Shang Chi is another Marvel character that recently got introduced to the wider audiences through the MCU. Although he got a standalone solo movie as an introduction to his character, the fans were left wanting to see more of this character. The next step is pretty clear, check out the comic books, but which ones among the many out there are the best.
If you found yourself in a similar situation make sure to read this article all the way through since it offers a list of the 15 best Shang Chi comic books.
1. The Rampage of Razor-Fist
If you paid close attention while watching the trailer for the new Shang Chi movie you may have seen Razor-Fist slicing his way through a San Francisco bus.
While the name Razor-Fist has been used by a number of villains in Marvel Comics, William Young was the original Razor-Fist. Razor-Fist, an assassin working for eccentric drugs dealer Carlton Velcro, first battles Shang-Chi in “Master of Kung-Fu” #29-31. (1975).
Shang-Chi accepts a task from Nayland Smith to enter Velcro’s castle on the French coast in order to stop the drug lord, only to run across Razor-Fist.
Razor-Fist is a dangerous opponent for even the world’s most accomplished martial artist, with both hands replaced by steel blades, and Shang-Chi must think and act quickly if he hopes to disable him.
Razor-Fist is an important member of Shang-rogues Chi’s gallery, despite having one of the sillier names of any Marvel supervillain and this comic book makes for a great introduction to the character.
Death-Dealer, a masked warrior from the Marvel Comics universe, will make his debut on-screen appearance in the MCU. The villain first appeared in “Master of Kung Fu” #115 (1982) as MI-6 agent Li Ching-Lin, who is secretly loyal to Fu Manchu.
Shang-initial Chi’s encounter with Li causes him to lose faith in his newfound father figure, Nayland Smith and makes him vulnerable to Death-next Dealer’s strike.
The villain, armed with a grenade launcher, a three-bladed weapon, and a deck of cards, lives up to his moniker. Death-Dealer, who is played by Andy Le in MCU’s Shang Chi movie can be seen mercilessly teaching young Shang-Chi in the teaser.
Although the movie Death-Dealer appears to have a different history than the comic version, he is no less deadly and this storyline showcases that in a perfect way.
3. Heroes for Hire
Shang-Chi joins the Heroes for Hire alongside fellow street-level superheroes Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, Black Cat, Tarantula, and Humbug as the cataclysmic events of 2006’s “Civil War” narrative send shockwaves throughout the Marvel Universe.
After a series of escapades, the incarnation of the team is killed out in “Heroes for Hire” #15 (2007), a stunning last issue that finds Shang-Chi pushed to the limit.
Colleen Wing and Tarantula, Maria Vasquez, who had become close to Shang-Chi are kidnapped and tortured by nerve maggots, which are as horrific as they seem.
Shang-Chi follows Humbug alone into the vaults beneath Madison Square Garden, unable to allow the traitor who injured Maria to escape. Shang-Chi discovers his erstwhile buddy, transformed beyond recognition as the Brood Queen’s progeny’s dying host, and makes a decision that will cost him everything.
The ending of this story is one of the most memorable and fans often bring this issue u while discussing great Shang Chi comic books. This should be more than enough evidence to convince you to check this out.
4. Eyes of the Dragon
In Shang-history, Chi’s Fu Manchu has long been a bothersome character. Fu Manchu is a racist caricature expressing the white supremacist concern that East-Asian cultures are an existential danger to the western world.
He is a licensed character not owned by Marvel and a notorious example of a “Yellow Peril” villain. Other Sax Rohmer figures were eased out of the comics, including Shang Chi’s adored mentor Sir Nayland Smith, but because Fu Manchu was Shang Chi’s father, their relationship was more difficult to unravel.
This problematic element of Marvel history is retconned in “Eyes of the Dragon,” a narrative that runs through “Secret Avengers” #6-10 (2010).
Shang-Chi discovers his actual identity: Zheng Zu, an ancient master of arcane techniques, as the Shadow Council prepares to sacrifice his life energy to revive his father.
