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Quote1 My father has often said to me: "A man may not be too careful in his choice of enemies, for once he has chosen... he has forfeited a friend." These are words my father has lived by, for he is Fu Manchu, and his life is his word. Quote2



Zheng Zu and his younger brother Zheng Yi were powerful sorcerers born during the 18th century in China. The two brothers and their five disciples, the Deadly Warriors, formed the Five Weapons Society to protect China.[8] 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), Three Staffs (Staff), Nine Daggers (Dagger), and Ten Rings (Hand).[11] Through the use of longevity spells, the Sorcerer Brothers lived decades beyond their natural lifespans, outliving their original disciples and leaving them old and weak during the Opium Wars in the next century. During a battle with the British Army, the Five Weapons Society suffered a horrible defeat by Dormammu and his Mindless Ones, resulting in the deaths of the then current lineup of Deadly Warriors and Yi receiving mortal wounds. With the Eyes of the Dragon, Zu attempted to revive his brother and restore his youth at the cost of his own life, but Yi reversed the spell due to not wanting to rule the Society alone, sacrificing himself to restore Zu's youth and power. Zu led the Society alone from then, but without his kindhearted brother's influence he became increasingly ruthless and corrupt, transforming the Society into a vast criminal empire. To instill fear, Zu lied about Yi's death, claiming he murdered Yi for his perceived weakness and stole his life energy to augment his own.[12]

Over the years, Zheng Zu learned the martial arts, the various scientific disciplines, and esoteric knowledge at a monastery.[13] In the modern day, Zheng Zu adopted the name "Fu Manchu" and created the false origin that he was empowered by the Elixir of Life. Like with his name, the Society would go through different aliases over the years, beginning with the Celestial Order of the Si-Fan and eventually the Order of the Golden Dawn and the Celestial Order of the Hai-Dai.[14] He became a crimelord, the shadow emperor of a worldwide invisible empire with a globe-spanning army of highly trained fanatical killers.[15][5][16][17] At his command were the killers of various cults and secret societies, including; the Dacoits, the Thugees, the Phansigars, the Hashishin, the Jezails,[18] and others. "Fu Manchu" had the intellect of three geniuses and the world's most beautiful women as his pawns.[5]

20th century[]

It was during the Boxer Rebellion that Zheng Zu led the Five Weapons Society against the invaders only to learn that the House of the Deadly Sabre had fallen to the foreigners. Zheng Zu reprimanded the Deadly Warriors for not properly preparing for such an assault. Commander Sabre begged for forgiveness and mercy for his failure; Zu then let Sabre in on a old secret before decapitating him: Zheng Yi had similarly been weak and, rather than being held back, he murdered his own brother and stole his spirit energy to augment his own. When he realized that China could not remain isolated from the rest of the world, he set up bases across the globe establishing new strongholds in England, Japan, Russia, and France.[19]

Zheng Zu discovered the existence of a gateway to Ta Lo on Earth and planned to steal the Five Sets of Heavenly Weapons to bolster the Five Weapons Society.[11] Upon arriving at Qilin Island, Zu was betrayed and left for dead by pirates under his service but was rescued by Jiang Li of the Qilin Riders. While being nursed back to health, Zu and Jiang Li fell in love with each other. When Jiang Li's father, Chieftain Xin, discovered Zu's presence on the island, he ordered his daughter to execute the trespasser but the two fled to the House of the Deadly Hand. When she discovered that Zu led a criminal organization, Jiang Li attempted to leave him but Zu promised to change his evil ways. The two married and had two children: son Shang-Chi and daughter Shi-Hua. Within the first few years into his marriage, Zheng Zu grew to genuinely love his family.[20] However, following an attack by Hydra against the House of the Deadly Hand, Zu became cold and distant towards his family, as he felt that his love for them made him weak, and resumed his plans to infiltrate Ta Lo. Xin and Jiang Li confronted Zu in his personal tower, where they discovered he had constructed a makeshift portal to Ta Lo. While Zu fought his wife and father-in-law, Shang-Chi happened upon the scene, just as the portal's connection to Ta Lo became disconnected and Jiang Li was accidentally pushed through, sending her to the Negative Zone. Zu and Xin blamed each other for Jiang Li's presumed death and each tried convincing Shang-Chi to join them. Shang-Chi sided with his father and threw one of Zu's chemicals at Xin's face, blinding and leaving a scar across his right eye. Xin denounced Shang-Chi to be as evil as his father and fled. Zu subsequently placed a memory spell on Shang-Chi, making him forget the incident.[21]

