As far as Marvel’s martial artists are concerned, you’ll hardly fight to bigger names than Shang-Chi and Iron Fist. The two have even trained together and they are undoubtedly among the best martial artists in the history of comic books. Both are also very similar in their approach to their skills, which makes them absolutely fascinating to compare. So, you ever wanted to know who would win in a fight between Shang-Chi and Iron First? Keep reading!
Despite their similarities, we think that Shang-Chi has managed to surpass Iron Fist’s abilities and that he would win in a direct clash between these two characters, which is also corroborated by the comics.
Our comparison is going to be divided into three sections. The first is going to bring an overview of the two characters, after which we are going to compare their powers, including their signature weapons. Finally, we’re going to bring you a detailed analysis of the two characters to determine which one would win in a direct clash.
Shang-Chi and his powers
Shang-Chi, also known as the Master of Kung Fu, is a superhero appearing in stories published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Steve Englehart and artists Al Milgrom and Jim Starlin, the fictional character first appeared in the Special Marvel Edition #15 comic book in 1973.
Shang-Chi was born in the Hunan province of China. He is the son of Fu Manchu, an international criminal. From an early age, he was trained in Chinese martial arts in order to, when he comes of age, assassinate an enemy of his father but, discovering that his progenitor is a powerful criminal, he rebels against his destiny.
He fights Midnight Sun and allies himself with Black Jack Tarr, with whom he confronts his father’s organization. Later, he becomes a secret agent working for MI-6, the United Kingdom’s intelligence service, during which he travels to New York and meets the costumed hero Spider-Man.
He later faces off against his own sister, Fah Lo Suee, then Razor Fist and the duo Mordillo and Brynocki. He then befriends the Cat (Shen Kuei) and Iron Fist (Danny Rand), with whom he shares a passion for martial arts. He also confronts Shockwave before leaving MI-6.
Opting for an independent life, he becomes an adventurer. But this job still brings him closer to the world of superheroes; he becomes the ally of the Thing. He fights HYDRA, then Zaran, Boomerang, etc. He soon reunites with his friends Sir Denis Nayland Smith, Tarr, Clive Reston, and his childhood sweetheart Leiko Wu. Together, they form “Freelance Restorations Limited”, a secret agency based in Scotland.
It was during this period that he faced his father for the last time in a duel to the death, from which he emerged victorious. A few years later, he left the organization and went back to China as a simple fisherman.
Shang-Chi made his comeback a few years later, in the Heroes for Hire series. There, he begins a relationship with Maria Vasquez (Tarantula). He’s the one who kills his teammate Humbug, controlled by an insectoid race that escaped from the Hulk’s ship upon his return to Earth.
Traumatized by this cold-blooded murder, he leaves the team. Shang-Chi, still linked to the British secret service, reluctantly helps Peter Wisdom to dismantle a criminal network of mystical origin.
Iron First and his powers
Daniel “Danny” Rand, aka Iron Fist is a superhero appearing in stories published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Gil Kane, the fictional character first appeared in the Marvel Comic Book Premiere #15 in May 1974. Iron Fist is a martial arts specialist. His creator Roy Thomas was inspired by the films of Bruce Lee and the name of Iron Man to please Stan Lee.
On the way to the mystical city of K’un One, a, hidden in the heart of the Himalayas and which only appears every 15 years (this one being in another dimension), the father of Danny Rand is killed by his partner, Harold Meachum. His mother sacrifices herself, allowing herself to be devoured by a pack of wolves, in order to save Danny.
Saved and hidden in the hidden city of K’un One, Danny is trained by Lei Kung (The Thunder) who teaches him martial arts. But Danny, still a child, has only one goal: revenge. The ultimate test of his initiation is confrontation with Shou-Lao the Immortal, a dragon. Coming out as the winner, Danny Rand plunges his hands into the dragon’s molten heart, acquiring the power of the “Iron Fist” and becomes a superhero, using the name Iron Fist.
Ten years after the death of his parents, Danny Rand returns to the Western world. Harold Meachum, fearing his return, had a skyscraper erected full of deadly traps and hid himself inside. Danny, thwarting all traps, makes it to Meachum but shows mercy when he prepares to exercise his revenge: it turns out that Meachum ended up in an accident and got his legs frozen in the Himalayas after abandoning Danny and his mother ; Rand then discovers that revenge is an emotion that leads nowhere.
