Fa Lo Suee — “Master of Kung Fu”

Daugh­ters of Evil World Con­querors real­ly have only two options in life: be their father’s ador­ing min­ion who ulti­mate­ly falls for the Hero and helps him defeat her father, or strike out on your own and try to out-con­quer him. Fah Lo Suee, daugh­ter of the inscruitable Man­darin Fu Manchu, is entire­ly the lat­ter. But while Fah Lo Suee in the nov­els was more the for­mer, only once real­ly act­ing in the role of con­queror in place of her father, in the Mar­vel com­ic “Shang-Chi, Mas­ter of Kung Fu”, she was a re-occur­ring char­ac­ter with her own agen­da who bat­tled her father as much as she bat­tled her own half-broth­er Shang-Chi.

His­to­ry: In 1972, Mar­vel Comics obtained the lit­er­ary rights to Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu nov­els in order to pub­lish a mar­tial arts com­ic enti­tled “Mas­ter of Kung Fu”  to take advan­tage of the pop­u­lar­i­ty of the TV series Kung Fu and the cor­re­spond­ing increased inter­est in mar­tial arts action. The license allowed Mar­vel to use the exist­ing char­ac­ters, aged from the 1920’s era, with a new lead char­ac­ter, Shang Chi. Shang Chi was trained to be his father’s assas­sin but reject­ed that path as one that degrad­ed his quest to advance him­self. (Trans­lat­ed, his name meant “the ris­ing and advanc­ing of the spirit”.) 

One of the char­ac­ters used was Fah Lo Suee, Fu Manchu’s seduc­tive­ly hyp­not­ic (or hyp­not­i­cal­ly seduc­tive) daugh­ter, who shared her father’s hyp­not­ic prowess, aid­ed by her exot­ic Eurasian beau­ty, cun­ning charm and ruth­less nature. Fah Lo Suee is the “pet” name giv­en her by her father, as her real name is nev­er used: it is said to mean “sweet per­fume” although Rohmer’s Chi­nese is a lit­tle faulty. 

Fah Lo Suee would make sev­er­al appear­ances in “Mas­ter of Kung Fu”, always with the intent of thwart­ing her father’s schemes or pro­mot­ing her own. The fol­low­ing are the most relevant. 

(26) ‘Daughter of Darkness!’

The first appear­ance of Fah Lo Suee. She uses her hyp­not­ic pow­ers on young Egyp­tol­o­gist Robert Gre­ville, in order to locate the fabled ruby eyes of The Gold­en Bee­tle of Seth-Amon, twin rubies that have the pow­er to hyp­no­tize even beyond her own abil­i­ty, which she is sus­pect­ed of desir­ing in order to con­trol her more pow­er­ful father. Gre­ville is first placed under her seduc­tive spell by her mys­te­ri­ous appear­ance in his rooms at night (described above) and giv­en an emer­ald ring as a reminder of her eyes. 

[Robert Gre­ville] “… and there she was, stand­ing right at the foot of my bed as proud as could be. She was dark … sul­try. I sup­pose you might say she was cold­ly sen­su­al, if you know what I mean. And her dress — sheer black satin which looked as though it had been paint­ed to her body …” 

[Nay­land-Smith] “And did she speak to you?” 

[Gre­ville] “Yes. Her voice was low, throaty — it seemed to purr, and yet there was no doubt that she was capa­ble of a snarl. She told me that I’d soon find what I had been search­ing for — the Ruby Eyes of the Gold­en Bee­tle”.

[Nay­land Smith] “And her eyes, Lord Robert … ? What were they like?” 

[Gre­ville] “The purest jade green … and pierc­ing­ly hyp­not­ic. They actu­al­ly seemed to glow with­in the dark­ness of my bed cham­ber. I don’t mind admit­ting that I was fright­ened, Sir Denis — for deep with­in her unwa­ver­ing stare I glimpsed every­thing which is at once depraved and irre­sistible … every dark sin and bright lust capa­ble of Man.”