During their childhood, Shang-Chi and Shi-Hua accidentally discovered one of their father's secret laboratories in his Hunan retreat. As punishment, their father told Shang-Chi that he gave Shi-Hua a merciful death, explaining that the luxury of human bonds was weakness. In truth, he secretly sent Shi-Hua to the House of the Deadly Hammer in Russia. Shang-Chi would continue to be raised in isolation in his father's Hunan retreat.[14]

Like with Shang-Chi and Shi-Hua, their father selected several of his other children to be raised in the Society's other Houses as their respective champions, with daughter Zhilan[22] and an unnamed son at the House of the Deadly Staff in England, son Takeshi at the House of the Deadly Sabre in Japan and daughter Esme at the House of the Deadly Dagger in France. When Zhilan voiced her plans to reform the Society, Zheng Zu ordered Brother Sabre to assassinate her, who instead chose to spare her and helped fake her death. Unbeknownst to both, their father ordered her death due to her status as a mutant, whom Zu believed were colonial threats.[22]

Sometime later, Zu began going by the name Fu Manchu. One of his earlier attempts global domination was by kidnapping the leaders of the League of Nations[23] In 1933, he was stopped by Denis Nayland Smith, Lyman Leeks, and James Petrie.[23]

Modern Day[]

When Shang-Chi turned 19 years old, Fu Manchu sent him on his first mission: to assassinate James Petrie. After assassinating Petrie in his London home, Shang-Chi was confronted by Smith, who told him the truth about his father. Realizing that his father was evil, Shang-Chi defected from him, sparking the beginning of a years-long conflict with him.[5]

His first attempt to conquer the United States by dispersing a mind control chemical via the exhaust produced by automobiles was thwarted by Shang-Chi.[24] Later Spider-Man and Shang-Chi stopped his attempt to brainwash the citizens of the United States via television using a transmitter installed on the Empire State Building.[25] Fu Manchu then attempted to manipulate China and the United States into a war against each other, but was foiled by Iron Fist, Shang-Chi and the Sons of the Tiger.[26]

Shang-Chi and MI6 later stopped Fu Manchu from knocking the Moon out of orbit, thereby bringing chaos to Earth and giving him the opportunity to conquer it.[27] Fu Manchu then brought together several shadowy and criminal secret societies (the Thugees, the Leopard Cult, the Three-Cornered Sight, the Hashishin, the Twenty-Third Sect, the Light-Seekers, the Templars, the Phansigars,[28] the Followers of the Left-Hand Path, and his own Celestial Order of the Si-Fan) under an umbrella secret society, the Order of the Golden Dawn.[29] Using these new assets he attempted to sow chaos and start World War III via using mind control on U.N. representatives, creating "UFO" incidents, and attempting to detonate a nuclear weapon in New York before being stopped by Shang-Chi.[29][30][31]

For many years, he was inactive and believed dead, In the time he remained dead, his criminal empire split into factions: the Sleeping Dragon Clan (led by Chiang Kai-Dong), the Steel Lotus Group (led by Hsien Ming-Ho), the Wild Tiger Mob (led by Deng Ling-Xiao), and the Coiled Serpent Syndicate (led by Mao Liu-Cho).[32] Using the codename Cursed Lotus, his daughter Zheng Bao Yu teamed up with Deng Ling-Xiao and the Wild Tiger Mob and together they marketed a drug called Wild Tiger; the cartel was dismantled by Shang-Chi.[33][34][35]

The Si-Fan was commanded by the Kingpin, who implemented a clan of Cyber-Ninjas, Shang-Chi allied with the X-Men[32] and Elektra against the Kingpin.[36]

After returning, Zheng Zu recommenced his war with Shang-Chi. First he had Zaran (Zhou Man She) retrieve a chemical agent from A.I.M. Zaran infiltrated an A.I.M. facility, killed everyone in it, and brought him the chemical agent.[37] He then had Zaran lead a team of Dacoits against Shang-Chi and his allies which was a diversion, as the true target, Spector Tower, was destroyed in a great explosion.[38] He later built the Hellfire Weapon which could destroy cities, before being foiled once again by Shang-Chi and MI6.[39] During this period, he used the name the Comte de Saint Germain.[4]

