang is surprised to discover that his father might be alive, or at least on the verge of being brought back from the dead. Along with Steve and the Black Widow, Shang-Chi travels to Hong Kong where the team infiltrates the International Finance Centre on a mission to retrieve the eyes.
Inside, they discover that they've been lured there on purpose and are attacked by more Hai-Dai ninjas. Elsewhere, Shang-Chi's father is with Shadow Council Director Thorndrake and Max Fury. He is half-way to being brought back fully from the dead. Fury receives a call. One of the Shadow Council's teams has found the real Eyes of the Dragon, so all that is needed now is to get their hands on Shang-Chi.
As the three heroes fought against the numerically superior Hai-Dai, Steve and Natasha are cut off from Shang. Overwhelmed by their numbers and with his allies out of reach, Shang eventually fell prey to a blow from behind and was captured. On board an unspecified aircraft the Hai-Dai stood guard around Shang-Chi. Right as one of the ninjas attempted to execute him however, Ant-Man emerged from a strand of his hair and two quickly dispatched the crew. When the team regroups on board the Quincarrier, Beast reveals that the real name of Shang-Chi's father is Zheng Zu. Zu was an evil sorcerer from ancient times who gained his longevity through using the Eyes of the Dragon and draining the life essence of blood relatives.
They deduce that the Shadow Council are working with Zheng Zu to target Shang-Chi and complete his resurrection. Shang-Chi’s father is suddenly spotted attacking civilians on the streets of Hong Kong in broad daylight, and the team heads down to intercept this act of terrorism. Shang is suspicious of the obtrusive attack, but the heroes realize too late that this was nothing more than a diversion to capture Sharon Carter. The Shadow Council later offers the safe return of Sharon in exchange for Shang-Chi.
Later on as he spared with Steve, Shang made it clear that he will willingly turn himself over to the Shadow Council and his father for Sharon's safety. The Secret Avengers received directions from John Steele, requesting that Shang and Steve meet on a rooftop to make the exchange. Despite going along willingly, Steele incapacitated Shang with a shock rifle to prevent any possibility of resistance.
Steve calls in the rest of the Secret Avengers and forces Steele to retreat with a captured Shang-Chi. As Zheng Zu prepared his sacrificial ritual, Moon Knight revealed himself as a disguised guard and quickly called in the rest of the team. During the ensuing battle, the Prince of Orphans seemingly interrupts the ritual and kills Zheng Zu. In the aftermath, Shang bid farewell to the Steve and Sharon, grateful for their help in stopping his father and agreeing to return the favor if ever needed.
Sometime after thwarting his father's resurrection, Shang-Chi rejoined the Secret Avengers on a mission in the No Zone. Along with Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter, Shang was sent to retrieve a small canister of transmatter obtained by the Shadow Council, said to be powerful enough to turn the Earth into a smouldering star. Shang was seen brutally disabling and maiming all hostiles he came across in order to prevent them from regrouping, but he resented being forced to act as a “thug”, having initially agreed on taking part in a mission of stealth and extraction.
When the team arrived at a crossroads with two ventilation shafts, Shang used his heightened senses to detect that one shaft was cooler than the other, suggesting it led to the flight deck. Steve took the opportunity to retort that Shang wasn’t there to be a thug; he was there to be an Avenger. The heroes are ultimately able to capture both the Council’s inter-universal space craft and the canister of transmatter.
During the events of Fear Itself, Shang-Chi is also among the many heroes defending Washington from the army of Skadi.
Spider-Island: Deadly Hands of Kung Fu
Before the events of Spider-Island, the new Madame Web, Julia Carpenter asked Shang-Chi to train Spider-Man in martial arts to compensate for the loss of his spider-sense. He donned special magnetic gloves and shoes during their sparring sessions to help Spider-Man develop a unique fighting style that complemented his spider powers.
With ordinary New Yorkers developing the same powers as himself, Spider-Man is forced to capitalize on Shang-Chi's training in several situations. When the wall-crawler's spider-sense returned, it worked in harmony with the techniques Shang taught him, turning the tide in a decisive battle against Tarantula.
As the events of Spider-Island continued to unfold, Shang-Chi became infected by the spider plague. Developing the same set of powers as Spider-Man, Shang fought alongside other heroes in defending New York against the threat of spider-powered criminals.
