Darkstrider has captured the six misteriesDARKSTRIDER

Real Name: Moon Sun (maybe Death)

Identity/Class: Magic being (maybe a basic force of the universe)

Occupation: Mercenary, killer, ninja

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Jade Claw (Suwan), Razor-Fist (Douglas Scott), Rock of the Buddha, Soulstriker, the Warlords of the Web (presumably Cinnabar, George, Rynor, Sheena, Pan Sing, Sybilis and Snake)

Enemies: Fat Cobra, Master Po, Gorilla Man (Ken Hale), Shang-Chi, Wolverine (James "Logan" Howlett), Yuen Yee;
allegedly Moon Sun and his Circus

Known Relatives: Tiko (daughter)

Aliases: Lord of Darkness (Master of Darkness)

Base of Operations: Worldwide, omniversewide?

First Appearance: (As Moon Sun) Master of Kung Fu I#36 (January, 1976); (as Darkstrider) Master of Kung Fu I#37 (February, 1976)
    {Shang-Chi#26(Moon Sun)#27}

Powers/Abilities: Great strength and durability, enhanced reflexes and triple-hand-to-hand fighting. Great mastery in disguise and projecting illusions. It is uncertain if he has magic powers.

Sun MoonHistory: (Master of Kung Fu I#36) - One night, Moon Sun, an old man who also probably was Darkstrider, met Shang-Chi in Manhattan. He promised to reveal a secret to Shang-Chi if the warrior would help him. The two were attacked by six ninjas and one of these killed Moon Sun with a knife. When the ninjas ran away, Moon Sun was alive and unharmed, and he told Shang-Chi that the knife missed him. Moon Sun let Shang-Chi alone to meet the "men" of his circus: Pan Sing, Cinnabar, George, Sheena, Rynor, Sybilis and Snake. Then he presented his beautiful daughter Tiko to Shang-Chi and had him promise to protect them all from the Warlords of the Web during their carnival tour through the west.

Sun Moon meets Shang-ChiThe next day, all of them left from the Penn Station in Manhattan by a train, starting their tour.

(Master of Kung Fu I#37) - The six ninjas attacked the wagon where Moon Sun and his Circus were. Shang-Chi drove the assassins off. Every member of the circus told a different story about Darkstrider and his six ninjas:

Darkstrider attacked by Shang-ChiThe next day the two cars of the Circus of Moon Sun stopped in the desert and started to raise the tent for the show. Moon Sun sent Shang-Chi to the car where his daughter was, probably to let Shang-Chi see the real face of his daughter. Immediately after, Moon Sun disappeared and Darkstrider appeared in the big tent, entangling the six circus men in his giant web. The initial struggle had Darkstrider beat Shang-Chi, but when Shang-Chi managed to hit Darkstrider, the six circus men disappeared and the six ninjas appeared. The six flew away, and Darkstrider stated that he wasn't evil, because death isn't evil, after which he left. The circus tent and everybody disappeared, leaving Shang-Chi alone, with a piece of Moon Sun's tunic left behind by Darkstrider. The piece crumbled into dust and disappeared as the rest of the circus (after the death: dust).

Darkstrider returns

(Wolverine IV#17 (fb) - BTS) - Hired by Jade Claw Darkstrider joined forces with Razor-Fist, Rock of the Buddha and Soulstriker to take down the Black Dragon (Wolverine) of San Francisco's Chinatown. After murdering several drug dealers they attacked Black Dragon's base (Drunken Mantis) and stole his money to lure him out.

(Wolverine IV#17) - Darkstrider, Razor-Fist, Rock of the Buddha, Soulstriker, a bunch of dragons and Jade Claw's soldiers surrounded Wolverine, Master Po, Gorilla Man and Yuen Yee, who had invaded the ancient tunnels under Chinatown, which Jade Claw used to traffic her drugs.

(Wolverine IV#18) - During the battle against Wolverine and his allies Darkstrider attacked Wolverine and Master Po, who broke one of Darkstrider's arms. Darkstrider held Wolverine for Razor-Fist until Wolverine and Gorilla Man both surrendered when Soulstriker threatened to have Master Po and Yuen Yee killed by the dragons.

  Darkstrider and his allies took Yuen Yee to Jade Claw, after Soulstriker pushed Master Po into a bottomless pit and Wolverine and Gorilla Man were bound to dragons to be ripped apart by them.

