Published May 5, 2021

Shang-Chi's Secret History

Read Shang-Chi’s origin series for a full family reunion and his hidden past with the Five Weapons Society.

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You may have heard that Shang-Chi is Marvel’s greatest fighter. But what are his ties? What is the family legacy that he’s running from? And who, exactly, is that family?

In mid-18th century China, an outlaw sorcerer named Zheng Yi partnered with his brother Zheng Zu as the founders and leaders of the Five Weapons Society. Establishing a of clan of five powerful warriors, the Society prospered as China’s protectors. And, through the use of immortality magic, Yi and Zu kept the Society alive by creating five Houses in honor of these Deadly Warriors.

Which brings us to today. In 2020’s limited series SHANG-CHI, creators Gene Luen Yang, Philip Tan, and Dike Ruan take us further inside this secret and ancient society with a look at its modern motives. The times have certainly changed for the five Houses, now more interested in organized crime than protecting common interest. And, for former Avenger and Hero for Hire Shang-Chi, certain family connections can no longer be ignored.

Read this family reunion featuring zombie vampires, demons, and good old-fashioned betrayal on MU now. Or, grab our top moments from each issue.


Sister Hammer takes control of the Five Weapons Society.

Back when Zheng Zu was calling the shots, Shang-Chi was the child that secured a blessing as the Society’s next Supreme Commander. Raised deep in its insular cult-y ranks, Shang-Chi’s defection from everything he knew left his dad, and his House of the Deadly Hand, in pretty bad shape. Knowing that her brother had little interest in restoring the family name, Sister Hammer, AKA Shang-Chi’s younger sister Zheng Shi-Hua, usurped control by means of intimidation and murder.

Frankly, she’s in a better position to lead. With Shang-Chi off living his best life as a baker’s assistant in San Francisco, the power balance within the Houses has shifted toward ruthlessness. And if anyone can do ruthless, it’s Sister Hammer.

A promise between siblings.


The spirit of Zheng Yi beckons Shang-Chi.

Especially if your uncle is an undead spirit sorcerer who can visit you through the use of magic and the shadowy occult.

Issue #2 is a series of flashbacks for Shang-Chi, namely a catch-up in his relationship with Sister Hammer who he thought was long dead. While revisiting their childhood in the Deadly Hand’s Hunan retreat, Shang-Chi learns that after an especially nasty argument with their father, Shi-Hua was banished to the House of the Deadly Hammer to train as a Society Champion. After relaying this update, (and offering a round of hugs and crystal cakes), Sister Hammer makes her true case known. Shang-Chi is nearly shipped off to the afterlife by Sister Hammer and her zombie army, but is instead restored by the spirit of Zheng Yi, now beckoning him to “come pay a visit” at his tomb site...


The Five Houses scattered across the world.

The Hand. The Hammer. The Sabre. The Dagger. The Staff. All five represent unique Houses within the Society, with the Hand also acting as the head of operations. This arrangement was singlehandedly devised by Zheng Zu following the “death” of Zheng Yi. Or, likely murder. As revealed in issue #3, Zu was responsible for his own brother’s death, and after gaining mass power as the Society’s sole ruler, scattered what was left of the Houses to various nations. At least that’s the story he wants you to believe...

Shang-Chi may share a father with half-siblings Brother Sabre and Sister Dagger, but the similarities end there. Both Sabre and Dagger (not their real names) have been trained as House Champions far away from their father’s influence, and are mainly interested in getting Shang-Chi back on top. To that end, the trio form an alliance to boot out Shi-Hua from the Supreme Commander seat, no matter how painful it is for Shang-Chi to turn on a sister he’ll always love.


Zheng Yi explains why old wounds must remain.

The Jiangshi, or Zheng Zu’s experimental army of vampire zombie-beings, are the main source of Sister Hammer’s power and a terrifying show for any who oppose her. After zipping across China and Paris, Shang-Chi’s next detour is to the spiritual realm of his uncle to find out how to cure the Jiangshi wound that is slowly turning him into a zombie. Zheng Yi offers some cryptic advice on why Shang-Chi’s wounds must remain open... for now. In the physical plane, it will be this connection to the Jiangshi that will give the opposing Houses an upper hand.


Sister Hammer takes the battle to London with her zombie army in tow.

The battleground is London Town as Sister Hammer launches her final attack on the Western world. No longer satisfied with petty crime and drug trafficking, Hammer has vowed to add world domination to the Five Weapons’ resume. A lofty goal, but definitely obtainable if she keeps the Jiangshi in her pocket. For Shang-Chi, Brother Sabre, and Sister Dagger, the outcome of this battle is their family’s future. But so long as the Champion of House Hammer is unwilling to look past her hurt and anger, the Five Weapons Society will be ruled by rage. And, just when it looks like Shang-Chi has made a breakthrough...

Shang-Chi nearly breaks through to Sister Hammer.

Read SHANG-CHI (2020) now to learn the final fate of Sister Hammer, or read more sensational stories starring martial arts master Shang-Chi on Marvel Unlimited today.


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Shang-Chi is one of the greatest fighters in the Marvel Universe. Using his incredible physical prowess, martial arts mastery, and instinct, he pursues criminals and fights injustice as an Avenger and Hero for Hire.


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