main image IRON FIST

Real Name: Wu Ao-Shi 

Identity/Class: Extradimensional (K'un-Lun) humanoid, 16th century

Occupation: Ruler/protector of Pinghai Bay, Immortal Weapon of K'un-Lun;
former sneak thief 

Group Membership:  Immortal Weapons

Affiliations: Lei Kung, Yu-Ti (Tuan)

Enemies: Pirate King of Pinghai Bay, Pinghai Wokou, Shou-Lao 

Known Relatives: Unidentified husband, four unidentified children (at least one boy and one girl) 

Aliases: Pirate Queen of Pinghai Bay

Base of Operations: Pinghai Bay, China;
formerly K'un-Lun 

First Appearance: Immortal Iron Fist#2 (February 2007)

Powers/Abilities: Wu Ao-Shi was a master of the martial arts of K'un-Lun. 

    Via intense concentration she could summon her chi, lighting up any of her limbs and rendering them superhumanly powerful and immune to pain and injury; unlike many Iron Fists, she could empower multiple appendages simultaneously. She could also charge arrows with her chi, and was an unparalleled archer, capable of firing multiple arrows in rapid succession and with lethal accuracy whilst performing acrobatics. 

    She may well have been able to perform some or all of the chi feats her predecessors and successors have demonstrated, including: augmenting her physical and mental capabilities to peak human levels; create hypnotic energy from her fingers; extend her power to surround other parts of her body or hand-held objects (such as swords), project energy over short distances; heal herself of injury or illness and project this power to heal others; sense mystic energy, particularly that which is related to K’un-Lun; fuse her consciousness with that of another person, enabling each to perceive the other’s emotions and memories; absorb energy directed at her and channel it to augment her own power; create nexus points between dimensions. Like other Iron Fists, her entire body was oriented to combat, enabling her to adapt to any environment with minimal exposure or control her nervous system to deaden herself to pain, and she was have been an exceptional athlete, acrobat and hand-to-hand combatant, trained in many martial arts weapons.

 

 

Height: 5'6" (speculative)
Weight: 130 lbs. (estimated)
Eyes: Gray
Hair: Black
young, battered face

History:
(Immortal Iron Fist#16, BTS) - Wu Ao-Shi was born in 1517A.D.


(Immortal Iron Fist#7) - Even as a young girl Wu Ao-Shi was considered a difficult woman in masculine-dominated K'un-Lun. 

    When she was a young girl (perhaps around 10 years old) she was accused of stealing glass rose-blossom cherries by a market vendor, who tied her hands behind her back and forced her to kneel, a glass cherry stuffed into her mouth. He then beat her with a cane, causing her to bite down, shattering the cherry to fill her mouth with broken glass. A crowd gathered to watch as the vendor gloatingly held out a second glass cherry, pronouncing that she would have to undergo this punishment a further eleven times. Wu began crying, but the vendor mistook her rage for fear, until she launched herself into the air with a kick, brought her tied hands under her legs and round to her front in mid-leap, and struck him a double-fisted blow to the nose. striking vendorAs the vendor crashed to the ground, dead or insensate, Wu spat blood mixed with the remains of the shattered cherry onto his body. 

    Having witnessed events, Lei Kung the Thunderer pushed his way out of the crowd, examined her injured mouth, and warned her to stay quiet, even if that would be for the first time in her life, both to give her mouth a chance to heal and to avoid getting herself in worse trouble. He promised her that if she listened to him, he would save her life, adding "you are welcome to challenge the assertion." 

    Staying quiet, she bowed her head in acquiescence. As city guards arrived, Lei Kung informed them of who he was and that he had seen everything, informing them that the girl had defended herself against a well-known neighborhood scoundrel. That day Lei Kung took her on as an apprentice.

 

 

shaved head

    Wu Ao-Shi spent years getting beaten up as she learned to fight, but never regretted her decision. 

    In her late teens she teased Lei Kung as they fought, demanding to know how it was fair that a big man like him beat up on a little girl like her, even as she easily dodged several spear strikes aimed at her. He reminded her that nothing would be given to her in life, and every comfort and privilege would have to be earned, fought for, or taken. Life was not fair, and did not care if she thrived or starved. 