(Wolverine IV#19) - Darkstrider joined the battle once again when Wolverine and Gorilla Man turned up alive with their new ally Fat Cobra. Gorilla Man shot at him with a machine gun. Jade Claw's forces were defeated when Master Po arrived with a horde of dragons, who had been at war with Jade Claw's dragons.

Comments: Created by Doug Moench, Keith Pollard and Sal Trapani.

    Probably Darkstrider and Moon Sun were the same person, and probably they were (or the Circus was the representation of) Death itself, the ultimate mystery. If Darkstrider was Death itself, then Pan Sing was right, it surely can defeat an army of ninjas! Probably all the men of the circus saw Death in a different form so they told different stories. Their certainty in Moon Sun's protection was probably the representation of the certainty of death.

    Moon Sun declared that "the Circus doesn't wait anybody" and from a Nayland Smith's book, Shang-Chi recalled that the word "carnival" meant "farewell to the flesh" (in Italian "carnival"="carnevale" that derives form the Latin "carnem levare"="to renounce to the meat", related to the Lent). A lot of Superheroes met Death in the Marvel Universe, but this is a rather mysterious way to do it!

    As for the six ninjas and the six mysteries, they never were seen in the same moment but on the train. I think they are the same beings and probably Pollard made a mistake in drawing the panels of the scene on the train. Why all these legendary characters had to die? Did Moench want to send a message about the old world of the fantastic which is forgotten and so slightly "dies"? I don't understand.

Tiko was the only one who didn't have an equivalent with the ninjas. The daughter of Death? Her real (?) face in fact seemed decayed. Decomposition after death?

Sheena's name was also spelled Shelna and Seena in the Italian version. I can't recall whether the name shifted around in the English version, but it seems likely.

This is a classic Moench story, but I'd just as easily believe it was Gerber. Entertaining, but it left you with a real WTF? feeling. Who is Darkstrider? He's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, rolled in a doobie. Spidermay's explanation is as good as any.

It was pretty weird to see the enigmatic Darkstrider return as a mere mercenary working for Jade Claw in Wolverine.
--Markus Raymond

Thanks for color images go to GrendelPrime

Profile by Spidermay. Wolverine update by Markus Raymond.

Darkstrider has no known connections to

Sheena has no known connections to

Rynor has no known connections to

Tiko has no known connections to

The six ninja have just killed Sun MoonThe Warlords of the Web

Also called the Lords of War, they were six ninjas. They seemingly killed Moon Sun and tangled with Shang-Chi who was able to defeat five of them.

They also assaulted the train where the Circus of Moon Sun was traveling, and one of them managed to enter in the wagon but was thrown off by Shang-Chi. When they run away, they jumped ahead (under) the train but Shang-Chi didn't see their corpses or traces of blood.

In all the stories told by the circus' "mystery" men, the ninjas are always described at the orders of Darkstrider.

They eventually appeared on the Darkstrider's web, at the same place where a moment before the men of the circus had been. Together they threw their swords to slash the top of the tent and flew away through the hole.

--Master of Kung Fu I#36 (36-37


Pan Sing exihibits in TaiwanPan Sing the Satyr

Pan Sing was a satyr. Pan Sing, as his friends of the Circus of Moon Sun, was often in a cage. He was the first mystery of Moon Sun. He considered the cage as his freedom, and the world outside the cage as the real prison. When he met Shang-Chi, he declared that he was Silenius' son and Dionysus' half-brother, that he was vile and luxurious, he loved to drink and he was exiled from the home of the faun. He prayed Shang-Chi to assent to Moon Sun's request.

After the ninjas attacked the wagon he, and other mysterious friends, were in the cages and asked to Moon Sun to free them to help Shang-Chi but he refused.

His specialty in the Circus was juggling. With all his friends he helped to to raise the awning of the Circus.

In the Greek mythology, Pan was Silenius' half-brother (or perhaps father in other stories), and Silenius was considered father of all the satyrs. Pan Sing could be one of these and Silenius could have named him after Pan.

--Master of Kung Fu I#36 (36-37

    It is not clear whether he is truly a mythological creature (with ties to satyrs & Pan) or if he was just a metaphysical creature.
However, in mythology, Pan was the son of Hermes and the nephew of Dionysus.

Cinnabar exihibits in TaiwanCinnabar the Wulff

Cinnabar was the second Mystery of Moon Sun: Wulff. He declared he once was human. He remembered a werewolf. He threatened Shang-Chi and probably he had the strength to do what he said.

