Fu Manchu (comics)

Fu Manchu (real name Zheng Zu) is the name of a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Based on the character of the same name, he is father and arch-enemy of Shang-Chi.

Fu Manchu
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceSpecial Marvel Edition #15 (December 1973)
Created bySax Rohmer
Adapted By:
Steve Englehart
Al Milgrom
Jim Starlin
In-story information
Alter egoZheng Zu
Team affiliationsSi-Fan
Shadow Council
AbilitiesGenius-level intellect
Hypnosis
Martial arts expert
Medical practitioner

Publication history

Fu Manchu first appeared in Special Marvel Edition #15 (December 1973).[1] He was created by Sax Rohmer and adapted into Marvel Comics by Steve Englehart, Al Milgrom, and Jim Starlin. As the result of Marvel Comics later losing the rights to the Fu Manchu name, his later appearances give him the real name of Zheng Zu.[2]

Fictional character biography

Zheng Zu gained his education at the Tibetan monastery of Rach where he learned martial arts, arcane knowledge, and every known discipline of science. Becoming highly regarded in his monastery, Zheng Zu was considered part of their brotherhood until the day he left to share his gifts with the world as Fu Manchu.[3] Together with his brother, Zu created a pair of mystical gems called the Eyes of the Dragon. Zu would eventually use the gems to steal his brother's life essence, granting him immortality. For the next several centuries while building his criminal empire, Zu would steal the life essences of his blood relatives, including from numerous offspring he fathered in order to preserve his longevity. [4] Zu would lose possession of the Eyes but eventually created the Elixir Vitae to prolong his life.

When his daughter Fah Lo Suee was a child, Fu Manchu showed her the Moon, where he told her that he would one day have the power to move one world in order to rule another world.[5]

Fu Manchu was revealed to have the knowledge of Jack the Ripper's methodology.[6]

Fu Manchu later took the woman Mara Ling to be his wife as part of an arranged marriage despite the fact that she loved a blind archer named Li.[7]

Fu Manchu eventually approached a "scientifically perfect" American white woman to be the mother of his son. Enticed by his power, she agreed, resulting in the birth of Shang-Chi.[8]

Tony McKay and Nayland Smith later launched an attack on the Si-Fan, where Fu Manchu had killed McKay and used his Japanese sumo wrestler bodyguard Tak to cripple Smith by crushing his legs. Fu Manchu later introduced schizophrenia to a gorilla which was used as the final guardian of his New York headquarters.[8]

Fu Manchu's African base was struck by the British where many of his followers there were slain. Upon finding a disfigured infant named M'Nai after also finding his parents dead, Fu Manchu decided that he could shape M'Nai into a powerful servant and M'Nai was raised alongside Shang-Chi. M'Nai and Shang-Chi became inseparable, even referring to each other as brothers.[9]

When Shang-Chi was a boy, he heard from K'uei Meng that Fu Manchu had plans to rule the world. When Shang-Chi confronted his father, Fu Manchu dismissed it as slander and Shang-Chi never saw K'uei Meng again.[10]

Another event in Shang-Chi's childhood is that he saw his father thank a dacoit for saving his life. Years later, that same dacoit was killed by Fu Manchu for failing in his mission.[11]

When Shang-Chi bested his fellow student Ah Lung in combat, Fu Manchu demanded that Shang-Chi kill him. Due to Shang-Chi hesitating, Fu Manchu had his guards kill Ah Lung.[12]

When Fu Manchu had his pupil Sho Teng seemingly betray Shang-Chi to M16 agents that were secretly on Fu Manchu's side, Fu Manchu "rescued" Shang-Chi and killed their leader, Death-Dragon, in order to earn Shang-Chi's trust.[13]

When Shang-Chi was 19, Fu Manchu dispatched Shang-Chi to London to kill Dr. Petrie, who was said by Fu Manchu to be a threat to peace. Shang-Chi was successful in killing Petrie and was confronted by Nayland Smith, who told Shang-Chi the truth about his father. After meeting with his mother in New York, who confirmed Smith's claims, Shang-Chi fought his way past Fu Manchu's guards at his New York base, where he tells his father that they are now enemies.[8]

Fu Manchu later dispatched M'Nai, now calling himself Midnight, to kill Shang-Chi, only for Midnight to perish upon falling off a crane and his cape snagging onto a hook.[14]

Fu Manchu sent his Si-Fan assassin Chow Loo to kill Shang-Chi, only to have Chow Loo fail in his mission. When he tried to cover it up, Fu Manchu had him transformed into a gorilla-like creature to fight Shang-Chi in Los Angeles, where he was killed in battle.[15]

Under the alias of Wang Yu-Seng, Fu Manchu planned to kidnap Fah Lo Suee and Shang-Chi to jumpstart the Elixir Vitae, which needed the blood of his own children to return him to full vigor. With the help of Death-Dealer, Fu Manchu captured Shang-Chi and held him hostage in order to get his blood, only for Shang-Chi to escape. Fu Manchu brought Fah Lo Suee to Honan to have her blood as he is pursued by Shang-Chi. To combat Shang-Chi, Fu Manchu unleashed a clone of Shang-Chi to fight Shang-Chi, which ended up being bested by Shang-Chi and killed. When a dying Fu Manchu attempted to lap up the clone's blood to save his life, the fortress began to crumble around him as Shang-Chi left his father to meet his doom.[16]

Determined to rid the world of his father's stain, Shang-Chi traveled to A.I.M. Island to determine what his father's connections with A.I.M. were. His findings were inconclusive.[17]

Fu Manchu employed Zaran the Weapons Master to retrieve a chemical from A.I.M. and later directed him to kill Shang-Chi for him.[18]