As the Black Panther was touring in the United States looking for a wife, Fu Manchu had him followed by his ninjas to Luke Cage's flat.[40] The ninjas attacked the two heroes but were forced to retreat, allowing the pair to infiltrate their ship and then Zheng Zu's Mountain Base.[6]

Going now by the name of "Han", Fu Manchu offered his daughter Kwai Far to T'Challa, hoping to unite their kingdoms. But as the Panther refused the offer, feeling he was bound to someone else, Han got angry, rejecting his daughter and unleashing his ninjas over the two heroes, soon rejoined by his son Shang-Chi. Cage, T'Challa, and Shang-Chi managed to defeat the ninjas and dodge the Dragon, and all left the fortress along with Kwai Far.[6]

The Shadow Council[]

The Shadow Council would resurrect Fu Manchu at some point after his death. However, without the proper materials, he was stuck in a temporary undead state. In order to fully resurrect him, they needed to collect the Eyes of the Dragon and sacrifice a relative. After the eyes were located, they decided to capture and sacrifice Shang-Chi. The Shadow Council created a diversion to draw out Shang-Chi and the Secret Avengers so that they could capture him. After Shang-Chi was captured by the Celestial Order of the Hai-Dai, Zheng Zu told Shang-Chi he planned on killing him. Shang-Chi then revealed he had discovered his true origins, but Zheng Zu dismissively said it did not matter. Zheng Zu then took Shang to a hidden temple in the mountains where all the proper resources would be found. However, his plans were foiled by the Moon Knight, who had infiltrated the Shadow Council, and used a tracer to let the Secret Avengers discover the temple. Amidst the chaos, The Prince of Orphans, an old enemy of Zheng Zu, destroyed the glyph powering the ritual. As a result, Zheng Zu died and his body turned to stone. To ensure his death remained permanent, John shattered his body. This created a magical backlash of energy that caused the whole temple to collapse.[41]

Life After Death[]

After Zheng Zu's death, their organizations were inherited by their children.

Zheng Bao Yu assumed the leadership of the Hai-Dai; they set up a lab under Chinatown in New York City, where they continued a long-forgotten experiment of Zheng Zu by bio-engineering Brood (or rather "genetic mutations spawned from tainted Brood DNA") which they used for assassinations, until the Defenders' the Valkyrie and Misty Knight recruited Elsa Bloodstone in their inquiry about monsters in Chinatown, and tracked down the lab. During the fight against the Brood, the Hai Dai, and Zheng Bao Yu, the Defenders were joined by No-Name of Brood.[42]

The leadership of the Five Weapons Society was passed down to his son Brother Staff. Following Staff's murder at the hands of Zu's daughter Shi-Hua to usurp control, Zu's spirit chose Shang-Chi as his successor. Despite this, Shi-Hua named herself Supreme Commander, prompting a civil war between the Houses of the Society.[8] After Shang-Chi was named Supreme Commander, Zheng Zu's spirit congratulated his son, remarking that he was destined to become just like him.[43] When Shang-Chi and his siblings were imprisoned in Ta-Lo, Zheng Zu's ghost appeared before him again, which Zu claimed was possible due to Shang-Chi inheriting his mother's psionic abilities. Zu warned his son that Xin was on his way to destroy Shang-Chi and his siblings and urged him to take the Ten Rings, which the Jade Emperor kept sealed away from his throne room. Not wanting to give in to the same dark temptations that had corrupted his father, Shang-Chi refused. When Xin, empowered by a Taotie Mask, arrived at the dungeon to destroy the Zheng linage once and for all, Shang-Chi reluctantly allowed Zu to guide him to the vault containing the Ten Rings. After Shang-Chi was able to secure the rings, Zu congratulated him accomplishing what he could not.[11] As Shang-Chi fought Xin with the Ten Rings, Zu attempted to influence his son into killing Xin. Shang-Chi resisted Zu, which allowed Xin to take six of the Rings from him. At their second skirmish at the New House of the Deadly Hand, Shang-Chi lost his remaining Rings to Xin. Zu told his son that his fear of the becoming his father was preventing him from wielding the Ten Rings and urged him to embrace his desire to save his family and New York City. Shang-Chi reluctantly gave in to Zu's wishes, reclaiming the Ten Rings from Xin and unlocking their full power but also giving him the likeness and personality of his father. Before Shang-Chi could execute Xin, his family talked him down which freed Shang-Chi from Zu's influence. Zu furiously denounced Shang-Chi as a coward before his spirit disappeared.[44]