After the ninjas attacked the wagon he was in the cage and asked Moon Sun to free them to help Shang-Chi, but Moon Sun refused.

His specialties in the Circus were tumbling and the unicycle. With all his friends he helped to to raise the awning of the Circus and called Shang-Chi when Moon Sun disappeared.

--Master of Kung Fu I#36 (36-37


George entrapped by Darkstrider's webGeorge the Angel-Hawk (or Hawk-Angel?)

The third mystery was George. He was an Angel and a Hawk; he didn't like both the things, and he probably was melancholic and desperate because of his status. He prayed Shang-Chi to assent to Moon Sun's request.

His exhibitions in the Circus consisted in acrobatic flying and do acrobatic exercises with Tiko and Rynor.

--Master of Kung Fu I#36 (36-37

Sheena talks to Shang-ChiSheena the Siren

Sheena was a Siren, the fourth mystery. She lived in a cage made of glass and full of water. She could breathe in the water and could speak with Shang-Chi while staying in the water.

She was sure that Darkstrider was noble and gentle and that his actions are driven by the love.

--Master of Kung Fu I#36 (36-37

Rynor is ready to do a gallopRynor the Unitaur

The fifth mystery, Rynor, seemed a centaur with an horn on the brow like an unicorn. He declared himself to be magnificent and strong as his horn, but to be more sweet inside.

After the ninjas attacked the wagon he and his mysterious friends were in the cages and asked Moon Sun to free them to help Shang-Chi but he refused.

His exhibitions in the Circus consisted in galloping and helping Tiko's acrobatic exercises.

--Master of Kung Fu I#36 (36-37


Snake and SybilisSnake and Sybilis

Snake and Sybilis were the sixth mystery. They were a giant snake with two necks and two thinking heads, male (Snake) and female (Sybilis). Snake was the more cautious of the pair, Sybilis was the more impulsive and she wanted to eat Shang-Chi, nonetheless she was closed in the cage. They declared that Shang-Chi was not the first one to try to help Moon Sun and that the others failed.

Snake and Sybilis exhibited with the rest of the Circus, probably doing a "reptilian" show.

--Master of Kung Fu I#36 (36-37


Tiko exihibits in TaiwanTiko

Tiko was Moon Sun's beautiful daughter. She helped Moon Sun to convince Shang-Chi to escort their menagerie, and was very happy when Shang-Chi said yes.

Tiko's true faceShe welcomed Shang-Chi at the Station, and was saved by Shang-Chi when a Ninja shattered the roof of the wagon and attacked Moon Sun. She didn't gave her version about Darkstrider's origins because Moon Sun interrupted her.

When Rynor proposed her to do a gallop she refused, almost disgusted by him. Later, Shang-Chi found her in her cart, and he saw her true face and knew that she didn't refuse due to vanity, and that her prison wasn't the cage but her disguise was.

--Master of Kung Fu I#36 (36-37


Master of Kung Fu I#37, p14, pan1 (main image)
Master of Kung Fu I#36, p1, pan1 (Moon Sun, head shot)
Master of Kung Fu I#36, p17, pan5 (Moon Sun, body shot)
Master of Kung Fu I#37, cover (Darkstrider)
Wolverine IV#17, p20, pan1 (Darkstrider's return)
Master of Kung Fu I#36, p2, pan1 (Warlords of the Web)
Master of Kung Fu I#37, p8, pan6 (Pan Sing)
Master of Kung Fu I#37, p8, pan6 (Cinnabar)
Master of Kung Fu I#37, cover (George)
Master of Kung Fu I#36, p14, pan4 (Sheena)
Master of Kung Fu I#37, p12, pan1 (Rynor)
Master of Kung Fu I#36, p16, pan2 (Snake and Sybilis)
Master of Kung Fu I#37, p8, pan6 (Tiko, full body)
Master of Kung Fu I#37, p13, pan1 (Tiko, head shot)

Master of Kung Fu I#36-37 (January-February, 1976) - Doug Moench (writer), Keith Pollard (pencils), Sal Trapani (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Wolverine IV#17 (December, 2011) - Jason Aaron (writer), Ron Garney (artist), Jeanine Schaefer (editor)
Wolverine IV#18-19 (January, 2012) - Jason Aaron (writer), Ron Garney (artist), Jeanine Schaefer (editor)

Last updated: 10/13/16

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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