Lat­er she will kid­nap him and bring him to the tomb where the Bee­tle is sup­pos­ed­ly buried, mes­mer­iz­ing him into find­ing them. 

[Fah Lo Suee] “The emer­ald, Robert Gre­ville … the emer­ald in the ring … is much like my eyes, is it not? …” 

“You brought me to this pyra­mid because the emer­ald want­ed you to do so … because my eyes com­mand­ed you to do so … my eyes reach­ing out from the green depths of the emer­ald …”

[Robert Gre­ville] “Yes … the emer­ald … want­ed me to … bring you … here …” 

[Fah Lo Suee] “And now the emer­ald wants you to lead me to the Pharao­h’s bur­ial cham­ber … my eyes com­mand you to lead me there … My eyes, reach­ing out from the depths of the emerald.” 

When Shang Chi and Nay­land Smith con­front Fah Lo Suee, Smith, too, falls under the hyp­not­ic spell of her eyes when he acci­den­tal­ly looks into them. 

[Nay­land-Smith] “Then it’s true, daugh­ter of Hell, you still live … eter­nal­ly beau­ti­ful … eter­nal­ly evil …” 

[Fah Lo Suee] “Wel­come, Nay­land-Smith … it has been a long time since I last saw you …” 

[Nay­land-Smith] “You’re still … so young … not a day old­er that the last time I gazed into your hell­ish eyes, your beau­ti­ful emer­ald eyes … still enchant­i­ng … promis­ing peace … and plea­sure beyond —” 

[Shang Chi] “Smith —! You must not —” 

[Fah Lo Suee] “Gaze into my eyes again, Nay­land-Smith, and ask your­self how you could have refused my love … but know with cer­tain­ty that you can nev­er refuse my com­mand … for you are mine, Nay­land-Smith … mine again, after forty long years …”}

(28) ‘A Small Spirit, Slowly Shaped’

Fah Lo Suee, hav­ing sur­vived the explo­sion that was meant to kill her and seal the Ruby Eyes with­in the Pharao­h’s tomb for­ev­er, uses the Ruby Eyes to con­trol a force of her father’s Si-Fan assas­sins. Only one of the assas­sins has resist­ed her ampli­fied hyp­not­ic pow­ers, and he aids Shang Chi in hold­ing off the oth­er assas­sins while Shang Chi steals the ruby ear­rings that Fah Lo Sueee has had the Ruby Eyes made into. 

(47) ‘Phantom Sand’

After Reston was knocked down from behind, he woke up in sec­onds, but decid­ed to play dead, watch­ing Tar­rant tell Fah Lo Suee to kill him, but she decid­ed to keep him alive. After Reston had escaped, he watched Fah Lo Suee and her men from afar, but was knocked down by Chankar and brought to Fah Lo Suee, who brought him under her con­trol with her mimosa perfume. 

Lat­er, after Shang and Leiko man­aged to escape, Fah Lo Suee left in a heli­copter, leav­ing the mind-con­trolled Reston scream­ing and beg­ging for her to take him with her. 

(87) ‘Warriors of the Golden Dawn #5: The Chrysalis and the Peacock’

Fah Lo Suee appears as part of a con­spir­a­cy to con­trol British Mil­i­tary Intel­li­gence (M.I.6) Sur­pris­ing­ly, her intent is not to destroy it, to strength­en it for use against her father. She is dis­cov­ered by an asso­ciate of Shang Chi’s, Black Jack Tarr, a big, bruis­ing Englishman. 

[Tarr, hold­ing a gun on Fah Lo Suee.] “I under­stand awright, you two-faced vix­en. You think I could for­get how you’ve tricked me time and again?” 

[Fah Lo Suee stares at Tarr] “Nor can you for­get my eyes, Black Jack Tarr … the spell of gold­en dreams dwelling deep with my eyes …” 

[Tarr] “I don’t want … I … can’t … can’t … your … eyes …” 

[Fah Lo Suee] “Put down the gun, Jack Tarr … and kiss me.” 

