Master of His Own Destiny
A renowned criminal mastermind sired a child who he raised as his heir to an insidious secret society and named him Shang-Chi, the “rising and advancing of the spirit.” In a hidden, ancient fortress in China, the boy became adept at both a multitude of martial arts and philosophical disciplines, completely unaware of his father’s evil pursuits.
As a young man, Shang-Chi found himself tasked by the society to assassinate an old enemy of his father’s, but during the mission came into contact with a venerable British secret agent named Smith. The man illuminated the society’s global criminal activities and in doing so set Shang-Chi on a path to declare war on his own father and everything he stood for.
Master of Kung Fu
Shang-Chi’s training instilled not only wisdom in him, but also forged him into a living weapon, a martial arts master without peer in the world. Though proficient in all forms of fighting, he’s become known for his focus on kung fu and his preference to eschew weapons for bare-handed battle. Despite this, Shang-Chi ability with swords, staves, nunchaku, and shuriken is also masterful.
A natural athlete as well as peace-loving and composed, Shang-Chi may be looked upon as a level-headed individual who practices meditation and inner-cleansing as arts within themselves. His use of chi, or internal energy, aids him not only in combat, but also in mastering his emotions in tense situations. This pronounced calm even allows him to dodge bullets.
Master of His Heart
Shang-Chi has grown close to several people in his life, most of them secret agents and the like, such as Smith, Smith’s operative Black Jack Tarr, Leiko Wu, Clive Reston, and Juliette. In the case of Smith, the martial artist looked upon the man as a surrogate father to replace his own sinister sire.
Though allegedly a master of his emotions, Shang struck up romances with Leiko and Juliette, but neither one to lasting fulfillment. His friendships with Tarr and Reston both started out on rocky ground due to being thrown together in their mutual pursuit of destroying Shang’s father’s enterprises, but as time wore on the bonds strengthened to the point of agreement on a shared path when they grew disillusioned with the world of secrets and missions.
Shang-Chi has also worked well with several of Earth’s costumed champions, perhaps foremost among them Spider-Man and Captain America.
Master of His Enemies
While ostensibly raising the young man as his heir, Shang-Chi’s father most always looked upon his son as a means to an end, as well as a traitor and an enemy despite their blood connection. The criminal genius tried on more than one occasion to fashion others into heirs, “sons” who he pitted against Shang, but lost by way of his true son’s shining soul and commitment to end his evil on Earth.
The martial artist has faced many foes in battle, such as operatives of his father’s secret society, drug smugglers, gang members, and super villains, but none of them has he so unswervingly opposed like his father.
Master of His Path
After agreeing to work with Smith to stop his father, Shang-Chi met Smith’s agent Black Jack Tarr and MI-6 operative Clive Reston, two men who at first looked upon Shang with a disdainful eye. The young man refused to formally join MI-6 but worked alongside the organization on many missions, including blocking his father’s attempt to knock the moon from its orbit and fighting his own resurrected ancestor, Shaka Kharn. During this tumultuous time, he also met and developed deep feelings for secret agent Leiko Wu, a past flame of Reston’s, and believed he’d shot and killed his father.
Shang decided to put Mi-6 behind him after his father’s death, but before long discovered him to still be alive and the head of the Order of the Golden Dawn. This led to another confrontation between them, one in which Shang-Chi lost his composure and attacked his father with unbridled savagery. From there he and Leiko moved to New York City to seek peace and solace, but Smith and Tarr soon came calling to lure him back into a string of adventures. These culminated in yet another appearance of his father, a battle with his own clone, and the destruction of his father’s fabled fortress in China.
Ashamed of his life or violence, Shang-Chi submerged himself into the life of a simple fisherman, but Tarr found him again and pulled him back to confront a terrorist threat. While captured by the terrorist leader Argus, Leiko had her hand cut off and Shang was poisoned to the extent of learning he’d only one year to live. Fortunately, he cured himself with his father’s life-extending elixir and after being declared the head of the man’s secret society, ordered it to disband forever.
Many team-ups with super heroes followed, among them Captain America and the Falcon, Moon Knight, Daredevil, and the X-Men, the latter of which opposed the Kingpin with Shang-Chi’s help. The young man eventually joined with Heroes for Hire and the so-called “Marvel Knights, but that team broke up in the aftermath of another resurrection of Shang’s father. Seeking solitude from the insanity, Shang dealt with marriage of Leiko and Clive Reston, and a clash between himself and his half-brother Moving Shadow. Following these events, he returned to his solitude, but as always it would prove short-lived for a man of his talents and abilities.
During the period of time after the enacting of the Superhuman Registration Act, Shang-Chi joined a new incarnation of Heroes for Hire, faced off against the Hulk’s alien Warbound, entered into a torrid affair with a female Tarantula, and suffered through a worrying and increasing loss of self-control. When his teammate Humbug admitted to betraying Tarantula to the Warbound to be tortured, Shang killed him in brutal fashion, bringing great shame upon himself that could only be purged by leaving the team and once again seeking inner peace.
Shang soon after worked alongside Pete Wisdom of MI-13, tutored the young hero Killraven, faced his father again, and trained Spider-Man in kung fu. Surprisingly, he also accepted Avengers membership offered to him by Captain America and Iron Man, but when exposed to so-called “Incursion” radiation mutated into a monstrous form. Upon regaining normalcy, Shang was held prisoner by Hydra during the time of an evil Captain America’s rise to power in the United States and subsequently joined the underground resistance movement to oppose him.
In recent times, Shang-Chi still seeks peace in his world, though crossing paths with such firebrand characters as soldier-of-fortune Domino while she seeks answers to her past, as well as the X-Men once more, will most likely never get him to that finish line.