Shang-Chi’s Rival Might Save His Empire

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When Shang-Chi inherited his father’s sprawling criminal empire, a new era of action-adventure began for the Kung Fu Master. Shang-Chi has not only reunited with his estranged siblings under the banner of the Five Weapons Society, but has rightfully claimed one of the greatest powers the Marvel Universe has to offer. Unfortunately, these achievements alienated Shang-Chi from his closest allies, while his oldest rival may have become the key to helping him save his empire along with the rest of the world.


Only shortly after the titular hero retrieved the Ten Rings that were stolen from him by his former friends in MI-6, Shang-Chi and the ten rings #4 (by VC’s Gene Luen Yang, Marcus To, Erick Arciniega and Travis Lanham) finds another unexpected adversary trying to take away his newly acquired assets. Along with nine other competitors, Shang-Chi is forced to compete in a potentially lethal tournament. After receiving a ring each, the various combatants are tasked with fighting their way through the levels of a towering pagoda, claiming ordinance from opponents who fell along the way. As unexpected as this turn of events may be, even more surprising is the fact that not all competitors are enemies of the Five Weapons Society, especially when it comes to the Shen Kuei.

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Who is Marvel’s other cat and what does he want from Shang-Chi?

First seen in 1975 kung fu master #38 (by Dough Moench and Paul Gulacy), freelance spy and mercenary Shen Kuei (also known as the Cat) has long been one of Shang-Chi’s most unlikely allies. During his time working with MI-6, Shang-Chi was tasked with investigating the Cat, a mission that inadvertently led to the near-fatal stabbing of the latter’s lover, Juliette. Surprisingly, Shen didn’t lash out at Shang-Chi for this incident, instead starting what became one of Marvel’s best crime-fighting duos.

Over the years, Shen and Shang-Chi met during the course of their respective endeavors, however, no matter which side of the fight they started on, they almost always ended up as a team. Even now, with each of them vying for control of the Ten Rings that could reshape the world, Shen is more willing to fight alongside Shang-Chi than stab him in the back. Obviously, there is concern about what will happen if it’s just the two of them left in the competition, but Shen is happy to work together until that time comes with no false pretense about what awaits them in the end.

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The cat remains one of Shang-Chi’s most trusted allies.

The fact that Shen is willing to work with Shang-Chi to try to overcome the challenge at hand speaks to how valuable he is on the field. Plus, his honesty about where his latest association is headed is an even bigger sign of how trustworthy the Cat really is. It is also a clear indicator that there is no ill will between Shen and Shang-Chi. If anything, Shen has shown that he is only interested in completing this tournament without creating any new enemies, which is lucky for Shang-Chi.

When Shang-Chi joined Leiko Wu only to be betrayed by MI-6, he never stopped to ask any of the obvious questions that may have revealed his plan. Thanks to Shen being plucked out of the blue for the tournament in question, there’s no real chance that he’s also planning on stabbing Shang-Chi in the back. With any luck, Shen will see Shang-Chi emerge victorious from their shared situation and prove his worth as a true ally of the Kung Fu Master.



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