Fathers and Sons[]

Several turncoat members of the Five Weapons Society dissatisfied with Shang-Chi's rule hatched a plan to resurrect Zheng Zu and reinstate him as Supreme Leader. After recovering Zu's remains, they captured Zu's descendant Falo and prepared to sacrifice him to summon a younger Zu at the height of his power from the past. The ritual was interrupted by Shang-Chi and his siblings, who were able to close the portal but left Shang-Chi trapped in early 19th century China during the Opium Wars. Zu, Yi, and the Deadly Warriors were being pursued by Constable Yuan, a former ally of Zu, and the Imperial Authorities. Shang-Chi was able to rescue the group with the Ten Rings. Using a fake name, Shang-Chi accompanied the Society back to their hideout and was surprised by his father's amiable and heroic personality. When alerted to a disturbance in the city, Shang-Chi joined Zu and the two rescued Yuan and his men from being attacked by British forces, which was revealed to be a trap set up by Yuan to arrest Zu. Zu was shot by Yuan, which enraged Shang-Chi and caused him to fall under the Ten Rings' influence. Before Shang-Chi could kill Yuan, Zu talked him down by warning him that killing Yuan would make Shang-Chi no different than him. As Shang-Chi nursed Zu's wounds at the Society hideout, Zu confessed that a part of him wanted Shang-Chi to kill Yuan but that Yi reminded him that it wasn't part of the Society's goals, revealing that the words he spoke to Shang-Chi earlier came from Yi. The portal back to the present opened up and Shang-Chi left Zu on friendly terms. Due to what he experienced in the past, Shang-Chi and his siblings buried their father's bones next to Yi's grave, gave him full funeral rites, honored the good man that he once was and vowed to uphold his old legacy.[45]



Sorcerer: Zheng Zu is a powerful sorcerer with several magic-based abilities, including striking and moving human targets from a distance, and causing explosions with his spells.[1]

  • Energy Manipulation
    • Energy Blasts
    • Enhanced Punch: Zheng Zu is able to imbue his fists with magical energy, greatly strengthening his strikes.[21]
  • Flight: Through the use of sorcery, Zheng Zu is capable of flight.[8]
  • Telekinesis.[8]
  • Prolonged Longevity: Through the use of longevity spells, Zheng Zu is able to live longer than his natural lifespan. However, his body still grew old and weak. With his brother's sacrifice through the Eyes of the Dragon, Zu's youth was restored, making him resemble a man within his prime well into the modern age.[46]
  • Memory Spell: Zheng Zu is capable of casting memory spells, making his son Shang-Chi forget certain memories from his childhood.[21] However, Shang-Chi was able to recall bits and moments from his erased memories and it wasn't until Jiang Li explained his past to him that he was able to recover them completely.[47]


  • Genius-Level Intellect: Fu Manchu invented the mind control drug mimosa which could be dispersed in the atmosphere,[24] developed a transmitter to brainwash people via television,[25] built a huge subterranean mountain fortress, made plans to knock the Moon from its orbit, built the Hellfire lighting ray weapon which could destroy cities,[39] genetically engineered "aliens",[31] created giant arthropods (spiders, scorpions, praying mantises, etc.),[48][28] and mutate human-animal hybrids.[49]
  • Unarmed Combat: Skilled in all of the martial arts that were known and unknown to mankind.[13]
  • Master of Disguise: Being able to even fool Shang-Chi, his own son.[24]
  • Hypnotism: Skilled in animal magnetism (a.k.a. mystic hypnotism).[13]



The Elixir of Life, an orbiting satellite,[30] mind control devices.[50]


Directed energy cannons,[51] a lightning weapon,[39] giant mutated creatures (insects, arachnids, and reptiles),[52][28] and human-animal hybrid mutates.[53]


A space shuttle, UFO-like vehicles, a space station, and stealth bombers (similar to the F-117 Nighthawk).[27][31][39]


