New Marvel villain Lady Iron Fan latest character inspired by a classic Chinese novel

Shang-Chi #2
(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

June 30's Shang-Chi #2 will serve as the debut of a new Marvel Comics villain, Lady Iron Fan. Interestingly she's the second character in as many months to debut at the 'Big Two' and written by Gene Luen Yang that is inspired by the 16th-century Chinese adventure novel The Journey to the West

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Shang-Chi's new ongoing series by Yang and artist Dike Ruan (just in time for the character's big-screen debut in September's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) picks up on the events of the recently-completed limited series by Yang and Ruan along with artist Philip Tan. 

That series ended with the titular character becoming head of the ancient criminal organization the Five Weapons Society, which his family has always ruled. Shang-Chi wants to reform the Five Weapons Society as a force for good, but his plans aren't immediately clear to the other superheroes of the Marvel Universe, some of whom will come into conflict with the hero in the new series. 

Shang-Chi #2 is Captain America's turn to confront Shang-Chi, and their face-off will also involve the Cosmic Cube (you MCU fans kinda-sorta know it as the Tesseract), and includes the debut of that new villain Lady Iron Fan.  

According to Marvel, the character uses psychic abilities to control an arsenal of razor-sharp fan weaponry and is also the leader of a powerful criminal organization that rivals Hydra and AIM. 

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

"In our story, Lady Iron Fan is the owner of a popular casino hotel in Macau," Yang explains in a Marvel press announcement. "She plays hostess to the biggest supervillain social event of the season."

According to Yang, Lady Iron Fan and her powers are inspired by Princess Iron Fan, a character from The Journey to the West. 

Just last month as part of its DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration anthology featuring Asian heroes and comic creators, Yang and DC introduced the new character teen hero the Monkey Prince, based on the Monkey King, a main character in The Journey to the West. 

Princess Iron Fan and the Monkey King famously face-off in a brief episode from The Journey to the West and their duel was adapted into 1941's Princess Iron Fan, considered China's first animated feature film. 

Comic book characters and creators of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage are getting increased attention in recent months. May's DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration was timed to May's Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and in August Marvel will debut Marvel's Voices: Identity, a one-shot anthology also honoring creators and characters of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage.

So check out artist Michael Cho's newly-revealed variant cover to Shang-Chi #2 featuring Lady Iron Fan and a trio of first look interior pages below, featuring Shang-Chi, the new villain, and Captain America. 

Shang-Chi debuted in 1973. Maybe he’ll make Newsarama's Marvel Yearbook of the best Marvel characters to debut every year since 1961, the start of the Marvel Universe. We’ve already looked at the '80s and '00s, and the '70s are coming up soon

I'm not just the Newsarama founder and editor-in-chief, I'm also a reader. And that reference is just a little bit older than the beginning of my Newsarama journey. I founded what would become the comic book news site in 1996, and except for a brief sojourn at Marvel Comics as its marketing and communications manager in 2003, I've been writing about new comic book titles, creative changes, and occasionally offering my perspective on important industry events and developments for the 25 years since. Despite many changes to Newsarama, my passion for the medium of comic books and the characters makes the last quarter-century (it's crazy to see that in writing) time spent doing what I love most.