SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Iron Fist #78 by Ed Brisson and Damian Couceiro, in stores now.
The Doctor Strange: Damnation miniseries is turning out to be quite the hellish romp. It might have started out as a Stephen Strange solo adventure, but it quickly transformed into an all-out mystical war involving Mephisto, demons, Avengers-turned-into-evil-Ghost-Riders and a new version of the Midnight Sons. What's more, the event even spawned spin-off adventures involving the various Sons -- and the first in line is Iron Fist.
Danny Rand isn't exactly the first character you'd name when listing the most powerful mystical characters in the Marvel Universe, but he was still recruited by Wong to become a part of the new iteration of the Midnight Sons alongside Blade, Moon Knight, Doctor Voodoo, Elsa Bloodstone, Man-Thing, the Scarlet Spider and Johnny Blaze. As a matter of fact, even Blaze wonders why Iron Fist is a part of this team, seeing as how he is magic-adjacent at best. But his powers are still based in the mysticism of K'un-Lun, which is what makes a solid, if surprising, addition to the team.
While the fight between the Midnight Sons and the Ghost Riding Avengers heated up in Damnation #3, Iron Fist #78 plunges the Immortal Weapon into the fires of Las Vegas on his own. And there, he comes across a familiar face, one we haven't seen in a Marvel comic in a long time: Orson Randall, Danny's mentor and predecessor as the Iron Fist.
The events of Iron Fist #78 pick up some time after Damnation #3. Last we saw Iron Fist, he was waging a fiery battle alongside the rest of the Midnight Sons. But now, he finds himself alone on a Las Vegas bench. After going through haunting visions of his failures due to the Ghost Rider Hawkeye's penance stare, he is woken by an old friend -- Fat Cobra.
Cobra informs Danny about posters he saw all over the city, advertising Iron Fist's fight for his soul, like a classic boxing match in the big city. Danny suspects this might be a trap set by Mephisto, but he still presses on and heads for the location of the fight. Once they get to the match however, Danny finds that there is already an Iron Fist in the cage, fighting for his life: Orson Randall.
Orson Randall made his first appearance in 2007's Immortal Iron Fist #1 as a grizzled, gun-toting living weapon. Created by Ed Brubaker and David Aja, he was introduced as the previous Iron Fist, the one who bore the mantle before Danny Rand would. While he was believed dead by the elders of K'un-Lun, Orson resurfaced to help Danny fight against Davos, the Steel Serpent. As he did so, he taught Danny much about the legacy of the Iron Fist, and of the secrets of their power. However, in Immortal Iron Fist #6, Randall would sacrifice himself, and allow Danny to absorb his chi. Randall had a brief presence in the comic series, but he had a lasting impact on both Danny and Marvel fans. In fact, the character would even make a brief cameo appearance in the first season of Netflix's Iron Fist.
Althoug the character has been dead for over a decade, he has just returned in the pages of Iron Fist #78. Somehow, it appears as if Mephisto was able to imprison his soul and now, Orson has to fight his way out of fell. Luckily for him, there's another Iron Fist in town, one who might be able to help return a favor done long ago.