  • Fu Manchu was originally created by British pulp novelist Sax Rohmer (real name: Arthur Sarsfield Ward) and was the eponymous antagonist in several novels and anthologies published between 1913 and 1959. Fu Manchu's greatest adversaries were Sir Denis Nayland Smith and Doctor Petrie (also creations of Sax Rohmer). Fu's famous son, Shang-Chi, is a character unique to the Marvel Universe and has no pulp era counterpart. As Marvel Comics Entertainment no longer maintains the license to use Fu Manchu as a character, he is seldom referenced in comics but does occasionally appear under an assumed name. His daughter, Fah Lo Suee, is also a creation of Rohmer, and is also called by other names. The Marvel Comics version of Fu Manchu was first developed by Roy Thomas and Steve Englehart.
  • On Earth-616 Fu Manchu is a real person, but most people believe him to be a fictional character:
  • In Sax Rohmer's novels the Si-Fan, the Dacoits and the Thugees are groups that serve Fu Manchu; although in real life, the names "Thugees" and "Phansigars" refer to the same group, but in the comics they were portrayed as distinct.[54]
  • The Thugees are recognized as worshipers of the Goddess Kali. This connection is not shown in the comics; however, in Marvel Atlas #2, the Cult of Kali is said to be part of Fu Manchu's Si-Fan.[55]
  • Han is the name of the villain in Enter the Dragon, starring Bruce Lee; this fact is mentioned by Luke Cage,[6] Han appears on the cover of The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #17. A scene from the film with Bruce Lee and actor Shih Kien (as Han) appears in The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #28.
    • Han has been compared to Fu Manchu.
  • Although the Order of Hai-Dai is mentioned in Shang-Chi and Shang-Chi (Vol. 2), the same was not true of Zheng Bao Yu. Apparently, Shi-Hua was created to replace her, as Bao Yu is a version of Fah Lo Suee, the daughter of Fu Manchu.
  • There is also no mention of other groups like the Phansigars and the Dacoits or even the time when the Kingpin controlled the Si-Fan and implemented Si-Fan Cyber-Ninjas.
  • The Mandarin, Plan Chu and Zheng Zu all claim to be descendants of Genghis Khan.[56]

See Also

Links and References


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Secret Avengers #8
  2. Master of Kung Fu #19
  3. Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu #5
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu #1
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Special Marvel Edition #15
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Black Panther (Vol. 4) #11
  7. Master of Kung Fu #115
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Shang-Chi #1
  9. Secret Avengers #6
  10. Secret Avengers #10
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Shang-Chi (Vol. 2) #11
  12. Shang-Chi #34
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Master of Kung Fu #124
  14. 14.0 14.1 Shang-Chi #2
  15. Marvel Encyclopedia #Marvel Knights ; Shang-Chi's entry
  16. Master of Kung Fu #21
  17. Master of Kung Fu #27
  18. Marvel Knights #13
  19. Shang-Chi #3
  20. Shang-Chi (Vol. 2) #7
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Shang-Chi (Vol. 2) #8
  22. 22.0 22.1 Shang-Chi (Vol. 2) #3
  23. 23.0 23.1 Master of Kung Fu #81
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Master of Kung Fu #18
  25. 25.0 25.1 Giant-Size Spider-Man #2
  26. Kung Fu Special #1
  27. 27.0 27.1 Master of Kung Fu #4850
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Master of Kung Fu #118
  29. 29.0 29.1 Master of Kung Fu #83
  30. 30.0 30.1 Master of Kung Fu #86
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Master of Kung Fu #89
  32. 32.0 32.1 X-Men (Vol. 2) #6263
  33. Journey Into Mystery #514
  34. Journey Into Mystery #515
  35. Journey Into Mystery #516
  36. Elektra (Vol. 2) #16
  37. Marvel Knights #4
  38. Marvel Knights #1214
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu #6
  40. Black Panther (Vol. 4) #10
  41. Secret Avengers #710
  42. Fearless Defenders #8
  43. Shang-Chi #5
  44. Shang-Chi (Vol. 2) #12
  45. Shang-Chi: Master of the Ten Rings #1
  46. Shang-Chi #4
  47. Shang-Chi (Vol. 2) #4
  48. Master of Kung Fu #49
  49. Master of Kung Fu (Vol. 2) #3
  50. Master of Kung Fu #84
  51. Master of Kung Fu #4849
  52. Master of Kung Fu #116
  53. Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #4
  54. Cult of Kali at the Marvel Appendix
  55. Marvel Atlas #2 ; Egypt's entry
  56. Marvel Book #1