The hero’s despotic father is recast as Wenwu in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” yet this narrative is a crucial update for current viewers, which is why this story is the one worth checking out.
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” isn’t the only new MCU film scheduled for release in 2021. Shadowland: Spider-Man is the comic for you if you’re excited for “Spider-Man: No Way Home” in December and want to envision what a Shang-Chi and Spider-Man team-up might look like.
The possessed Daredevil takes control of the Hand ninja clan and rules Hell’s Kitchen in the “Shadowland” storyline. Many of Marvel’s low-level heroes are caught in the crossfire, and “Shadowland: Spider-Man” is a stand-alone story that pits Shang-Chi and Spidey against Mister Negative and his Inner Demons.
Something goes awry when Mister Negative uses his powers to bring forth Shang-inner Chi’s evil, forcing him to turn against Spider-Man. It’s a superhero comic, after all, and there’s no such thing as a team-up without first bashing each other up.
6. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
The Ten Rings, previously mentioned in the title of the new Marvel movie are the center of this story, thus no comic book is a better introduction for Shang-Chi than this one.
The rings shown in the film will not be 100% comic accurate; as seen in the trailers and promotional materials, they are bigger bands meant to be worn on the wearer’s arms like bracelets, rather than finger-sized jeweled rings. Despite this, the Ten Rings are significant figures in Marvel history, dating back to Tales of Suspense #50 in 1964.
The Ten Rings, a nebulous force with abilities like ice blasts and disintegration beams, get a new origin in “Invincible Iron Man” #522.
The Mandarin describes how he discovered a crashed spacecraft in China’s “Valley of Spirits” cave to Tony Stark. The Ten Rings are not “rings” at all, but rather bits of extraterrestrial technology, each endowed with the power of a deceased cosmic warrior’s spirit.
Since the rings are such a huge part of his story any Shang Chi fan should check this comic book out t get a better understanding of them and how they work.
7. The 2020 Shang Chi miniseries
The 2020 Shang-Chi miniseries by Gene-Luen Yang, Dike Ruan, and Philip Tan feature everything you love about martial arts fiction. The art, action, and emotional stakes are all intertwined in a magnificent tapestry that is both intricate and simple to follow.
Shang Chi’s family, particularly his father, has shaped his existence and since a young age, he has never been able to escape the shadow of his father towering big over his history.
In this story, he must compete against his brothers in a struggle for his and his family’s survival, while both honoring and defying historical customs.
For fans of the character, it’s a must-read. The story further explores his origin story that is often left quite unexplored and this issue offers a deeper look into the character’s backstory.
8. Agents of Atlas
The Agents of Atlas comic has been adapted into numerous amazing adaptations, each with its unique take on the heroic squad. In Greg Pak and Nico Leon’s 2019 series, a squad of covert agents is led by master spy Jimmy Woo and Shang-Chi is only one of the series’ many fantastic heroes.
When a new city with teleportation portals that open into the world is attacked, the heroes must fight dragons, high-tech troops, and the perils of media broadcasts to halt the assault and defend the city.
Silk, Amadeus Cho, Aero, and White Fox are among Shang Chi’s allies. This book is one of the greatest team stories in recent years, combining amazing action, high-stakes adventure, lighter character moments, and speculative sci-fi.
Another thing this comic book is praised for is its Asian character representation since all of the characters featured in the story are either Asian or of Asian descent.
9. Spider-Island: Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu
Spider Islan is one of the most interesting cross-overs in the entire Marvel history. It takes on an extremely unique storyline, asking the question of what would happen that everyone in New York got spidey powers at the same time.
The cross-over brought in so many interesting characters regardless of how little their powers fit the spider theme set in the comic book. Shang-Chi and Iron Fist joined together to take on a variety of spider-powered enemies.
While the Bride of Nine Spiders was a formidable foe, it was when they faced the deity Ai Apaec that they realized they were completely outmatched. Shang-Chi had one more surprise in store for him.
This extremely interesting cross-over makes for an interesting read, so if you like any spider-themed superheroes and Shang Chi this is the perfect comic book for you.
