Madame Gao is a very powerful woman running her own trade of heroin in Hell's Kitchen with the aid of Rand Enterprises. While fighting off the efforts of the new vigilante Daredevil, Gao betrayed Wilson Fisk and, as a result, decided to leave New York City to reflect upon the future. However she soon returned and gained a rival with the Blacksmith who was selling his own heroin, so Gao manipulated Daredevil and Punisher to kill him. Gao's heroin trade was interrupted again by the return of Danny Rand, who used both his position within Rand Enterprises as well as his Iron Fist title to destroy Gao's enterprise. This led to Gao being captured by a rival Hand leader named Bakuto until Gao was able to manipulate Rand and set herself free to exact her own revenge.
Killing the Rands
When Harold Meachum was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he went to Gao for aid who promised to return him from the dead. For a while, Gao had her division of the Hand infiltrate Rand Enterprises and kept watch on Meachum, who was under the Hand's control after returning from the dead.
Work in New York City
Madame Gao is a master in the drug trade; she is in charge of an illegal drug manufacturing operation where her subordinates allowed themselves to be blinded, except for the security guards. Gao was approached by Wilson Fisk for assistance in his ambition to change Hell's Kitchen. To this end, he proposed assisting her in the distribution of her heroin. Together they worked out a system where Gao's blind workers would take bags of heroin to Vladimir and Anatoly Ranskahov who would help deliver it.
One night, Madame Gao sat atop an empty building, along with her various associates, awaiting the arrival of Wilson Fisk. When Leland Owlsley complained about the cold and how Nobu Yoshioka did not seem bothered, Gao claimed that men like Yoshioka who had blood on their hands stayed warm. Eventually James Wesley arrived for the meeting instead of Fisk, citing Fisk was too busy to come in person, and for that he wanted to apologize to everybody and especially Gao personally. Gao listened as Owlsley protested about Fisk's absence and Anatoly and Vladimir Ranskahov called Wesley a lapdog. When Wesley then questioned Anatoly and Vladimir about why their payment was short, they explained that a masked man freed their captive girls and beat up Turk Barrett and their subordinates. Gao spoke in Mandarin, but only Wesley understood, asking if the masked man took the girls for himself, but the Ranskahovs informed her that he had let them go. Gao quietly listened as the meeting continued and tensions between Wesley and the Ranskahov brothers increased even more.
War with the Russians
Gao was later called for another meeting, this time without either of the Ranskahov brothers; Leland Owlsley commented on the pints of blood being drained from a nearby car, to which Gao only laughed. They were interrupted by James Wesley and Wilson Fisk's arrival; Gao told Fisk she was happy to see him. Fisk however announced that the Ranskahov brothers were no longer a part of their organization as Fisk had murdered Anatoly the night before due to a personal matter which he did not share with the group yet, which only annoyed them all. Both Gao and Nobu Yoshioka expressed their anger at the news and demanded to know how their own work could continue without the assistance of the Russians. However Gao was told by Fisk to still continue moving all of her shipments of Steel Serpent heroin to the Russians until Fisk could take over all the distribution. The group reluctantly agreed on the matter and departed while Fisk offered to walk Gao to her car, where she asked if he wanted something from her, but Fisk insisted that he only wanted to put the matter behind them all as quickly and effectively as was possible.
Controlling Wilson Fisk
Before long, Gao learned where Wilson Fisk's Penthouse was within New York City arrived for a private meeting with him. Fisk poured her tea which he had brought back from his last trip to China, which Gao approved of, but she assured him that she had not come to his home for tea. Gao then began speaking to Fisk in English, much to his surprise, and revealed that she was fully aware that Fisk spoke Mandarin and Japanese and did not need James Wesley to translate for him any longer, so Fisk ordered him to leave them alone. They began speaking to each other in fluent Mandarin and Gao told him that neither Nobu Yoshioka nor Leland Owlsley were happy with Fisk's handling of recent events. She then called Fisk emotional and sloppy, making an example of her discovery of his residence as proof that Fisk was losing control. Before she departed, she told Fisk that if he did not restore his business to order, she would cut him from their organization and begin dealing with Yoshioka and Owlsley directly. She calmly left Wilson Fisk's Penthouse, thanking him for the tea as Fisk, enraged due to Gao's threat and overthrew the table.
