When the Defenders were first announced, most people were familiar with Daredevil, maybe Luke Cage, and had possibly heard about Iron Fist. Those who cared spent some hours on Wikipedia trying to read up on who the heck Jessica Jones was. Just about everyone who knew Iron Fist, however, seemed to love him.
I have spent the last couple weeks reading heavily into Iron Fist. I have grown to love Iron Fist as a character and have bought numerous comics to read further into him. Most people don’t know who he is or why he is awesome, so I hearby declare this Iron Fist week. Each day I will write regarding Iron Fist and the netflix series.
First off, who is Iron Fist?
The Origin Story
Danny Rand’s father, Wendell, was a co-owner of a successful company in New York. He was convinced that the mythical city of K’un Lun existed (as it turns out, he had been there before), so he took his family and business partner on an expedition to find the city, which only appears on Earth once every ten years. Danny was the only one to actually make it to the city. His father was betrayed by his business partner and his mom was eaten by wolves. Talk about therapy bills.
Inside the city of K’un Lun, Danny was trained in every form of martial arts. He was recognized even in his young age as being one of the most promising leaders of K’un Lun. He was trained by Lei-Kung The Thunderer, one of the greatest warriors in the city. He was motivated to perfection by his quest for vengeance against his father’s killer.
At the age of twenty, Danny was selected to battle against Shang-Lao the Undying. Shang-Lao is a dragon that is born and reborn in a continuing cycle. When he is born, he lays an egg, is slain by a K’un Lun warrior, and transfers his chi to the warrior, who becomes the Iron Fist. It is a cycle repeated continuously. Danny Rand was the 66th Iron Fist.
During Danny’s battle with the dragon, he recognized that the dragon was pulling magical energy through a mark in his chest. Danny blocked the mark with his own body, which branded him with his trademark scar. He then absorbed the chi of Shang-Lao by dipping his hands into the beating heart of the dragon. Talk about 70’s Kong-fu.
After becoming the Iron Fist, Danny fought for the right to eat the fruit of immortality in K’un Lun. He won, but declined the eat the fruit in order to pursue vengeance against his father’s killer. Now the Living Weapon of K’un Lun, he returned to the rest of the Earth. His access to the city would not be available for another ten years (although the comics find ways to cheat).
Iron Fist first debuted in Marvel Premiere 15. After 11 issues under this title, he earned his own storyline with Iron Fist 1. His own line went 15 issues and was canceled (although he appeared with Spider-Man in a two-part Marvel team-up). He finally found a home with Luke Cage, where he spent 75 issues fighting as a Hero For Hire.
Then he died. Fans were ticked.
In true Marvel fashion, he was resurrected later. In the 2000’s, he spent a couple years using Daredevil’s identity. Then, Iron Fist was brought back to the front of the Marvel Universe in The Immortal Iron Fist. The story explored more the background of the Iron Fist title, bringing in the stories of other Iron Fists from the past. The run is considered the greatest Iron Fist stories of all time.
Iron Fist joined the New Avengers during the Civil War, where he stayed through the Secret Invasion. Even more recently, Iron Fist currently is being published in Iron Fist: The Living Weapon, which is a part of the Marvel NOW series. This current storyline is killer, too…
Many know him from the Ultimate Spider-Man TV series, where he, Luke Cage, and Nova often join Spider-Man.
The chi of Shang-Lao allows Iron Fist to channel his focus into his fist, transforming it into “a thing of iron”. This Iron Punch is usually his finishing blow on the third-to-last page of the comic issue. Aside from this odd super-power, Iron Fist is in peak condition of human capabilities and has mastered numerous martial arts.
Danny Rand also has the super-power of money. He inherited his father’s company following the death of his father and his father’s partner and betrayer. Depending on where in the comics we are talking, the company could be used to fund the New Avengers during the Civil War, donate millions to charities, or be on the verge of collapse.
Iron Fist is one of the most unique heroes in Marvel. He has a rich history unlike any other hero’s. I applaud Marvel for taking on his character for Netflix. I’ll explore a little more this week what we could expect from this TV series. For now, only time will tell.
Tomorrow I’ll look at the actors that could play or fans want to play Danny Rand.
Also, if you’re interested in Iron Fist, I would recommend picking up some of his stuff:
The Immortal Iron Fist (part 1)