Fu Manchu later sent his dacoits to aid Zaran against Shang-Chi and his allies. Although they succeeded in destroying the building that Shang-Chi was in, Zaran failed to slay him.[19]

Using the aliases of Comte de St. Germain and the Ghost, Fu Manchu employed his son, Moving Shadow, as he prepared the Hellfire weapon. He was opposed again by MI-6 and Shang-Chi, with the resulting battle destroying the Hellfire weapon.[20]

Under the alias of Mr. Han, Fu Manchu offered his daughter Kwai Far to the Black Panther as a prospective bride. The Black Panther refused this offer and drove him off with the assistance of Luke Cage and Shang-Chi.[21]

Fu Manchu eventually died sometime after his last encounter with his son. Aloysius Thorndrake of the Shadow Council has somehow partially resurrected Shang-Chi's father, whose real name was revealed to be Zheng Zu (with "Fu Manchu" being one of his many aliases) as the Shadow Council agents are digging for the Eyes of the Dragon. Max Fury (a rogue Life Model Decoy of Nick Fury) then reports to Aloysius that they have found the Eyes of the Dragon. Aloysius and Max then move on to the next part of the plan that involves capturing Shang-Chi and using him to restore Zheng Zu to life.[22]

The Prince of Orphans and the Valkyrie arrive at Zheng Zu's grave, where they find a few Shadow Council agents on guard, knowing that someone would come to the grave. They defeat the Shadow Council agents, take one of them prisoner and have him taken to an unknown location. Meanwhile, Max Fury informs Aloysius Thorndrake about the two unfortunate mishaps. Zheng Zu is not pleased, for there is only two days left to complete the ritual needed to restore himself to life. Aloysius promises to Zheng Zu that Max Fury and John Steele will handle this.[23]

Zheng Zu prepares the ritual that will enable him to use Shang-Chi's life-force to resurrect himself. Disguised as a Shadow Council agent, the Moon Knight gives the signal and the Secret Avengers drop in on the Shadow Council. Captain Steve Rogers fights Max Fury, while the Valkyrie fights John Steele. The Prince of Orphans disrupts the ritual, causing Zheng Zu to turn to stone, which the Prince of Orphans then shatters.[24]

Powers and abilities

Fu Manchu is a genius in every field of knowledge. He is a skilled medical practitioner and surgeon, where he has cultivated various diseases and viruses to use against his allies.

Fu Manchu is a master of disguise and can pass for any member of the human race, while speaking in their languages without any discernable accent.

Fu Manchu is a master of unarmed combat.

He can hypnotize people with his eyes to the point where few men could gaze into his eyes without falling under his control.

With the revelation of his true identity as the ancient sorcerer Zheng Zu, he is a master in the mystic arts and has discovered the means to immortality.

Other versions

Secret Wars (2015)

In Secret Wars, Zheng Zu is the long-reigning emperor of the wuxia-inspired K'un-Lun region of Battleworld. In this continuity, his likeness and abilities are based off the Mandarin, and is known as the Master of the Ten Rings, a martial arts school that uses mystical powers and techniques based off the powers of the Mandarin's ten rings from the mainstream continuity. He is the also father of Shang-Chi, who is wanted for the murder of Lord Tuan, the master of the Iron Fist school, the main rivals of the Ten Rings school. It is later revealed he sent his assassin, Red Sai of the Red Hand school, to assassinate Tuan but ultimately failed. To spare his lover and her students from the emperor's wrath, Shang-Chi killed Tuan; Zu had his son implicated and exiled for the murder to cover his own involvement. Representing the Ten Rings, Emperor Zu hosts the tournament held every thirteen years to decide who the next ruler of K'un-Lun should be, a position he's won for many years. When Shang-Chi returns from his exile to represent his own school, The Lowest Caste, Zu allows him to participate but alters the rules so Shang-Chi would have to defeat every representative before facing him in the Thirteen Chambers. During their fight, Zu attempts to kill his son with the Spectral Touch technique, only for the move to pass through him due to Shang-Chi learning how to become intangible. Shang-Chi proceeds to use nine of the ten techniques against his father and ultimately defeats him with The Gorgon's Eye, which turns him into stone. With Zu's defeat, Shang-Chi becomes the new emperor of K'un-Lun [25]

References

  1. Blogging Marvel’s Master of Kung Fu, Part One
  2. Benson Unleashes Shang-Chi's "Deadly Hands of Kung Fu"
  3. Master of Kung Fu #124. Marvel Comics.
  4. Secret Avengers #8. Marvel Comics.
  5. Master of Kung Fu #48. Marvel Comics.
  6. Master of Kung Fu #100. Marvel Comics.
  7. Master of Kung Fu #114. Marvel Comics.
  8. Special Marvel Edition #15. Marvel Comics.
  9. Special Marvel Edition #16. Marvel Comics.
  10. Master of Kung Fu #19. Marvel Comics.
  11. Master of Kung Fu #25. Marvel Comics.
  12. Marvel Comics Presents #158. Marvel Comics.
  13. Master of Kung Fu #64. Marvel Comics.
  14. Special Marvel Edition #16. Marvel Comics.
  15. The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #4. Marvel Comics.
  16. Master of Kung Fu #115–118. Marvel Comics.
  17. Captain America #412. Marvel Comics.
  18. Marvel Knights #4. Marvel Comics.
  19. Marvel Knights #11–14. Marvel Comics.
  20. Masters of Kung Fu (vol. 2) #1–6. Marvel Comics.
  21. Black Panther (vol. 4) #11. Marvel Comics.
  22. Secret Avengers #6. Marvel Comics.
  23. Secret Avengers #7. Marvel Comics.
  24. Secret Avengers #10. Marvel Comics.
  25. Master of Kung Fu (vol. 2) #1-4 (2015)
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