Making a Choice
Gao had a meeting with Wilson Fisk on a rooftop garden. When he arrived, she commented on James Wesley's absence, as he was no longer needed to translate. Gao spoke to Fisk in Mandarin and told him a metaphorical tale of a snake that died after biting an elephant. When Gao expressed her disappointment at Nobu Yoshioka's death, Fisk claimed that he did not expect Yoshioka to go against the masked man himself. Gao warned Fisk that the Hand was preparing for retaliation. She asked him if his ambition would ever turn to her, but Fisk assured her that she had his respect. She told him that his mind was distracted since falling in love with Vanessa Marianna. She told him to decide if he was the savior or oppressor of the city. Believing Fisk's love for Marianna would endanger their business, Gao decided to join forces with Leland Owlsley and together they planned to poison Marianna at the benefit Fisk was attending. Although Marianna did drink the poison, she was rushed to the hospital in time to be saved.
Encounter with the Masked Man
While in her warehouse, Gao watched over her blind workers as they continued producing Steel Serpent Heroin. However, she spotted the masked man in her warehouse, who was snooping around to find for answers about the drug trade in New York City. Gao yelled a warning to her workers and ordered them to attack, hoping that their numbers would overwhelm him and he would be detained long enough for her to escape. While her workers found and surrounded the intruder, Gao took two armed guards with her and attempted to escape the warehouse during the fight. However, just as Gao quickly moved through the warehouse towards safety, they were attacked by the masked man who quickly defeated the guards and confronted Gao, causing a fire to break out when one of her guards shot a nearby barrel. With just Gao and the man alone in the slowly burning room, Gao stood tall and prepared for the confrontation with the feared vigilante who had so far defeated both Nobu Yoshioka and the Russian mob. The man demanded to know why her people had been blinded, but Gao assured him that they had blinded themselves because of their faith in what she stood for, and now the masked man had taken that faith away from them. The man questioned if their faith was in her drugs but Gao insisted it was about more than heroin and that he had no faith at all. When the man asked about Wilson Fisk, Gao struck him in the chest and knocked him a few feet across the floor. As the man recovered from the shock, Gao vanished without a trace, while the warehouse and all of her heroin burned down.
Reflecting upon the Future
Having escaped from her warehouse before the New York City Police Department could find and arrest her and her business burned to the ground, Gao met with Leland Owlsley to discuss the recent events. She greeted Owlsley in English, apologizing for her lateness. She informed Owlsley about the encounter with the masked man and the destruction of the heroin. When Owlsley suggested she bring in more heroin, Gao explained that she never had any real interest in selling drugs. They then discussed the risk of Wilson Fisk discovering their plan to assassinate Vanessa Marianna, with Gao noting that Fisk believed that the poison was meant for him. Owlsley then asked if Gao was responsible for killing James Wesley as well, but she assured him she was not as Wesley had never shown her discourtesy. As Gao left the meeting, she then informed Owlsley that she was returning to her homeland to reflect upon the future. Knowing that Fisk would likely learn the truth about Marianna's poisoning, Gao told Owlsley that they would not speak again as she walked away.
Hunting the Blacksmith
Gao either returned or never left New York City, continuing her heroin trade despite running into trouble when a rival dealer known as the Blacksmith began stepping into her territory. Gao was visited by Daredevil who demanded to know how and where he could find the Blacksmith. Once Gao had ordered her men to leave, they discussed the Blacksmith, with Daredevil threatening to call the New York City Police Department to her location if she did not assist him in the search. Madame Gao started to explain how the Blacksmith was eliminating her chemists and street dealers, causing trouble for her. Daredevil assured her that he could end the Blacksmith's career that night. Gao directed him to the docks as her men believed he brought his drugs over by ships although she did not know which pier and so could not have him killed herself, advising him that the Blacksmith's ship would be well guarded. As Daredevil thanked Gao for all of her assistance and prepared to leave, Gao then warned him that his path would not be an easy one before allowing him to leave.
