“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” has just landed in dark rooms. On the occasion of the release of the new Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) opus, a look back at the origins of this unsung superhero to the general public through the comics.
Shang-Chi: homage to Bruce Lee
Shang-Chi is a relatively important hero at Marvel Comics. Created in 1973 by Steve Englehart, Al Milgrom and the great Jim Starlin, this superhero is obviously a tribute to the unforgettable Bruce Lee. Also called Master of Kung-Fu, Shang-Chi is an urban hero, originally from Hunan, a Chinese province. Great friend of Daredevil, Iron Fist or Luke Cage, he joined for a time the team of heroes for hire : a group of vigilantes who protect the widow and the orphan.
Contrary to what is told in the film, Shang-Chi is not the son of the mighty Mandarin. He is the descendant of Fu Manchi, who, however, also remains an international criminal. As in Daniel Destin Cretton’s film, Shang-Chi decides to oppose his father, and subsequently becomes a powerful defender of justice and freedom. After defeating his father, he leaves for Britain and becomes an agent of MI-6. The intelligence agency then sends him to New York where he crosses paths with Spider-Man.
After an empty period, Shang-Chi returns to center stage in the early 2000s, where the character is repopularized. We find it in particular in the excellent crossover Shadowland or Daredevil goes to the dark side. Then, thereafter, he joined the Secret Avengers of Steve Rogers to fight against the Dark Avengers of Norman Osborn.
Shang-Chi has no specific power, but is arguably the best fighter in the entire Marvel Universe. As what is told in the film, Shang-Chi has spent his entire life training, and knows all of the martial arts on earth. He is also an expert in the handling of bladed weapons. he is also able to master his Chi to perfection, which gives him total control of his mind and body, and the ability to go beyond the physical and intellectual limits of the average human being. Shang-Chi is also in tune with the Chi of other living beings, allowing it to detect friends and foes from impressive distances. In short, he remains an outstanding fighter able to compete with characters like Iron Fist, Black Widow or Daredevil.
The Mandarin: a cult villain from the Iron Man universe
The Mandarin’s first appearance in the MCU dates back to 2013 in Iron man 3. Played by Ben Kingsley, it turned out that Shane Black played on the nerves of the spectators. The Mandarin was actually an impostor in the service of Doctor Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the real Mandarin appears, camped by comedian Tony Leung. In the comics, Mandarin was introduced in 1964, edited by Stan Lee and Don Heck. Inspired by the universe of James bond, and especially from Dr No, The Mandarin is a megalomaniac, intelligent enemy who sets up often convoluted plans to take control of the planet. Initially, he is an enemy of Iron Man, which he faces on numerous occasions. The Mandarin is an extremely talented scientist and martial arts practitioner. He also uses the Ten Rings of Power, which we’ll get to later.
The Mandarin has always had megalomaniacal delusions of seizure of power. To gain power, he went to “The Valley of the Spirits”, a forbidden valley where he discovers the wreckage of an alien spaceship that crashed millennia ago. He then used the technology of this mysterious vehicle to gain power. Among the many artifacts present on the wreck, The Mandarin fell on ten rings of power. Each of these rings provides a particular power. These ten rings then became the hallmark of the Mandarin.
The Mandarin reflects the American fears of the time. True conqueror, it is the representation of the communist rise in China, the trauma of Pearl Harbor or the war in Korea. He even tried, in the comics, to provoke a Third World War on several occasions by attacking the United States and the USSR. He also tried to portray Tony Stark as a slave trade and an enemy of the United States.
Despite his advanced age, The Mandarin is an incredible athlete, highly trained in martial arts. He is a brilliant tactician, and an extremely gifted strategist. Corn his powers come mainly from his ten power rings. Alien rings materialized in the form of bracelets in the …