Really, as soon as you hear Iron Fist’s name, you have a pretty good idea that he is a guy who likes to punch things, but when you learn that he has a special ability where he can concentrate his chi (you might say that it is the focused totality of his chi) and make his fist like unto a thing of iron, then you really know that he is all about punching things.
Ever since he made his debut in “Marvel Premiere” #15 all those decades ago, Iron Fist has shown off his impressive fighting skills. However, the most impressive thing about him has always been the amazing feats of strength where he used his titular “Iron Fist” to punch some crazy things. Here, we count down the 15 greatest punches in Iron Fist’s illustrious history of punching.
One of the hallmarks of Chris Claremont’s comic book career has been his attention to continuity, especially when it comes to characters that are written by him. It is almost like he has had his own little “Claremont Universe” where he consistently ties together the various books that he has written over the years, like “X-Men,” “Spider-Woman,” “Marvel Team-Up,” “Ms. Marvel” and, of course, “Iron Fist.” This was shown when he made Misty Knight, Iron Fist’s girlfriend, the roommate of Jean Grey in the late 1970s, as well as having Cyclops date Iron Fist’s friend, Colleen Wing, when Cyclops thought that Jean was dead.
In the final issue of “Iron Fist,” Wolverine went to check on Jean Grey’s apartment and discovered Iron Fist. This led to a classic “mistaken identity” superhero fight. In the battle, Iron Fist impressively sent Colossus flying across a room with one of his punches. This fight is perhaps most famous, in retrospect, for being the audition that John Byrne had to show that he could take over drawing “X-Men” from Dave Cockrum (oddly enough, though, Cockrum re-drew all the X-Men’s faces in the issue).
14. THUNDERBALL’S THUNDERBALL
Perhaps the number one “cannon fodder” supervillain team in the entire Marvel Universe is the Wrecker and his Wrecking Crew. The Wrecker was a thug who was chosen by Loki to become a thorn in the side of Thor. This was done by Loki enchanting the Wrecker’s crowbar, giving him enough power to hang with Thor in a battle. The Wrecker then split some of that power into three of his friends, who then became known as, appropriately enough, the Wrecking Crew. The Wrecking Crew tends to be people’s go-to team when they want to show how tough their superhero (or superhero team) is.
In any event, while writers seem to vary on how strong the members of the Wrecking Crew are without their magical weapons (Iron Fist has punched out the Wrecker before), their weapons are typically treated as very special, so it was noteworthy in “Uncanny Origins” #14 (by Len Wein, MC Wyman and Ralph Cabrera) when Iron Fist punched through Thunderball’s magical wrecking ball. Thunderball, for one, could not believe it at all.
13. FASTBALL SPECIAL THROUGH A SHIP
After Norman Osborn was deposed as the head of H.A.M.M.E.R. (which was previously S.H.I.E.L.D.), the Avengers who were on the run no longer had to be on the run. They were given the keys to Avengers Mansion by Commander Steve Rogers (who was given oversight over all superheroes after Osborn was taken out) and allowed to fight crime however they wanted. They were mostly a “street level” crew, but in a battle with the villain known as Superia, that street level issue became a concern when one of their own, Mockingbird, was seriously injured.
The team sought payback from Superia, and they got it in an epic battle. During the fight, two of the Avengers executed a “fastball special,” which means that the strong one (Luke Cage) would throw the other one (Iron Fist) at the bad guy, so that the hero without a long range attack (Iron Fist) could cause maximum damage. The move is a famous Colossus/Wolverine jam (Colossus throws Wolverine at people to use his claws on them), but in “New Avengers” (Volume 2), Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato used it to great effect with Cage and Iron Fist.
12. A BOAT
One of the standard ways that Iron Fist tends to show off his “Iron Fist” is to destroy vehicles, which makes sense, as he can’t very well go around punching holes though people’s faces (although he has done that a few times over the years), so just like how Wolverine typically stabs inanimate objects, so too does Iron Fist punch out inanimate objects with his “Iron Fist.”
He’s destroyed speeding trucks, helicopters and even a subway train with a punch, but the example we’re going to use here comes from “Power Man and Iron Fist” #68 (by Jo Duffy, Bob Layton, Kerry Gammill and Ricardo Villamonte), where the evil Bushmaster kidnapped Power Man and Iron Fist and stole Power Man’s powers. He then threw them all into the ocean (not before Bushmaster was killed in the experiment to steal Power Man’s powers). Iron Fist swam up and then just sank Bushmaster’s boat with one punch. Since he was in the water, he had no leverage to really give his punch extra kick (so to speak), making it more impressive.