10. Battleworld: Master Of Kung Fu
Although there is a plethora of action and fighting scenes in this comic book what truly makes it stand out among other similar comics is the storyline it follows.
The story takes place on Battleworld, a new world comprised of the shattered remains of every other world in the Marvel Multiverse.
There are many issues following other characters in this situation, Shag Chi’s story may be the most interesting since it is based on the premise of him being stuck in a martial arts tournament.
There was, however, a twist. Both the protagonist and his adversaries were unlike the normal versions of themselves. This increased the stakes because supporters didn’t know what to anticipate. This is what makes this particular issue worth your time.
11. Secret Avengers #18
Steve Rogers enlisted Shang Chi’s aid in fighting a gang that was holding the world captive in issue #18 of Warren Ellis and David Aja’s series.
The group was in a parallel universe with its own laws of physics. They threatened to transfer materials from that alternative reality into the main Marvel Universe, detonate it, and use its unique qualities to transform the Earth into a sun.
The story itself is extremely interesting, but Shang Chi’s adaptation to this predicament is what makes it even better.
12. Special Marvel Edition #15
This is the first comic book Shang Chi appeared in before getting his own series. The storyline serves as an introduction to the character since the readers get a lot of information about his father and childhood.
Like any good origin story, this issue has all the makings of a great comic book. There is a rich story that introduces us to this amazing character, but it is intertwined with a number of action scenes which could only be expected from the story about the master of Kung Fu.
Although Jim Starlin’s style and Steve Engelhart’s writing might feel a little old at times, they have stood the test of time for the most part. This comic book is well worth your time especially if you are a big fan of this character.
13. The Legend Of Shang-Chi
Shang-Chi has been a character in the Marvel universe for quite some time and with his new movie being recently released his popularity has only grown to be bigger.
As with many Marvel characters, some fans are only now discovering the character, while others who have been following him for a long time have undoubtedly missed some key aspects of his story.
Alyssa Wong, a Nebula, Lucus, and World Fantasy Award winner, created a one-shot comic on Shang-Chi, which features gorgeously atmospheric art by Andie Tong and serves as a terrific opportunity to truly get a feel of who the hero is.
The Legend of Shang-Chi is a Chinese kung fu film that has espionage, a robbery, an old magic sword, and some stunning kung fu action.
It’s a quick read that will appeal to a wide range of readers and since it has all of the basic elements of a Shang Chi comic book this is a great first read for someone who wanted to check out the comic books right after the movie came out.
14. Master Of Kung Fu
Shang-Chi demonstrated his popular appeal by featuring in the Master of Kung Fu series after only two previous comic appearances. This series continues the narrative of the hero who ventured out into the world to escape his father’s control, relying on his training and his wits to survive.
His stories would include exhilarating spy escapades, gritty noir mysteries, and deep intimate family tragedies, all told with the force of his fists and his willpower.
Kung Fu has always been about philosophy as much as it has been about physical motions. Every punch manifests chi as a mix of body, mind, and spirit. Even the credits pointed to the comic’s sincere desire to depict the spiritual aspects of Shang-journey.
When it comes to depicting kung fu, those creators didn’t take any shortcuts which is one thing long-time Shang Chi fans appreciate greatly.
15. Giant-Size Master Of Kung Fu
Giant-Size Master of Kung Fu was, as the name suggests, a continuation of the regular series, but with much larger issues and more material. It was created after the original series garner a bit more attention and the character became more popular.
These have been reproduced in recent collections with the main series, but if anybody can locate the original issues, they contain some great nonfiction articles about applied martial arts.
Doug Moench wrote all four Giant-Size issues, which he collaborated on with diverse illustrators. While most of them contained the typical credits that comics were renowned for, issue #3 maintained Englehart and Starlin’s tradition by awarding Moench with “Thought,” Paul Gulacy with “Vision,” and Vinnie Colletta with “Strength.” Meanwhile, Len Wein, the editor, was given his own unique credit: “Control.”
These particular issues are staples of Shang Chi’s comic books which is why all new fans should check them out.