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The Five Weapons Society is an organization of martial artists and assassins comprising of five Houses, each dedicated to one weapon. Originally created by Zheng Zu, Zheng Yi, and the Deadly Warriors to protect China, the Society later devolved into a cult-like criminal organization with the aim of world domination, but now serves for the good of mankind under the leadership of Shang-Chi.

History

Origins

Although the exact date is unknown, the Five Weapons Society was founded by the sorcerers Zheng Zu and Zheng Yi and their five disciples, the Deadly Warriors. The Society was active during the 1700s, where it protected the Tianjin Prefecture from Fin Fang Foom after its governor built his mansion on the land's dragon lines. Due to the longevity spells cast upon them, the Sorcerer Brothers outlived their disciples and established five Houses in their honor.[1]

In 1860, the Society protected China from the British Army during the Opium Wars. During a battle in Shanghai, a sorcerer in service to the British Army, Baron Harkness, summoned Dormammu's Mindless Ones from the Dark Dimension, resulting in the deaths of the Deadly Warriors and the mortal wounding of Yi. With the Eyes of the Dragon Zu attempted to restore his younger brother's power and youth at the cost of his own life, but not wanting to lead the Society alone, Yi turned the spell on Zu while sacrificing himself in the process, rejuvenating Zu's youth and strength, giving him enough power to destroy Harkness and the Mindless Ones. From that point forward, Zu led the Society alone.[2]

In 1900, the Society aided the Boxers during the Boxer Rebellion but failed to prevent the destruction of the House of the Deadly Sabre by the Eight Nation Alliance. Having became bitter and corrupt without his brother's guidance and disillusioned with the Qing Empire, Zu renounced his country and allies, dismissing them as weak. Zu subsequently relocated four of the five Houses into countries that had aggressed against the Society, with the Deadly Sabre relocated to Japan, the House of the Deadly Staff to England, the House of the Deadly Hammer to Russia, and the House of the Deadly Dagger to France. Only the House of the Deadly Hand remained in China, which also served as his main base of operations.[3]

Restructuring

In the following years, each of the five Houses became supplemented with scores of Warriors, with the best ones being named the Champion of their house. Several of Zu's children would be raised in each of the Houses, with five of them each emerging as Champion. Zu would shift the Society's goals from protecting China to destroying the Western world, adopting the moniker "Fu Manchu" to strike fear into his enemies. He would also change the Society's name several times, including the Si-Fan, Order of the Golden Dawn, and Order of the Hai-Dai.[4] Despite the changing times, the Society retained the image it had during the Qing Dynasty, with all of its members still wearing clothing of the era well into the 21st century. Members who were raised within the confines of the Society had little to no exposure to modern culture, including Zu's children.

Master of Kung Fu

Zu's son Shang-Chi was raised from infancy to be the Society's ultimate warrior. During his upbringing, Shang-Chi was unaware of the Society's true name or goals, nor the fact that he was the designated Champion of the House of the Deadly Hand. After discovering his father's evil nature, Shang-Chi defected from the organization, sparking a years long conflict with his father's criminal empire that resulted in Zu's death and the destruction of the House of the Deadly Hand.[1]

Struggle for Leadership

Following Zu's death, leadership of the Society was passed onto his son, Brother Staff, who shifted the Society's goals to monetary gain, including drug dealing. Dissatisfied with this direction, Zu's daughter Sister Hammer usurped control of the Society from Staff. Despite Zheng Zu's spirit naming Shang-Chi as his successor, Hammer named herself Supreme Commander of the Society. While the Warriors of the Deadly Staff and Hammer pledged their loyalty to her, the remaining House Champions Brother Sabre and Sister Dagger sought out Shang-Chi for him to reclaim his rightful place as the legitimate ruler. To bolster her forces, Hammer revived her father's experiments with jiangshi, eventually raising an undead army to attack London. With the combined efforts of Shang-Chi, Sabre, Dagger, Master Ling, the Warriors of the Deadly Dagger, and Leiko Wu, the jiangshi army was destroyed and Hammer fled from the Society. Shang-Chi was subsequently named Supreme Commander with the four remaining Houses swearing fealty to him. Embracing his role as leader, Shang-Chi vowed to return the Society to its nobler roots.[5]