Probably the biggest sin committed by Iron Man and Mister Fantastic during “Civil War” was when they (with the help of Yellowjacket, but he gets the excuse that he was actually a Skrull at the time) built a cyborg clone of their friend Thor to help them fight against the superheroes who refused to register with the Superhuman Registration Act. The Thor clone (originally dubbed “Clor” by fans, but later given the “official” name of Ragnarok) then killed Goliath after breaking from its programming. A major tragedy that has never really been fully addressed.
Years later, Norman Osborn formed a new team of Dark Avengers and included Ragnarok on it. The New Avengers piled on the Thor clone in “New Avengers” (Volume 2) #21 by Brian Michael Bendis and art by Mike Deodato, with Wolverine, Spider-Man and Luke Cage warming him up before Iron Fist delivered the knockout blow. It would be higher on the list had it not been for the fact that his teammates softened him up first.
When “Onslaught” occurred, the Avengers and the Fantastic Four were all seemingly killed in battle to save the world from the villainy of Onslaught. However, not every major superhero was present at the famous battle. Of particular note were the Avengers members who missed out on the final battle (since so many of the heroes who “died” were Avengers), like Black Widow (ostensibly the leader of the Avengers at the time) and Hercules.
Hercules took the deaths of his comrades while he was on a mission in space really poorly and sank into a deep depression. One of the ways that he was roused out of his depression was when he got a chance to join a new superhero team in the new incarnation of the Heroes for Hire. However. His alcoholism proved too much for Hercules to handle, though, and after having to punch him out, Iron Fist helped Hercules seek help and leave the newly formed team. Do note that Hercules was at reduced strength at this point in his comic career. He was still tough enough to fight the Hulk and walk away from the battle, though.
9. LUKE CAGE
Iron Fist’s closest ally by far is Luke Cage, who he has been partners with for years. During their time together in their series, “Power Man and Iron Fist,” Iron Fist knocked out Luke Cage on a couple of occasions. He also famously punched Luke through a building in their first meeting (Luke had just knocked out Misty due to some confusion)…
However, later on, Cage received a significant power increase during his “Cage” series, so Iron Fist being able to knock him out after that was even more impressive.
That’s what he did in “Thunderbolts” #137 (by Rick Remender, Mahmud Asrar and Rebecca Buchman), when Norman Osborn attempted to replace his Thunderbolts program (where he had mercenaries and villains working for him) with brainwashed superheroes. His first attempt was Iron Fist. The brainwashed Iron Fist punched Luke Cage so hard that he drew blood from Luke Cage’s “unbreakable” skin and then Iron Fist knocked him out. Luckily, Cage was able to escape (due to some Thunderbolts helping him out — they didn’t want to be replaced by superheroes) and he broke his friend out of the brainwashing.
8. BLACK PANTHER
Towards the end of the original “Power Man and Iron Fist” series, Iron Fist ran afoul of the Black Dragon, Chiengtang, who was killed by Master Khan (in his Tryone King disguise) before he could cause much damage as a giant dragon. Later, though, the writer of that storyline brought him back in the pages of “Black Panther.” In “Black Panther” #38-40, Nightshade cloned the Black Dragon and together they took control of Iron Fist’s mind and set him after Black Panther.
This led to “Black Panther” #39 (by Christopher Priest, Sal Velluto and Bob Almond), as part of Marvel’s “‘Nuff Said” month, where all of their titles were dialogue-less. It was an all-out battle between the brainwashed Iron Fist and Black Panther.
Iron Fist was able to punch through the Black Panther’s vibranium costume and knock him out, but not before the Panther was also able to knock Iron Fist out by finding the control signal being used to control him and blast Iron Fist’s mind.
7. SKAAR, SON OF HULK
Along with Ragnarok, one of the members of Norman Osborn’s New Dark Avengers was Skaar, the son of Hulk, who was born on the planet that Hulk ended up on during “Planet Hulk.” Skaar, being the son of Hulk and all, was very powerful and spent a lot of time punching out dinosaurs in the Savage Land before Osborn approached him. See, Osborn was obsessed with having one of each hero that they had on the Avengers. They had a Thor, so he had a Thor clone. They had a Hulk, so he had the son of Hulk.
In their first battle against the new Dark Avengers, Iron Fist knocked Skaar out. However, it is worth noting that it was later revealed that Skaar was secretly working for the good guys, waiting until he discovered Captain America (who had been kidnapped by Osborn) before revealing his true colors, so perhaps Skaar threw the fight? Either way, it was an awesome punch.
6. PUNCHED A GOD WITH A BUILDING
In the final issue of Kaare Andrews’ “Iron Fist: The Living Weapon,” Iron Fist and the citizens of K’un-Lun were in trouble. The One, who had pretended to be Iron Fist’s father, Wendell Rand, had ravaged K’un-Lun and transported the citizens to the office buildings of Rand Industries in New York City. This drastic attack forced Rand to channel the Chi of all of the K’un-Lun citizens so that he could attack the One. This, though, was just what the One wanted him to do. He absorbed the Chi and then broke through the heavens to get access to Iron Fist’s dead mother. It did not work out that way.
