Appearing in "Midnight Brings Dark Death!"
Synopsis for "Midnight Brings Dark Death!"
Shang-Chi now makes his home in Central Park. A gang tries to mug him, with predictable results. "Skillfully executed, my brother!" says M'Nai, who watched the whole thing from the shadows. Before Shang-Chi can say anything, M'Nai vanishes.
Shang-Chi remembers his history: Fu Manchu found him in an African village that the British had just raided. They were trying to stamp out a biological weapon Fu had created. The village chief was ready to kill the scarred, screaming orphan when Fu stopped him. Fu pointed out that the child did not cry; his screaming came from hatred, not fear or sorrow, and Fu could use that kind of hatred. Fu Manchu put a black hood on M'Nai and raised him alongside Shang-Chi. One day Shang-Chi wanted to look under M'Nai's mask. M'Nai refused, and they fought. Their mutual respect made them friends. Back in the present, M'Nai meets with Fu Manchu, who orders him to kill Shang-Chi.
Shang-Chi encounters a policeman, who realizes that he's wanted for Petrie's murder (last issue). A bamboo tube drops from the roof onto the sidewalk. Shang-Chi knows that M'Nai wants to meet him because that was their means of passing notes in school. After knocking out the cop, Shang-Chi reads the message: a challenge to mortal combat. They meet at midnight at Broadway and Houston. M'Nai attacks with knife, nunchaku, fists, and words. The policeman appears with reinforcements, interrupting the fight, but only temporarily. M'Nai finds Shang-Chi first and attacks with bo and shuriken. They move to a construction site, where Shang-Chi finds a pipe to counter M'Nai's bo. Still outmatched, he climbs a crane to evade M'Nai and then realizes his problem: "I have never felt the death-power in my limbs tonight! ... I have never been more than the fly, however bravely I buzzed!" He can't bring himself to kill his only friend. M'Nai solves his problem for him, though. From atop the crane he kicks at Shang-Chi, misses, and falls. His cloak catches on the crane's hook. His neck snaps. Shang-Chi thinks for a moment about removing M'Nai's mask to see how he is scarred ... but he already knows.
- Special Marvel Edition changed its title but not its numbering after this issue.
- The character Midnight (M'Nai) should not be confused with Midnight (Jeff Wilde) or Midnight Man; however, Midnight Sun is a later incarnation of M'nai. M'Nai makes a chronologically earlier appearance in the second story in Iron Man, annual #4. He also appears in flashback in this issue. Midnight chronologically appears next in flashback in Master of Kung Fu, #41.
- Midnight was a copy of DC's Shadow. Unfortunately, DC had already acquired the rights to a Golden Age character named Midnight. See the Grand Comics Database article on this issue.
- Roy Thomas consulted with Edward Summer (Ed Summer) for the design of Shang Chi. Summer contributed the dragon-shaped scar on Shang Chi's arm which was based upon characters appearing in early Chinese martial arts films. This set-up was to pay off in a confrontation between Shang Chi and a character with a snake-shaped scar on his arm.
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