Challenging Iron Fist
Harold Meachum's Prison
Upon Danny Rand's mysterious return to New York City, Gao learned that Harold Meachum had left his penthouse prison to investigate the identity of Rand. Furious at Meachum's actions, she left a Hand print on the outside of his window. While Meachum was training later that night, Gao arrived in person to reaffirm his cooperation. Shocked at Gao's arrival, Meachum accidentally broke a glass, only for Gao to order him to kneel on the glass as a sign of respect to her, causing Meachum to cut his hands and knees on the broken glass, causing him pain. Madame Gao had Meachum, through his own son Ward Meachum, purchase pier property to smuggle in a scientist named Radovan Bernivig to produce all of their heroin. However before he arrived, Iron Fist intercepted Bernivig and escaped. Having inspected the truck with Iron Fist had punched through, Madame Gao killed the bodyguard assigned to secure Bernivig and left his head behind in the abandoned truck for Rand to find, along with a challenge to him, as the only was to free Bernivig's Sabina Bernivig would be to then complete her upcoming Da Jue Zhan contest.
Da Jue Zhan
As expected, Danny Rand went to the location where he set the terms for Gao that if he won the duel, she'd free the the Sabina Bernivig and the Hand would leave New York City. Gao accepted this and in turn demanded that if he were to lose the contest, then he would never get involved with the Hand's activities ever again, with Rand accepted.
Gao led Rand through the warehouse were he was first challenged by Andrei and Grigori Veznikov, who battled him together to try and overpower Rand, however he soon got the upper hand and forced them to yield. Rand then was attacked by the Bride of Nine Spiders who tried to first seduce and then poison Rand, however he fought though the pain and eventually defeated her as well. Having now fought two of three rounds, and Gao made him an offer to withdraw the challenge before the third fight, which he turned down.
He fought the final opponent, Scythe, who used all his skills with bladed weapons to try and kill the Iron Fist, however he was not as skilled as Rand, who then used the power of the Iron Fist to punch him through a wall. However, before he could lay the killing blow, Gao threatened the Bernivig's life, promising that if he did not withdraw, she would kill the hostage by cutting her throat. Despite being haunted by Lei Kung's lessons, Rand eventually chose to withdraw with great reluctance and Gao released the hostage to him, laughing to herself.
Madame Gao said how she found him amusing that the Iron Fist chose to save on innocent life over defeating the Hand. As she tormented him, Gao mentioned that she had met previous Iron Fists and made it clear that she had been to K'un-Lun herself. While talking about Rand's honor, she then mentioned Wendell Rand's lack of honor, but before Rand could learn more from her and how she knew his father, Gao was able to throw him across the room without physically touching him, and she was gone by the time he recovered.
Madame Gao is a ruthless criminal, able to gain complete trust of her subordinates and even make them blind themselves. While working with others, she is highly calculating and even spoke only Mandarin to make them underestimate her and let them believe she would not understand them without translation. She was quick to turn on her allies but seemed to respect Wilson Fisk more than the rest of his associates, as she warned him that he was losing himself on his mission. Despite this, she ultimately ended up trying to kill Vanessa Marianna as she considered her a distraction for him. She seemed to have some level of respect for Daredevil, however, and when their interests temporarily aligned, she willingly gave him information on the Blacksmith.
Madame Gao speaks a lot in riddles and surrounds herself with an air of mysticism during her interactions.
Powers and Abilities
- Longevity: Gao's connection to the mystical city of K'un-Lun has enabled her a immensely long physical life, as she has stated she was alive in the 17th Century indicating she has lived for more than four hundred years. Her immense longevity also allow her to remain physically very strong and fit despite her appearance of an elderly woman.
- Telekinesis: Gao has shown the ability to move people with her mind, as seen when shoved Iron Fist against a wall with only a raised hand to the air.
- Omnilingualism: Gao is fluent in Mandarin, English, and Japanese, and she claims to be able to speak all languages.
- Master Martial Artist: Gao is extremely well trained in martial arts, able to push Daredevil to the floor and sliding a few feet with a strike to the chest, although he was still suffering from his injuries taken in the duel with Nobu Yoshioka, her appearance as a frail old woman fooled Daredevil enough to catch him by surprise. He even spat out blood due to the force she applied into her hits.
- Drug Resistance: Gao has shown to be immune to Sodium Pentathol when interrogated. Being repeatedly exposed to similar drugs in the past has allowed her to develop a strong resistance to the effects of such substances.
- Master Tactician: Due to her extended length of life, Gao has gained immense life experience and wisdom akin to a wise master strategist and had been shown to plan far in advance of her enemies, such as Daredevil or Iron Fist.
- Master Manipulator: Gao is adept at using observations to deceive, persuade, and unnerve others, only requiring seconds to get inside a person's head.
- Cane Sword: Her walking cane has a hidden sword.
- ↑ Daredevil: 1.01: Into the Ring