Instead, the God of Fire and Universal Order, Zhu-Kong, entered from the heavens and he was pissed. He was prepared to destroy the Earth just to show the One how angry he was at him. Iron Fist had to come up with a way to stop him, and found a way to channel his “Iron Fist” through his own building, turning it into a sort of walking robot and then using said robot to, well, you know… punch a god!
5. PUNCHORCIZED A DEMON
Matt Murdock, the Man Without Fear known as Daredevil, had dealt with those crazy magical ninjas known as the Hand for so many years that he was sick of them. He ultimately made a bold move — he would just take over their entire organization and control them from the inside. If that sounds like a bad idea to you, you would be right, as the Hand instead corrupted Daredevil, ultimately possessing him with a demon.
This ultimately led to the crossover event known as “Shadowland” (a rare Daredevil-themed crossover event) where Daredevil and the Hand basically conquer New York City. The demon Daredevil even sucks the demonic energy out of the Ghost Rider! In the final battle, though, Iron Fist literally punched the demon out of its control of Matt’s body (although it remained in his body). Elektra was then able to help Matt completely exorcise the demon altogether.
As noted before, Iron Fist had taken the fight to Zhu-Kong, God of Fire and Universal Order, in “Iron Fist: The Living Weapon” #11 (by Kaare Andrews) by turning a building into an extension of himself. However, that plan went awry when the Steel Serpent (who is always such a jerk to Iron Fist) cuts Iron Fist off from control of the building and Zhu-Kong destroys it.
Just when things seem completely screwed up, the One released all of the stolen Chi back to Iron Fist, and coupled with the “Iron of the Stars,” Iron Fist collected all of that energy into one massive punch, throwing himself at the giant fire god and releasing a punch so strong that it was basically like a star going supernova. The punch knocked out the god and also unleashed all of that chi, empowering a young K’un-Lun resident named Pei, as the series came to a close.
3. A DRAGON
A confusing aspect of Iron Fist’s origins is that he is often referred to as having “punched the heart of a dragon” to get his “Iron Fist” power. That’s technically true, but in this case, the “heart of a dragon” was kept separate from the actual dragon itself, so Iron Fist basically just plunged his fists into a magical container that held the heart. He did defeat a dragon to get to that point, but he choked it out, and as it collapses, it left a dragon tattoo on his chest.
However, much later on, in “Immortal Weapons” #5 (a miniseries spotlighting the various other magical martial artists who were the representatives of their magical cities the way that Iron Fist was the representative of K’un-Lun), in a story by David Lapham and Arturo Lozzi, Iron Fist got the chance to actually punch out a dragon, and one a lot bigger than the one he had choked out all those years earlier!
2. A HELICARRIER
As noted earlier, a major villain for the New Avengers was Norman Osborn, particularly following the events of “Secret Invasion,” where Osborn became a worldwide hero due to his help in defending the Earth from a Skrull invasion (which was coupled with Iron Man’s very visible failure to prevent such an invasion from taking place while as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D.). So he took over S.H.I.E.L.D. and turned it into H.A.M.M.E.R. and he basically made the world a bad place to be.
The New Avengers were on the run from Osborn, and Luke Cage ultimately suffered a heart attack in battle against Osborn’s army of villains (led by the Hood). Now captured, Osborn offered Cage immunity for him, his wife and his daughter, in exchange for him giving up the Avengers. Instead, the Avengers snuck into Osborn’s Helicarrier carrying Cage and freed him. In “New Avengers” (Volume 1) #59 (by Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen and Wade Von Grawbadger), Iron Fist took out an entire helicarrier with just one punch!
1. A NUCLEAR TRAIN
As mentioned before, while Iron Fist was the tops in K’un-Lun, it turned out that K’un-Lun was only one of a bunch of magical cities, each of which had its own “Immortal Weapon” like Iron Fist. They all battled in an amazing tournament to determine which city would get to show up on Earth next (since they were magical cities, they weren’t always on Earth). Iron Fist, though, discovered that this was all a ruse to disguise a secret plan where Hydra would work with some of the leaders of the cities to control them. When that plan was uncovered and halted, Hydra instead decided to just destroy K’un-Lun!
The method of attack was teleporting in a bullet train filled with enough explosives to make the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima look like a firecracker. As the train approached, only Iron Fist could stop it, so he focused himself for one giant punch and managed to destroy the train and the explosives and somehow survive the explosion itself in “The Immortal Iron Fist” #14 (by Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker, Tonci Zonjic and Stefano Gaudiano), making it our pick for the greatest Iron Fist punch of them all!
What is the coolest thing you’ve ever seen Iron Fist punch? Let us know in the comments section!