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Shang-Chi's Razor Fist and the bonkers Marvel Comics trend of weapons replacing hands

Razor Fist from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Razor Fist from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

There are many reasons to look forward to Marvel Studios' Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, but there's one everyone is overlooking: MCU representation for the string of Marvel villains (and even a hero or two) who have chopped off one (or both) of their hands and replaced them with weapons.

While Star Wars and DC have their own tendencies for heroes' hands to be chopped off, Marvel goes above-and-beyond with what comes next. While there are heroes like Forge and Cable who lose an appendage and replace it with a cybernetic version, in Marvel history there have been numerous others who - either in a fit of immense creativity or insanity - have forgone the 'typical' robot hand (sorry, Luke Skywalker) and instead weaponized their missing limb

So who is paving the way? Shang Chi's Razor Fist, played by Florian Munteanu.

Who is Razor Fist?

Razor Fist

Razor Fist (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

If you've seen the trailers for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, you can't miss him - he's the mercenary with a blade where one of his hands would be (in comics, both hands are replaced with knives). If it's like comics, that isn't some superhuman ability or a magical mirage - his hands are gone, with blades in their place.

Razor Fist

Razor Fist (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

In comic books, there have actually been three Razor Fists - yes, three individuals who had this done to them. If that wasn't odd enough, they all had the procedure performed on them by a man named Carlton Velcro. (That's right, Velcro). 

The original Razor Fist, William Young, only lasted for a couple of years. After his death, he was replaced by a pair of brothers - William and Douglas Scott - who each had lost a hand in a car accident. Velcro accidentally killed one of them early on, leaving William Scott as the defining Razor Fist going forward.

Razor Fist has primarily been a Shang-Chi villain throughout the years, but as a mercenary isn't above taking side gigs - such as a job to take Hawkeye's own right arm (he was unsuccessful).

And while William Scott began as Razor Fist with only one 'razor fist', he eventually had his other hand replaced with a blade - apparently of his own volition.

As we mentioned though, Razor Fist is but the tip of the ol' bladed-arm for the Marvel characters who have taken up this painful fashion trend.

Klaw

Klaw

Klaw (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Just as in the MCU, the villain Klaw loses his hand early on in comic books. While in the films Andy Serkis' Klaw replaces it with a prosthetic hand that hides a Wakandan sonic weapon, in comic books he instead opts for what equates to a music speaker of a hand.

Sorry, 'sonic emitter.'

After losing his hand as revenge by T'Challa for killing his father T'Chaka, Klaw falls back on his college research in applied sonics to create this 'sonic emitter' that can cause all manner of damage - and also, somehow, create various kinds of objects using sound.

For some reason, however, he never used this sonic emitter to create himself a hand.

Charlie Chainsaws

Charlie Chainsaws

Charlie Chainsaws (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

From the looks of him, Charlie Chainsaws seems to be a big fan of Ash Williams from the Evil Dead movies (given that chainsaw for a hand). And with his name, he seems like a fan of pro wrestler Terry Funk and his short-lived WWF persona of 'Chainsaw Charlie.'

But even with that backstory, it's hard to come to grips with the idea of someone having both hands replaced with chainsaws.

What if you have an itch?

How do you turn on the chainsaws?

How do you put gas into the chainsaws?

The questions are endless.

Charlie Chainsaws was created from the minds of writer Jason Aaron and artist Yanick Paquette back in Wolverine: Weapon X #6 (a man who has knives on his hands, but got to keep the limbs themselves).

Charlie Chainsaws was revealed to be a patient at Dunwich Sanatorium, where an evil man named Dr. Algernon Rotwell experimented on Charlie and his various patients. The bad doctor used him as fodder in a battle with Wolverine, but Chainsaw Charlie actually survived the battle and has popped up intermittently ever since.

To date, no one has helped Charlie Chainsaws with the whole chainsaws-as-hands situation.

Grim Reaper

Grim Reaper

Grim Reaper (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Grim Reaper was born Eric Williams, the black sheep of his family - which included his superhero/movie star brother Eric (AKA Wonder Man). The death of his brother during an Avengers mission pushed Simon over the edge to become a villain himself, a career which started by buying a mechanical scythe he could wear on his right hand.

After numerous comic deaths and resurrections (hey, it's comics), the Grim Reaper eventually found the scythe grafted to his forearm where his hand and wrist used to be. That's the least of his problems, as he's one of the most prolific Marvel characters to die, return, and die again. With a name like Grim Reaper, you'd think he'd be on the other end of that deal.

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Doctor Strange's path to magic was paved with an injury to his hands which left him unable to perform his original vocation (that of surgery). In the brutal 2007 event World War Hulk, that injury was downgraded to a relative paper cut compared to what the Hulk did in a fit of range: the Jade Giant crushed Strange's hands into pulp.

(The attack was a receipt after Strange and other heroes exiled the Hulk into deep space to avoid his mad outbursts.)

So what does a Doctor Strange do when he doesn't have hands - let alone hands able to cast his spells? He called upon Zom, one of the few foes his predecessor the Ancient One was unable to beat. Strange drank a portion of Zom's essence in order to take on his powers, which ended up creating a demonic version of Strange with spiked maces where his hands would be.

Even this drastic plan proved futile, as the Hulk turned Strange against his fellow heroes before finally being felled by the Sentry.

Doctor Bong

Doctor Bong

Doctor Bong (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Doctor Bong wasn't always Doctor Bong - or even a doctor. He was originally a music critic turned actor in a Pink Floyd-esque band's theatrical stage show. While portraying the Easter Bunny, the would-be-Doctor Bong had an accident with a prop guillotine which resulted in the loss of his left hand.

Taking inspiration from the giant bell the band used on stage, the tortured music critic became Doctor Bong - with his helmet acting as a bell, and a metal ball where his hand was acting as a clapper to sound the bell. 

Yes, this is our second hand-less villain using sound technique. That's a subset to this trend that even we haven't been able to understand.

Are we missing someone from this list? Of course we are. Tell us the Marvel characters who have fallen in this unenviable position in the comments and on our social media.

Speaking of trends at Marvel Comics, here's a piece on the "illusion of change" Marvel comics perpetuates.

Chris Arrant

Newsarama Senior Editor Chris Arrant has covered comic book news for Newsarama since 2003, and has also written for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, AdHouse Books, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press' anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. Chris is a member of the American Library Association's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table.