Real Name: Chong Li
Identity/Class: Xian (Chinese/Taoist gods)
Occupation: God of Fire; Guardian of Universal Order
Group Membership: The Xian
Affiliations: The Xian
Enemies: Iron Fist (Daniel Rand-K'ai), the One, Yu-Ti (Sparrow), Theodore Smith, New York Police Department, citizens of K'un-Lun; possibly Wendell Rand-K'ai
Known Relatives: Gong-Gong (Kang Hui, son), Zhuan Xu (Gao Yang, father), Chang Yi (grandfather), Jing Pu / Chang Pu (grandmother), Huang Di (Yellow Emperor, great-grandfather), Lei Zu (great-grandmother), Shao Dian (great-great-grandfather), Fu Bao (great-great-grandmother)
Aliases: 祝融, Zhurong, Zhu-Rong
Base of Operations: Ta-Lo (Celestial Realm of the Xian);
formerly Diqiu ("Emperor Hill," near modern-day Puyang, Henan Province, China)
First Appearance: Thor & Hercules: Encyclopaedia Mythologica#1 (July 2009)
Powers/Abilities: Zhu Rong possesses the conventional powers of the Xian
(Gods of China) including superhuman strength, speed, longevity and
durability, although his physical strength and durability surpasses
that of the average male Taoist god.
Since achieving godhood, Zhu Rong
no longer ages and cannot die by conventional means. Zhu Rong is immune
to all terrestrial diseases and is resistant to conventional injury. If
Zhu Rong is wounded, then his godly life force will enable him to
recover at a superhuman rate. It would take an injury of such magnitude
that it incinerates Zhu Rong or disperses a major portion of his bodily
molecules to cause him to die. Zhu Rong's flesh and bone are about two
times denser than similar human tissue, contributing to the god's
superhuman strength and weight.
Like many Xian, Zhu Rong also possesses additional superhuman powers derived from properly balancing the positive and negative "chi" energy within his physical form. Zhu Rong's superhuman powers largely involve the creation and manipulation of fire. For instance, he is able to summon and project intense heat capable of vaporizing mortal bodies. He is also able to alter his size and engulf his entire body in a cloak of fire.
Zhu Rong is a highly-skilled hand-to-hand combatant, and often wields a jian (traditional Chinese double-edged straight sword), through which he can project intense blasts of fire. He is often accompanied by a giant South China tiger familiar, which sometimes serves as his steed.
Hair: Black (none when engulfed in flame)
(Thor & Hercules: Encyclopaedia Mythologica #1) - According to ancient myths, Yuanshi Tianzun, the Primeval Lord of Heaven, emerged from "wuji," the primordial nothingness, as a result of the merging of the pure breaths of the Earth Mother Gaea (known as "Yin" and later as "Nüwa" to the Xian) and the Demiurge (known as "Yang" and later as "Fuxi" to the Xian). By preserving the universal balance of Yin and Yang, Yuanshi Tianzun reigned as the supreme administrator of Ta-Lo, and eventually began bestowing P'an-t'ao, the Peaches of Immortality, to mortals who he deemed worthy of godhood. These newly-apotheosized Xian began to assist Yuanshi Tianzun in administering the Heavens and Earth.
(Myth) - One such Xian was the fire god Zhu Rong, who assisted in establishing the boundaries between Heaven and Earth and was tasked with presiding over Universal Order.
(Myth / Iron Fist: The Living Weapon#11 (fb) - BTS) - Later, when Zhu Rong's son, the destructive, serpentine water deity known as Gong-Gong, attempted to seize control of the Heavens for himself, Zhu Rong was tasked with defeating and punishing his son. Following a prolonged battle, Gong-Gong was defeated by Zhu Rong and fell from the Heavens, landing on Earth and violently striking his head upon Mount Buzhou, one of the Eight Pillars of the Sky. The damage sustained to Mount Buzhou caused the Heavens to fall toward the Earth until the damage was repaired by the goddess Nüwa.
(Iron Fist: The Living Weapon#1-9 - BTS) - In modern times, the One (a chi-powered robot designed by K'un-Lun scientist the Fooh) allegedly merged with the remains of deceased businessman/adventurer Wendell Rand-K'ai, gaining access to his memories in the process. The One eventually arrived in Manhattan, New York, using advanced technology to reconstruct Wendell's former building Rand Tower into a tool which could harness the collective chi of K'un-Lun's population and channel it into itself. The One then attempted to use this newly-acquired chi to transform Manhattan into a new K'un-Lun under its control and repurpose the Rand Gateway from Earth to K'un-Lun into a portal connecting Earth to the Heavens in an effort to retrieve Wendell's deceased wife Heather Rand from the afterlife. Despite the best efforts of Wendell's son, Iron Fist (Daniel Rand-K'ai), to stop these plans, ...
(Iron Fist: The Living Weapon#1-9 - BTS) - ...The One succeeded in weakening the boundaries between Earth and Heaven, enabling a wrathful Zhu Rong to emerge in Manhattan.