    Later, as she sat and ate plain rice at a fountain, a young fisherman unknowingly disproved this mantra, as he noticed she still appeared hungry and offered her some fish. It was the first thing she had ever been given, and romance swiftly grew between them. Wu was unable to remember the last time a man had touched her without punching her, and they fell deeply in love. When the fisherman found two silver rings inside a fish, he proposed and she accepted. 

    However, soon after this, the city's ruler, Yu-Ti, asked her if she was ready to risk death fighting the dragon Shou-Lao, to claim its power and become Iron Fist. To Yu-Ti, she confidently announced herself ready, but the night before both she and the fisherman lay awake, each unaware the other could not sleep, as both worried about the day to follow.

 vs. Shoo-Lao

 

    The next day Wu became the first woman to face Shou-Lao the Undying, a battle watched by Yu-Ti, Lei Kung, the fisherman and many of K'un-Lun's finest citizens, some hoping to witness the new Iron Fist's birth, some hoping to witness Wu's death. The latter were disappointed, as Wu dodged the beast's flame and claws, then held on to the dragon, using her left hip to block the dragon-shaped burning brand on the dragon's chest through which the beast accessed its heart's energies. 

    Wu felled the dragon more quickly than any of her predecessors, and then, now bearing a burn scar on her hip in the shape of the dragon's brand, entered Shou-Lao's cave, to emerge a few minutes later with her hands aglow with the power of the Iron Fist.Iron Fist mask

 

 

    That night Wu excitedly recounted each and every blow of the fight to her husband, before realizing from his detached responses that something was wrong. 

    When she pressed him, he admitted his discomfort at watching her risk her life fighting, and that he was terrified where her new life might take her. 

    Wu tried to reassure him, insisting she knew what she was doing, and transferred some of her chi to his ring, which he wore round his neck, so that it glowed when near her ring, proof that she was near him, loved him and was still alive. 

    Despite this, that night the fisherman slipped away while she slept, aware he could never ask her not to be who she was, but feeling unable to watch her continually risk her life. It was the day K'un-Lun intersected with Earth, so he left the city, unwilling to stand between his true love and her destiny. 

    Unwilling to accept his choice, Wu informed Yu-Ti she was also leaving, a move that angered him, though he knew full well it was within her rights.

 

 

    Watched by Yu-Ti and Lei Kung, Wu departed, finding herself high in the snow-laden mountains, unaware her fisherman had taken a different road and was already down by the sea. 

    Suspecting the difficult path was a parting gift from Yu-Ti, Wu persevered, fighting bandits who attacked her and learning that in her new world she needed money to eat. 

    Taking some of the bandits' bows and arrows, Wu earned a living being paid to beat people up, her legend as an avenger of the oppressed spreading from village to village as she took down those who preyed on others.

 

 

<1545A.D.> Hearing of raiders who had taken over Pinghai Bay, Wu suspected there would be money in freeing the town. 

    Riding there, she slipped into town unnoticed, and followed a trail of concubines, rightly believing it would lead her to the pirate leader. 

    Confronting him in his bedchamber surrounded by his harem, she informed him that Pinghai Bay was now under her rule, and that he and his men had until sunrise to leave, or else they would face the Iron Fist's punishment. 

    Undaunted the Pirate King ordered his harem to attack, and when Wu managed to more than hold her own against them, despite their superior numbers, he called for his guards. 

    Despite her martial skills, sheer weight of numbers eventually ended the fight in the pirates' favor.

 

 

    Shortly afterwards, Wu was led through the street in stocks and chains, an example to the Pinghai residents as to what would happen to those who resisted the pirates. 

    She was chained up to a cross on the cliff, near other victims of pirate "justice," intended to die slowly, so that her bones, picked clean by the birds, would greet the pirates when their fleet next returned. 

    However, one of the townsfolk who had witnessed her being paraded through the streets was her husband. With most of the pirates having again gone to sea, that night he tricked the two guards left to watch her into eating a meal he provided, slaying them with poisoned fish. 

    Before he could release Wu, she angrily told him she needed a boat. Fearing losing dying, he freed her only after she had promised to take his small junk and sail it away from Pinghai Bay, never to return, and after she had sworn on their sacred love that she would not seek revenge on the pirates. 