Supreme Commander Shang-Chi

As the new Supreme Commander, Shang-Chi worked diligently to undo Zheng Zu's evil influence over the Society, including shutting down a rogue drug ring still loyal to his father in New York City.[6] When a Cosmic Cube was up for bid in Macau, Shang-Chi and Brother Sabre attended the auction as representatives of the Society to prevent the Cube from being purchased by the other attending criminal organizations.[7] Due to the disappearance of the original House of the Deadly Hand following Zheng Zu's death, Shang-Chi had a new House built in New York City's Chinatown, which also served as the main headquarters for the Society. Shang-Chi was able to convince his exiled half-sister Zheng Zhilan to rejoin the Society as its new Sister Staff.[8] Despite Shang-Chi's efforts to reform the Society, several of his superhero allies became wary of his involvement with his father's criminal empire. After the Cosmic Cube Shang-Chi acquired from Macau and gave to Captain America was revealed to be a fake, the Avengers became convinced that Shang-Chi had embraced his father's evil ways. The Avengers, Spider-Man and Mister Fantastic confronted Shang-Chi and the Society at the House of the Deadly Sabre, leading to a brawl. When it was revealed that Brother Sabre had stolen the Cube without Shang-Chi's knowledge, Shang-Chi handed him to the Avengers and returned the Cube.[9]

Unbeknownst to Shang-Chi, several enemies Shang-Chi made under the reformed Five Weapons Society were recruited by Chieftain Xin, who held a grudge against Zheng Zu and his bloodline ever since Zu attempted to steal sacred weapons from Ta-Lo to bolster the Society in the past.[10] Believing Shang-Chi to be just as corrupt as his father, Xin dispatched his allies to assassinate his grandson at the House of the Deadly Hand, but were thwarted by the Society. However, the would-be assassins were able to escape by taking Xin's daughter and Shang-Chi's mother Jiang Li hostage.[10] When Xin created several Taotie to destroy anyone who carried the blood of Zheng Zu, Shang-Chi rescued and reinstated Brother Sabre and Sister Hammer back into the Society. With the reestablished Warriors of the Deadly Hand, the Society was able to build a gateway connecting the New House of the Deadly Hand to Ta-Lo, which Shang-Chi and the House Champions took to rescue Jiang Li and to stop Xin.[11] Jiang Li was able to escape her imprisonment and fled to the House of the Deadly Hand to warn the Society of an attack from the Qilin Riders, who were equipped with Taotie Masks. The Society then engaged in battle with the Riders to defend their headquarters.[12] The Riders were eventually joined by Xin, who possessed six of the Ten Rings. Shang-Chi and his siblings arrived with the remaining four Rings, but Xin was able to claim them from Shang-Chi and ordered his men to attack New York City. Shang-Chi was forced to give in to his dark desires to reclaim the Ten Rings, which unlocked their full potential but also gave him the appearance and personality of Zheng Zu. Shang-Chi was able to easily defeat Xin and the Qilin Riders with the Ten Rings but nearly executed Xin until his family intervened, which brought him back to his senses. The Five Weapons Society repaired the damage done to the city and tended to wounded civilians, which revealed their existence and Shang-Chi's leadership to the public but their actions lauded them as heroes, repairing Shang-Chi's relationship with the Avengers.[13]

Paraphernalia

Weapons

Various weapons of Chinese origin, including swords, staves, daggers, war hammers, bows and arrows and cannons.

Transportation

Five Weapons Society Aircraft

Trivia

  • The structure and naming system of the Five Weapons Society was inspired by the legend of Ta-Lo's Five Sets of Heavenly Weapons, which consisted of the One Hammer (Hammer), Two Swords (Sabre), Nine Daggers (Dagger), Three Staffs (Staff) and Ten Rings (Hand).[12]
  • According to Gene Luen Yang, the inspiration for the Five Weapons Society was the five elements of Eastern culture: Fire (Hand), Water (Dagger), Wood (Staff), Metal (Sabre) and Earth (Hammer).[14]

See Also

Links and References

References

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