A commander in the British Secret Service and knighted by the Queen, Sir Denis Nayland Smith is a highly intelligent and logical leader that protects his country from terrorist threats. He leads a team of secret agents against the infamous villain, Zheng Zu, AKA Fu Manchu.
Police Commissioner to MI-6 Commander
Denis Nayland Smith first encounters the crime lord Fu Manchu, while stationed in Burma and working as Britain's police commissioner. He later joins British secret service as a secret agent at MI-6 to continue his pursuit of Fu Manchu. After years of cat-and-mouse, Smith receives knighthood for his tireless efforts against Fu Manchu. His recognition did not come without its costs, as an infuriated Fu Manchu seeks revenge, injuring Smith so badly that he loses the use of his legs.
Years later, Smith becomes a commander, and encounters Kung Fu master Shang-Chi, son to Fu Manchu, who had seemingly slain his friend Doctor James Petrie. At first, Smith sends his aide and agent Jack Tarr, AKA Black Jack Tarr, to kill him. Though Tarr fails, and Smith comes face to face with Shang in his home. Shang explains that his father deceived him when it came to killing Petrie but Smith doesn’t believe him and only becomes angrier with Shang when he encouraged him to stand from his wheelchair. With Shang suggesting that his condition was psychosomatic, Smith finally pushed himself to stand and Shang leaves him to think about the truth of things.
The next time Smith and Shang encounter one another, Smith accepts Shang’s explanation that his father duped him into killing Petrie. Smith informs Shang about the war against Fu Manchu that’s raged since he first saw him in 1911. Afterward, Smith joins forces with Shang to continue the fight against Fu Manchu.
Possessing a keen intellect and investigative skills, Sir Denis Nayland Smith puts these abilities to use while working as Britain’s police commissioner and later for the British Secret Service as a secret agent. He is also has training in hand-to-hand combat and firearm usage.
Smith first encounters Fu Manchu in 1911 and considers him the most evil man alive. He dedicates his career in British intelligence to foiling the would-be world conqueror and succeeds when Fu Manchu apparently perishes. After the success of beating his lifelong foe, he retires from secret service.
Secret Agent Allies
As a commander for MI-6, Smith leads a team of secret agents against his forever foe and career criminal Fu Manchu. He joins with Fu Manchu’s son, Shang-Chi, and with his aide Black Jack Tarr, agents Leiko Wu, and Clive Reston, they work to take down the dangerous villain who often escapes their clutches.
Although Shang-Chi assisted Smith against the Si-Fan, the Nazi war criminal Wilhelm Bucher, and Fah Lo Suee, he avoided Smith’s offer to join MI-6 in an official capacity because he disapproved of the subterfuge MI-6 would employ to achieve their ends. He also feared that he might become a pawn for MI-6 as he had for his father; he called Smith’s work “games of deceit and death.”
Later, after being frustrated with MI-6, Smith helps found a new mercenary team, Freelance Restorations, operating from his castle, Stormhaven, in Scotland. He recruits his MI-6 colleagues Tarr, Leiko, Clive, and Shang who felt similar frustration with the intelligence agency. Smith eventually retires after the seeming death of his foe, Fu Manchu and leaves Tarr in charge of Freelance Restorations.
Smith’s Secret Service Story
Later, when Shang’s half-sister kidnapped Smith, Black Jack allied with his fellow agent in MI-6 and friend Clive Reston, and they sought Shang’s help to recover him. Shang had other ideas about how to rescue Smith and left Black Jack and Clive behind. By the time they arrived at Smith’s location, Shang had liberated him.
Needing Shang-Chi’s aid against the drug smuggler Carlton Velcro, Smith brought Shang to a drug rehabilitation clinic. After seeing the junkies, Shang was moved to join Smith and helped his team dismantle Velcro’s operations, battling Velcro’s bodyguard William Young, AKA Razor-Fist.
After Nayland’s team helped stop Fu Manchu’s plans to disrupt the moon’s orbit, Smith found himself confronted by Shang, saying he had had enough of MI-6’s deceit and death. Tar, Leiko, and Reston agreed with Shang, and the four friends quit. Meanwhile, a bomb placed by a brainwashed Dr. Petrie destroyed Smith’s office as Tarr and Shang battled the villain, and Smith’s nephew, Lancaster Sneed, AKA Shockwave. Smith then sent Tarr and Reston to Zurich to provide back-up to Shang to face off Shockwave’s employers, who turned out to be Petrie and the Oriental Expediters led by Shang’s half-sister, Fah Lo Suee—who now ran MI-6.
Smith then left MI-6 and co-founded Freelance Restorations with Reston and Tarr, and they recruited their former colleagues, Shang and Leiko. After a final battle with Fu Manchu resulting in his apparent death, Smith saw this moment of reprieve as an opportunity to retire, and left Tarr in charge of his mercenary team, Freelance Restorations.