    She agreed, and he let her go, believing that she would never lie to him because of their love. A fisherman rather than a thinker, it took about fifteen minutes, just around the time he watched her sail out to sea, before he realized she had lied to him.

 

 

As soon as she was near enough to the pirate ships, Wu rained burning arrows down on them. 

    The Pirate King yelled at his men, demanding to know how hard it could be to kill one little girl, but for hours she slaughtered them, leaping from her own little vessel onto one of theirs, beat up the crew and destroy the ship, then leap back to her own and lead the pirate fleet back towards land. 

    Eventually they managed to set her junker on fire, but not before she lad led them so far inland they had no chance to escape.   

 

 

(Immortal Iron Fist#2 (fb)) - <1545A.D.> The pirates pursued Wu's ship into Pinghai Bay, noting her sail was on fire but she wasn't stopping. 

    Believing they had her cornered and determined to teach her a lesson for sailing in "their" waters, one pirate captain proclaimed that nobody made fools of the Pinghai Wouku, and promised to cut out her tongue and listen to her gurgle for mercy. Moments later, as he continued his rant, his crew began dropping dead around him, each impaled by a burning arrow glowing with chi energy. 

    Wu somersaulted onto the ship as she continued to fire, then landed, dropped her bow and assuming a martial stance, ready to fight, informing any survivors listening that Pinghai Bay was now under her rule, but that they were welcome to challenge her assertion. 

    With that, she began to fight, leaping from ship to ship, leaving behind a trail of fiery destruction as she destroyed the pirate fleet. 

 

(Immortal Iron Fist#7) - Pinghai Bay was now under Wu's rule. 

    She returned to the harbor to find her husband calming his nerves by fishing. She was glad to discover he had forgiven her transgression, having come to the realization that she could no more easily give up fighting than he could give up fishing. If they could not change this, then at least they should be happy. 

    They remained together happily for the rest of their days, and started a family. Until her death, she was the Pirate Queen of Pinghai Bay, and ruled with benevolence, protecting her people from tyranny and oppression.  

 

(Immortal Iron Fist#16, BTS) - Wu Ao-Shi died in 1550A.D., aged 33, ...

(Immortal Iron Fist#18, BTS) - slain by the Ch'i-Lin.

 

(Invincible Iron Man Annual#1, BTS) - Wu's reputation lived on, and in modern times her story was adapted as the movie Pinghai Bay by director Jun Shan.

 

Comments: Created by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction (writers), Travel Foreman (pencils) and Derek Fridolfs (inks).
    N.B. David Aja provided art for most of her debut issue, but not the introductory pages the character appears on.

    It's not explicitly stated how long it took between the couple leaving K'un-Lun and finding one another again. However, the impression given is that it was several years. Wu had grown her hair, going from being shaved bald to lengthy locks, and had, it seems, given up on finding her husband. He, meanwhile, was a youth with hair when the pirates took over the bay and a more mature, bald man, when Wu arrived. Though this change of hair for Wu could have happened in only a few months, the giving up looking would have taken longer. We know that she was twenty-eight when she got to Pinghai Bay, based on her age the year she died, and she departed K'un-Lun within a day of fighting Shou-Lao, when she would have been at youngest late teens (18?) and oldest, perhaps, very early 20s.

    I had ASSumed that the fisherman placed those rings within the fish as a means of proposal, but there's nothing in the story to support (or refute) that, as far as I know.
--Snood.

Profile by Loki.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Wu Ao-Shi should not be confused with


Fisherman

    An unidentified K'un-Lun fisherman noticed Lei Kung's trainee Wu Ao-Shi sitting alone and eating plain rice, and offered her a fish because he felt she looked hungry, something he could empathize with. The first man to treat her with tenderness in many years, she fell in love with him, and he with her. When he discovered two silver rings inside a fish he had caught, he proposed and she accepted. However, when she told him she was to face Shou-Lao the Undying he had a sleepless night worrying about her, knowing no other woman had ever faced the beast. Though he joined others coming out the city to witness the battle, he found himself unable to watch and hide his eyes, only finally looking after she had slain the dragon and claimed the power of the Iron Fist.