During this time, he had nightmares involving the Immortal Weapons and saw himself as a spider attacking innocent people in visions. When he speaks with Madame Web, she left him only with a cryptic fortune. After joining Iron Fist in combat, the two discovered that they had been sharing the same nightmares. Their meeting is cut short as the Bride of Nine Spiders joined the fray and asked Danny to speak with her on a rooftop in private. Sensing something was wrong, Shang followed the two and witnessed the Bride attack and incapacitate Iron Fist. Jumping to his friend's defense, Shang utilized his newly acquired spider powers to easily pin down the Bride, but is caught off-guard and knocked out by his assailant's super natural fighting technique.
The Web of Deceit
Awakening later on at his apartment and aided by Silver Sable, Shang-Chi concluded that the Bride of Nine Spiders was the source of his nightmares. He identified a street sign in one of his dreams and tracks the Bride to an abandoned house in Hamilton Heights. The house had adverse effects on Shang's senses, weakening his reflexes despite his acquired spider powers. After overcoming several hallucinations and physical traps, he was able to find the Bride and the other Immortal Weapons whom she cocooned in webbing. While Shang was able to hold his own against the Bride despite his affliction, he took the opportunity to free Iron Fist and increase their odds.
Badly weakened due to being incapacitated, Danny is nevertheless able to muster enough chi energy to strike the Bride with his signature punch, setting her up to receive a vicious knock-out kick from Shang. As Danny attempted to heal the Bride of Nine Spiders, Shang-Chi succumbs to the spider plague and passes out. Simultaneously, Ai Apaec descends from the ceiling and reveals himself as the true mastermind behind the kidnapping of the Immortal Weapons. The South American chimera god explains that he has been working with the Queen, and the Bride was offered as payment for his services. As Iron Fist readied himself to face this threat alone, Shang-Chi recovered behind him ready to lend his deadly hands of Kung Fu - all six of them, thanks to his spider transformation.
The Zen of Spiders
With his newly acquired spider mutation, Shang-Chi held off Ai Apaec long enough for Iron fist to free the remaining Immortal Weapons. Although his transformation furthers throughout the fight, Shang was able to maintain focus and press against his monstrous opponent. Iron Fist rejoined the fight bringing with him Fat Cobra, Dog Brother, Tiger's Beautiful Daughter, and a resuscitated Bride of Nine Spiders. Despite their numerical advantage, the Immortal Weapons were weakened by their imprisonment and easily dispatched by Ai Apaec.
Shang desperately fights against the Queen's influence as his spider transformation nears completion. Seeing this, Danny rushed to his friend's aid and used his chi to help revert Shang's mutation. Given the greater threat at hand, Shang asked the Immortal Weapons to leave as they are needed to defend the city and faces off against Ai Apaec on his own. While his spider powers were gone, Shang felt his Kung Fu had been redoubled. Realizing that he was still no match for the chimera god in a head on fight, he distracted his opponent with small strikes and focused on destroy support beams that held the burning structure in place, eventually crushing Ai Apaec beneath the rubble. Shang-Chi returned to the city after his victory and continued fighting against the spider threat with his allies.
During the decisive battle against the Queen in her final form, Shang-Chi showed up with the Immortal Weapons as reinforcements. This was unforeseen by Madame Web, who reiterated the futility of the heroes' efforts. Upon hearing her loss of confidence, Shang asked her to join them in their fight, to make her own future for once.
Following the events of Avengers vs X-Men, Captain America and Iron Man seek to make a new, bigger, stronger Avenger's roster. Shang-Chi was among the fist to be chosen for this new initiative. He gladly accepted an offer from Steve Rogers and saw it as an opportunity to further challenge himself. Although Stark acknowledged the Master of Kung-Fu as an astonishing hand-to-hand combatant, he was keen to take advantage of Shang's mastery of traditional weaponry and providing him with personalized equipment.