Tarr unfor­tu­nate­ly does­n’t get much plea­sure from the kiss, as Zaran, Fah Lo Suee’s enforcer, inter­rupts them and mis­tak­en­ly believes Tarr will­ing­ly com­plied. He then pro­ceeds to beat the tar {sor­ry} out of Tarr in jealousy. 

Notes: Because of licens­ing issues, Mar­vel has been unable to ful­ly col­lect and reprint the com­ic series and has been forced to obscure ref­er­ences of Fu Manchu. 

Com­men­tary: Fah Lo Suee in these comics seems more akin to her appear­ance in the The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932) ver­sion star­ring Boris Karloff and Myr­na Loy than in any of the nov­els, where she has a more lim­it­ed role under the direc­tion of her father, except for “The Daugh­ter of Fu Manchu”  where she is stand­ing in for her father. Here she is almost as ruth­less as her father, but on a more lim­it­ed scale: her goals are often inscrutable although they often in con­flict with her father’s, where even she has dif­fi­cul­ty oppos­ing him. When that hap­pens, she often manip­u­lates Shang-chi and his asso­ciates into help­ing her. 

Ref­er­ences:

5 Responses to “Fa Lo Suee — “Master of Kung Fu””

  • Darci says:

    You might also be inter­est­ed in Fu Manchu’s cin­e­mat­ic daugh­ter, Lin Tang, por­trayed by Tsai Chin in 5 films.  In par­tic­u­lar, see 1966’s “The Brides of Fu Manchu” for its hyp­not­ic scenes.

    • HypnoMedia says:

      I’ve seen “Brides” and “Vengeance” of the five Christo­pher Lee “Fu Manchu” movies with Tsai Chin and she was def­i­nite­ly the duti­ful daugh­ter type there. She was quite potent­ly hyp­not­ic there, but still nowhere as pow­er­ful as her father. I mean, in the revolt scene as the end of “Brides” she has to grab one of the women and force her to stare into her eyes to entrance her, where­as all Fu Manchu had to do to com­mand their total obe­di­ence was sim­ply walk into the room. 

      I’ll have to check: I won­der if Ham­mer ever released the Fu Manchu movies as a set? Accord­ing to IMDb, there is a Span­ish release but the last two movies of the five are in Spanish.

      • Darci says:

        Ham­mer won’t be releas­ing these films, they were pro­duced by Har­ry Alan Tow­ers (his com­pa­ny was named Tow­ers of Lon­don).  I don’t think all 5 films in the series have been released on DVD?

        Dar­ci

         

        • HypnoMedia says:

          So I dis­cov­ered: my next post is about “The Brides of Fu Manchu”. How­ev­er, the direc­tor did do two films for Ham­mer, includ­ing “Rasputin: the Mad Monk”, and a some of the episodes for the Ham­mer hor­ror TV anthol­o­gy, so I feel the mis­per­cep­tion is some­what justified.

  • ronin1861 says:

    In the UK, the first 3 films can be bought as a boxed set. The final two films crop up on ebay and else­where reg­u­lar­ly as a pair. I recent­ly watched all 5 recent­ly, and can see why you would think the first 3 have a Ham­mer feel.

    The lat­ter two were direct­ed by Jess Fran­co, who inter­cuts some of his footage from anoth­er of his films (The Girl From Rio, I think) fea­tur­ing Shirley Eaton. Fran­co also revis­its the Fu Manchu, or, more accu­rate­ly, ‘Daugh­ter Of…’ motif in a film called ‘Esclavas Del Crimen’, which fea­tures Lina Romay (an occa­sion­al Fran­co muse) as Fah Lo Suee. I don’t think that film has ever been released on DVD (Fran­co’s out­put is prodi­gious and not all his films have seen release), but I believe it has Romay using hypnosis/mind control.

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