Marvel Confirms a Star MCU Hero Has Officially Turned Villain


  • Shang-Chi surprises readers and crime bosses alike by joining Marvel’s “Gang War,” showcasing his morally-gray attitude and willingness to fight.
  • Shang-Chi’s criminal ties and struggle between good and evil have recently been explored, highlighting his complex origin story and internal conflict.
  • Shang-Chi’s heel turn could be a strategic move to gain information for his friends, suggesting a larger plan and adding an intriguing twist to the event.



Warning: Spoilers for The Amazing Spider-Man: Gang War First Strike #1!Marvel’s “Gang War” is exploding onto the page this month across multiple series, and the biggest surprise is that Shang-Chi is right in the middle, not to keep everyone in line, but to make sure he gets his own piece of the city. In The Amazing Spider-Man: Gang War First Strike #1, readers see the powder keg New York City’s crime families find themselves in: Tombstone is out of commission, Madame Masque is dead, and the remaining leaders are ready to stab each other in the back to get their territories.

The Amazing Spider-Man Gang War First Strike #1 by Zeb Wells, Cody Ziglar, Joey Vasquez, Julian Shaw, Bryan Valenza and VC’s Joe Caramanga sees the leaders of the city’s gangs gathering together for a meeting. One of the crime bosses, and frequent foe of the hero in question, Mister Negative, asks what many readers are thinking: “What is Shang-Chi doing here?!” While the character is a clean-cut good guy in the MCU, his comics counterpart has often tread in more gray areas. While Shang-Chi is currently the head of his father’s organization, the Five Weapons Society, he usually tries to turn the tides, using his secret armies and powerful weapons for good and to help the community.

Amazing Spider-Man Gang War First Strike 1 page 4

Here, however, Shang-Chi is going toe-to-toe with the other bosses. The Five Weapons Society does have their own territory in Chinatown, and Shang-Chi is threatening that they’ll only ask nicely for more land once.

Related: Spider-Man Unites Epic New Team As Massive Gang War Erupts in Marvel’s NYC

Shang-Chi Will Have to Fight Spider-Man to Win the Gang War

shang-chi vs spider-man

Marvel’s “Gang War” event has been hyped for months, and fans are finally getting to see how it all begins. Thanks to New York’s anti-vigilante laws, Spider-Man and other street-level heroes are officially criminals. But Peter Parker is still trying to do the right thing, even as the city burns around him. However, previews of upcoming issues have shown that Shang-Chi, as part of the event’s Deadly Hands of Kung Fu: Gang War series, will test his martial arts against the webslinger. His presence at the table on page 1 of the “Gang War” kickoff suggests this will be a real fight, with Shang-Chi ready to fully take the reins of his father’s empire instead of using half-measures to try and turn away from crime.

Shang-Chi’s criminal ties are part of his origin story; the Five Weapons Society and his immortal father were introduced in his very first issue in 1973, created by writer Steve Englehart and artist Jim Starlin. Shang-Chi was trained to be the world’s greatest martial artist to support his father’s organized crime empire. However, after learning that he was not fighting on the side of good and that his father was actually a villain, he rejected his upbringing, and found himself fighting alongside the Avengers, the Champions, and MI-6. After taking over leadership of the Five Weapons Society, Shang-Chi has struggled between trying to slowly pivot the group towards good, and his work with heroes, who want him to move faster or shut the operation down. This battle came to a head in writer Gene Luen Yang’s Shang Chi vs. the Marvel Universe arc in the 2021 Shang-Chi series.

Shang-Chi Could Be Playing Everyone

Shang Chi, Back Turned

Straddling the line between family loyalty and vigilante heroics is made even harder by the fact that both of these things are currently illegal. Shang-Chi’s heel turn may be him deciding that if he’s going to be a criminal for the time being, he might as well grow his organization’s influence. Given that the true mind behind the Gang War has been playing 5D chess with everyone, Shang-Chi could be making a play of his own to get information from the crime families back to his friends. Whatever his larger plans are, Shang-Chi going full villain is a shocking Marvel twist to kick off its exciting new event.

The Amazing Spider-Man: Gang War First Strike #1 is available now from Marvel Comics.

The Amazing Spider-Man: Gang War First Strike #1

Amazing Spider-Man Gang War First Strike 1 cover
  • Writers: Zeb Wells with Cody Ziglar
  • Artists: Joey Vazquez with Julian Shaw
  • Colorist: Bryan Valenza
  • Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
  • Cover Artists: John Romita Jr., Scott Hanna & Marcio Menyz, Sweeney Boo, Nick Bradshaw & Rachelle Rosenberg, Joey Vazquez

  • Shang-Chi Legend of the Ten Rings Poster

    Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

    Release Date:

    Destin Daniel Cretton

    Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Awkwafina, Simu Liu, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu, Benedict Wong, Michelle Yeoh, Ben Kingsley, Tony Leung Chiu Wai


    132 minutes

    Adventure, Comedy, Action, Superhero

    Dave Callaham

    Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the 26th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Simu Liu plays Shaun (Aka Shang-Chi), a valet living and working in San Francisco, along with his friend Katy (Awkwafina), when one day, his past comes knocking back at his door. To protect himself and Katy, Shaun reveals himself to be Shang-Chi and his lineage, with his father being the actual “Mandarin,” the leader of the Ten Rings criminal organization. His father is now reaching out to him, and his estranged sister and Shaun must head back to China to save his sister and figure out his father’s true motivations. Shang-Chi was one of the first films in the fourth phase of the MCU.

    $150-$200 million

    Disney, Marvel


    Marvel Cinematic Universe


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