(Iron Fist: The Living Weapon#11) - A giant Zhu Rong, cloaked in fire, emerged in Manhattan through the weakened boundary between Earth and Heaven, angered by the mortals' disrespect for the boundaries separating the living from the dead. Specifically, Zhu Rong chastised "Wendell Rand" for refusing to complete his own journey to the afterlife and vowed to escort him to Hell, taking New York City with him as compensation. The One ordered Zhu Rong to kneel before him, but the fire god struck down the One, leaving it shattered on the ground. Defeated, the One then wrapped its mechanized tentacles around Iron Fist, whom he considered to be his son. Using the One's connection to Rand Tower's advanced technology and the collective chi of K'un-Lun's population within it, Iron Fist focused his own chi into the building, transforming the entire structure into a giant automaton under his control. Iron Fist then used the animated Rand Tower to battle Zhu Rong until the god critically damaged the building with his sword. A desperate Iron Fist then focused chi into his fist and launched his entire body, fist first, toward Zhu Rong's head, piercing the giant god's skull and landing in the pituitary gland at the base of his brain, seemingly killing him.
(Iron Fist: The Living Weapon#12) - As the giant Zhu Rong lie defeated on the streets of Manhattan, Iron Fist reemerged from his head.
Comments: Adapted by Anthony Flamini and Gus Vazquez.
Despite Iron Fist effectively lobotomizing the giant
Zhu Rong with his entire body and then reemerging from his skull as the
god lie lifeless in the street, it's unlikely that Zhu Rong was
actually killed in this confrontation, as the injury didn't appear to
disperse a major portion of his bodily molecules.
And because gods tend to be reincarnated even when they do die...hard to truly terminate an immortal life force--Snood
According to Thor & Hercules: Encyclopaedia Mythologica#1 . . .
"The Xian and the 36 Taoist heavens share many characteristics with the extradimensional Eight Capital Cities of Heaven and their inhabitants, who hold a tournament among their designated 'Immortal Weapons' every 88 years to determine which city will manifest in the Earth realm most frequently. However, any connection between the Xian and the Eight Capital Cities of Heaven has yet to be revealed. Some scholars theorize that the inhabitants of the Eight Capital Cities have posed as the Xian at various points throughout history."
Indeed, ever since Roy Thomas debuted Iron Fist and the legend of K'un-Lun in the pages of 1974's Marvel Premiere I#15, writers have borrowed heavily from East Asian folklore, mythology, and religion (to include Buddhism and Taoism) when it comes to developing names, concepts, and storylines associated with K'un-Lun and the other Eight Capital Cities of Heaven. However, in addition to that, as seen in Thor (Yu Huang), Thanos (Shou-Hsing) and Iron Man (Monkey King) comics, the Marvel Universe is also inhabited by actual Buddhist, Taoist and Chinese folk deities. As a result, it can sometimes be confusing as to whether a particular character is intended to be (a) an actual god, (b) an extradimensional resident of one of the Eight Capital Cities of Heaven, or (c) both. For instance, the character Lei Kung the Thunderer (former ruler of the extradimensional city of K'un-Lun) appears to be an entirely separate character from Lei Gong (Taoist god of thunder). On the other hand, the names "Feng-Tu" (the realm of the dead for the inhabitants of K'un-Lun) and "Diyu" [《地獄》 in Chinese] (the realm of the dead in Chinese mythology) appear to be used interchangeably.
Here, given that the character of Zhu Rong, as depicted in the Iron Fist: The Living Weapon series, specifically referenced punishing his son Gong-Gong when he attempted to seize the Heavens for himself (a mythological event recorded in the ancient Chinese text "Huainanzi" [《淮南子》in Chinese]), it appears that writer Kaare Andrews intended this Zhu Rong to be the actual Chinese fire god rather than an original character associated with the Eight Capital Cities of Heaven which was merely inspired by Chinese mythology.
See the comments in the profile on "The One" for discussion on Wendell Rand's involvement with the One.
This profile was completed 10/06/2020, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.
Profile by Skullogeist
Zhu Rong should not be confused with
images: (without ads)
Iron Fist: The Living Weapon#10, p15 (main image)
Thor & Hercules: Encyclopaedia Mythologica: Xian profile (Zhu Rong in his normal form, with tiger)
Iron Fist: The Living Weapon#11, p10 (A giant Zhu Rong attacking Manhattan)
Iron Fist: The Living Weapon#11, p19, pan6 (The "death" of Zhu Rong)
Thor & Hercules: Encyclopaedia Mythologica (July, 2009) - Anthony Flamini (head writer), Alex Starbuck (editorial assistant), John Denning & Cory Levine (assistant editors), Mark D. Beazley & Jennifer Grunwald (editors, special projects), Jeff Youngquist (editor)
Iron Fist: The Living Weapon#10-12 (May-July, 2015) - Kaare Kyle Andrews (writer & artist), Jake Thomas (editor)
First Posted: 09/12/2021
Last Updated: 09/10/2021
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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