During a mission to Mars, several core members of the Avengers are captured by The Garden, leaving Captain America to assemble the rest of the team to mount a counterattack. Shang was among the many heroes who join a second assault on Mars, as part of a rescue effort to retrieve their companions. During the battle, he faced off against the world-razing robot Aleph and critically damages its left leg. Although the damage was eventually self-repaired, Aleph is shortly destroyed by Captain Universe when the robot refused to stand down. The Avengers eventually triumph over The Garden and allow them to continue their purpose on Mars, granted they leave Earth alone for good.
A short while later, Shang was asked by Rogers and Stark to interview the new Captain Universe and find out what the purpose of her presence was. Shang felt it more appropriate to speak with the Uni-Power's host, Tamara Devoux, and 'lured' her out with pie. Using meditative techniques, he helped piece together Tamara's traumatizing past. It was revealed afterwards that the Uni-Power manifested at this time because of the Earth's pivotal role in events to come, and it chose Tamara as a host because she was dying, much like the universe itself.
Later on, Shang and a team of Avengers went to a casino in Macau to investigate A.I.M. activities. While following his own leads, Shang was attacked by ninjas lead by a mysterious armored figure. After utilizing a pair of electrified nunchacku provided by Stark, Shang defeated their leader and took his helmet as a souvenir. He reveals to his teammates that A.I.M. was bidding to hire mercenaries, and that the insidious organization was preparing for a large scale conflict. He is next seen with the rest of the Avengers in combat at an Origin Bomb site which had gone active.
Shang-Chi was with the Avengers when they joined the Galactic Council to fight against the Builders and their crusade against all life in the universe. When several allies were captured by the enemy, Shang formed a rescue team with Black Widow, Spider-Woman and Manifold. Wielding a pair of energy projecting gauntlets, Shang's timely intervention prevented his friends from being vaporized by an Aleph.
After the Builders were defeated by the alliance forces, the Avengers returned to Earth with their new Galactic Council allies to face off against an even bigger threat back home - an untimely assault by Thanos. Shang was sent along with Black Widow and Manifold the infiltrate the Peak and shut down Thanos' first line of defense. However, the team was intercepted by the Black Dwarf and a complement of guards. As Manifold returned to grab reinforcements, Shang and Natasha managed to defeat the entire security force, save the general who proved to be too much for even the Master of Kung Fu. The combined might of Gladiator, Ronan and other Council members eventually made short work of the Black Dwarf and allowed Shang and the infiltration team to complete their mission.
Powers and Abilities
Although possessing no superpowers, Shang-Chi has a lifetime of combat training behind him and is an expert in all known forms of terrestrial martial arts, enabling him to equal and best many superhumans. He is highly revered as the "Master of Kung-Fu." Although he prefers to fight empty-handed, Shang-Chi can also formidably use any martial arts weapon and is skilled at improvising weapons out of ordinary objects in his environment. Shang-Chi is a master of meditation and relaxation techniques as well, allowing him to receive psychic premonitions, neutralize toxins in his blood stream, and render his pain receptors insensitive.
Shang's mastery of chi, allows him to disperse physical trauma across his entire body (as opposed to accumulating at any single point) and strike with enough force to break through reinforced steel. On many occasions, he has also demonstrated the ability to dodge and deflect bullets from automatic weapons after they've been fired, and he is quick and agile enough to keep up with the likes of Spider-Man.
While possessing no superhuman senses, Shang-Chi has a heightened awareness of his surroundings thanks to his training and routinely thwarting attempts on his life by assassins. Shang-Chi is able to detect slight changes in the environment as well, as demonstrated during his mission in the No Zone, and he has shown the ability to sense individuals hidden by psychic powers during his brief alliance with the X-Men.
Due to his training, Shang-Chi is also less susceptible to mental attacks than most humans, having been able to resist the influence of the Queen during Spider Island, and maintaining autonomy after being tainted by Mister Negative.
Weapons and Equipment
Shang-Chi is usually seen with a pair of bracers made of an unknown material, but known to be durable enough to deflect bullets. He is skilled with (and often utilizes) a wide variety of weapons, including the nunchaku, various types of swords, bo staff, Kali sticks, throwing stars and knives. After joining the Avengers, Tony Stark provided him with a pair of high tech nunchaku capable of discharging electricity as well as a pair of gauntlets capable of projecting energy blades.
In the Earth X reality Shang Chi is known as Tao and is a member of Sunfire's Xen.