    That night he listened as Wu excitedly recounted each and every blow of the fight, responding with "yes dear" to every beat of the story. She finally realized something was wrong, and he admitted his discomfort at watching her risk her life fighting, and that he was terrified where her new life might take her. She tried to reassure him, insisting she knew what she was doing, and transferred some of her chi to his ring, which he wore round his neck, so that it glowed when near her ring, proof that she was near him, loved him and was still alive. Despite this, he recognized that he would always be a fisherman and she the Immortal Weapon, and felt they belonged in different worlds. He knew he could never ask her to change, but also that he could not take watching her continuously risk her life, so that night he slipped away while she slept. It was the day K'un-Lun intersected with Earth, so he left the city, unwilling to stand between his true love and her destiny. He almost immediately found himself on water-lapped shores prime for fishing, and sadly settled down to his calling.

    Things started well for the fisherman, but they didn't last. One day Wokou pirates showed up, raiding Pinghai Bay and enslaving those they did not kill. Some time later the fisherman saw the pirates parade a captive through the streets, and realized it was Wu Ao-Shi. Having attacked the Pirate King, she was made an example of, and chained up on top of the cliffs to die from exposure and starvation. That night he took a meal of poisoned fish to the men left guarding Wu, then freed her after eliciting a promise from her that she would not risk her life fighting the pirates again, but instead simply flee. A fisherman rather than a thinker, it took him fifteen minutes before it occurred to him that she had lied. Nervous, worried and otherwise uptight about his true love's fate, he chose to do what he did best - he fished. And when the shores of the Bay lapped with the ruins of Wu's enemies, he had an epiphany - this was simply how it must be. Set free by the realization that neither of them could defy their natures, he concluded they should at least be happy. They lived the remainder of their days happily together. 

--Immortal Iron Fist#7


images: (without ads)
Immortal Iron Fist#7 cover (main image).
Immortal Iron Fist#7, p15, pan4 (headshot)
Immortal Iron Fist#7, p2, pan3 (headshot as a young child)
Immortal Iron Fist#7, p2, pan6-7 (attacking the vendor)
Immortal Iron Fist#7, p4, pan1 (headshot as a trainee)
Immortal Iron Fist#7, p8, pan4 (blocking Shou-Lao's scar with her hip)
Immortal Iron Fist#7, p9, pan5 (displaying the Iron Fist power for the first time, with fresh hip wound visible)
Immortal Iron Fist#7, p11, pan6 (headshot wearing Iron Fist traditional mask)
Immortal Iron Fist#7, p11, pan3 (wearing Iron Fist traditional garb and cloak)
Immortal Iron Fist#7, p12, pan4 (fighting bandits, empowering multiple appendages simultaneously)
Immortal Iron Fist#7, p12, pan5 (early days wandering garb, pre-mercenary, with hip scar visible)
Immortal Iron Fist#7, p16, pan1 (financially successful mercenary outfit, fighting Pirate King's harem)
Immortal Iron Fist#7, p19, pan1 (empowering arrows with chi)
Immortal Iron Fist#7, p22, pan2 (Wu Ao-Shi and family)
Immortal Iron Fist#7, p12, pan2 (fisherman as young man, shortly after departing K'un-Lun)
Immortal Iron Fist#7, p21, pan2 (more mature fisherman)  


Appearances:
Immortal Iron Fist#2 (February, 2007) - Matt Fraction (writer), David Aja, Travel Foreman, John Severin (pencils), David Aja, Derek Fridolfs, John Severin (inks), Alejandro Arbona (assistant editor), Warren Simons (editor)
Immortal Iron Fist#7 (August, 2007) - Matt Fraction (writer), Travel Foreman, Leandro Fernandez, Khari Evans (pencils), Derek Fridolfs, Francisco Paronzini, Leo Fernandez, Victor Olazaba (inks), Alejandro Arbona (assistant editor), Warren Simons (editor)
Immortal Iron Fist#16 (August, 2008) - Matt Fraction (writer), David Aja (artist), Alejandro Arbona (assistant editor), Warren Simons (editor)
Immortal Iron Fist#18 (October, 2008) - Matt Fraction (writer), Travel Forman & Russ Heath (artists), Alejandro Arbona (assistant editor), Warren Simons (editor)
Invincible Iron Man Annual#1 (2010) - Matt Fraction (writer), Carmine Di Giandomenico (art), Alejandro Arbona (assistant editor), Ralph Macchio (editor)


Last updated: 05/04/16

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