It is then that a ninja appears and kills Harold Meachum; Meachum’s daughter will believe for a long time that Iron Fist is her father’s killer. But, by failing to respond to the many threats he will subsequently face, Iron Fist will eventually convince her that the Spirit of Vengeance is negative, and that he is innocent.
Are Shang-Chi and Iron Fist friends?
Despite training and clashing during the course of their common histories, Shang-Chi and Iron Fist are actually friends in the comics. They have a strong mutual respect for each other and they have trained, and have even teamed up together on several occasions to fight crime. They usually clashed when one of them ended up being corrupted or if their teams had different goals, but their friendship was never in danger.
Comparing the powers of Shang-Chi and Iron Fist
Our second section will contain a comparison of the two characters’ powers. It won’t be a direct comparison as much as a listing of their powers abilities, which is going to serve as a basis for our analysis in section three of our article. Now, let us begin.
Shang-Chi is an expert in Chinese martial arts and possesses a high skill in hand-to-hand combat, even if he is not at the level of Iron Fist. His physical abilities are at the pinnacle of human perfection and he is defined by some as one of the greatest bare-handed fighters and kung-fu experts alive.
Much of his physical abilities seem to come from his mastery of chi (氣), which often allows him to overcome the physical limitations of a normal athlete. His reflexes are so developed that he can even dodge bullets from machine guns and sniper rifles, as well as deflect pistol shots with his bracelets.
He is also well versed in espionage, by virtue of the time spent working with MI6. He can sense the presence of an individual only by sensing his chi. Later, he will learn the power of Kitty Pryde’s intangibility and develop a technique that will allow him to turn his opponents into stone. Furthermore, he can hit his opponent in so-called “pressure points” that allow him to paralyze, or even kill them.
Shang-Chi is also highly trained in the arts of concentration and meditation and is an expert in the use of sidearms such as swords, kali sticks, nunchaku, sai, and shuriken. Among other things, Tony Stark gave him bracelets that allowed him to better channel his chi, thus increasing his strength.
Iron Fist is likewise among the best fighters in the Marvel Universe. He has been taught in advanced martial arts by one of the best teachers Marvel had to offer – Lei Kung the Thunderer.
As one of his most gifted students, Danny Rand quickly learned the secrets of the chi and the Iron Fist technique. He later operated as a superhero and he was immensely successful.
The powers of the Iron Fist can greatly increase his stamina, and although the Iron Fist is not a superpower per se, it can elevate his strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, reflexes, and senses to a level that is almost comparable to superhuman levels.
Along with that, he is also a skilled acrobat, gymnast, and a master of all of K’un-Lun’s martial arts, as well as various regular martial arts styles, including but not limited to Shaolin Kung Fu, Aikido, Fujian White Crane, Judo, Karate, Muay Thai, Ninjutsu, Wushu, and Wing Chun.
He can likewise focus his chi inward to heal himself or outward to heal others of injury, as well as to give himself psychic senses and to telepathically fuse his consciousness with another person.
Finally, since both are Marvel characters, we can consult their official numbers, as per the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z (2010):
Shang-Chi and Iron Fist have usually been presented as complete equals in terms of power and technique. Still, the numbers reveal that there is a difference between them and that is going to be reflected in our last section.
Shang-Chi vs Iron Fist: Who would win?
And now for the most important and interesting section of our article – the analysis. Here, we are going to use what we have found out about these two characters and analyze how all these facts would (or would not) help them in a fight against each other. Let us continue.
The history between these two characters goes a long way, since both have been regarded as being the best martial artists of their time. Shang-Chi comes from China and has had direct Oriental influences shape him, while Iron Fist comes from the West. Still, both of them have brought their skills to absolute perfection, becoming the best martial artists one could find.
They have clashed several times, with most fights ending in a draw, but Iron Fist has admitted himself that Shang-Chi is the better fighter of the two. Iron Fist does seem to have more energy projection skills of the two, but when their fighting skills are concerned, Shang-Chi is the superior one and even Iron Fist has admitted that on several occasions; once, even Black Panther confirms that Shang-Chi is on a completely different level.
This is why we can conclude that Shang-Chi would be the winner in this duel, despite their comic book encounters usually ending in a draw.
If you want to see other ‘Who Would Win‘ scenarios follow our link