Spoilers ahead for Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings #5. You’ve been warned.
Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings #5 is part two of the “Game of Rings” storyline and offers major revelations surrounding the Ten Rings. The Ten Rings were introduced in the comics after they were first revealed in the Shang-Chi movie, the Ten Rings are now scattered and used by multiple enemies. How important they are and how far back in history they were first seen is fully revealed in today’s issue.
The story offers a major flashback reveal as Shang-Chi and Shen Kuei encounter two mythical characters known as Jinzha and Muzha. Set at a time before recorded history, we learn a character named Nezha, a brother to the narrators, fought the threat using a weapon called the Universe Ring.
Much like with other deadly spiritual weapons in Marvel history, the Universe Ring taints Nezha once he beats the beast, which makes him a villain of the people. It turns out the villain he trapped inside it was able to infect his spirit.
Rather quickly, it appears he’s thwarted, and the Universe Ring ends up being smashed into twelve rings. But wait, didn’t we think there were only ten!?
Nezha is clearly based on the Chinese folk religion who indeed carried the Universe Ring or had it around his body. Also known as “Marshal of the Central Altar” or “Prince Nezha,” the “Third Prince,” the character is well worth reading about. The folktale even has some interesting bits that Marvel would never print, so likely, if we see more of Nezha, things may be altered.
It’s a compelling idea that writer Gene Luen Yang has introduced to Marvel as it draws on real-life mythology and religious figures. This further cements the story and Shang-Chi’s narrative in real-life culture.
I recommend you check out the whole issue, Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings #5 has much more to it than this revealing flashback.
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