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Shang-Chi’s Five Weapons Society Has Crumbled and That’s Great News

The following contains major spoilers for Shang-Chi #12available now from Marvel.

Over the course of the past year, Shang-Chi’s life has gone in some truly unexpected directions. Between taking the reins of his deceased father’s criminal empire, bringing his estranged family back together, and becoming a pariah in the eyes of his fellow heroes, it’s hard to think of how things could get much worse. Of course, the threat of Shang-Chi’s own grandfather proved to be enough to send the Five Weapons Society racing to Ta Lo to save themselves, and likely the rest of the world. Not only that, but in the aftermath of their latest encounter, Shang-Chi’s family has all but fallen apart entirely once again. This time, however, being so far apart truly is among the best things any of them could have asked for.


The Deadly Weapons of the Five Weapons Society have taken the fight to Ta Lo in the pages of Shang Chi #12 (by Gene Luen Yang, Marcus To, Erick Arciniega, and VC’s Travis Lanham), all in the hopes of bringing an end to the threat posed by Chieftain Xin. With the help of his siblings from him, as well as the impossible power afforded to him by the legendary Ten Rings, Shang-Chi has even managed to do just that. In the process, however, Shang-Chi nearly gave in to the dark temptations of the Ten Rings. By the time the dust had settled, the Five Weapons Society emerged not only victorious but unified like never before. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they stayed that way, although the breakup may very well be the best thing for them, even if Shang-Chi doesn’t realize it yet.


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Shang-Chi returned to the headquarters of the Five Weapons Society to continue overseeing their operations, but the rest of his family have all gone on to their own corners of the world, and beyond. Jiang Li, Shang-Chi’s mother, has taken her father’s place in Ta Lo as the new Chieftain of the Qilin Riders. Esme returned to the House of the Deadly Dagger, and Zhilan has gone on to establish herself as the champion of the newly reformed House of the Deadly Staff. In stark contrast to these advancements, Takeshi returned himself to his place in prison, while Shi Hua chose to disappear entirely. Seeing each of the Deadly Weapons take their leave may have put Shang-Chi in a relatively lonely position, but that doesn’t mean any of this is a bad thing. In fact, each of his siblings’ choices of him was a clear indication that all the work they have put in was worth it.


Except for Shi Hua’s disappearance, each of the Deadly Weapons is only making their organization stronger by setting out on their own. Esme and Zhilan’s respective houses will surely end up bolstering the Five Weapons Society’s forces. On the other side of things, Takeshi turning himself in after the battle in Ta Lo makes it apparent that even the worst of the Deadly Weapons are not the same people they were when this all began. Beyond all else, having the Qilin Riders on their side, let alone the Jade Emperor himself, is the greatest boon Shang-Chi and the Five Weapons Society have known in years. The future might be uncertain, yet there are no doubts that Shang-Chi’s dream of a benevolent, united Five Weapons Society has absolutely come true, regardless of the distance between its champions.


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It’s hard to imagine that the situation won’t change at some point in the near future, especially now that the Ten Rings have been introduced to the primary Marvel Universe. That is n’t to say that Shang-Chi will face any further betrayals at the hands of his closest family, but rather that the Five Weapons Society as he knows it will continue to evolve in unexpected ways. With any luck, whatever comes next will be another chance for the Five Weapons Society to show off just how powerful they truly are.


As assured as it is that the Deadly Weapons will be seeing one another again sooner than later, there is always the question of under what circumstances that reunion will take place. Considering everything they have already overcome, it probably won’t be anything Shang-Chi and his family can’t handle it, no matter where they happen to be.


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