Thus far, Iron Fist has proven to be one of Netflix’s least popular Marvel characters. The first season was a critical failure, and the character didn’t come across much better in The Defenders. Luckily, the tide began to change when Iron Fist popped up during the second season of Luke Cage. The new more down-to-Earth Iron Fist is already stirring up hope that the second season of Iron Fist is a vast improvement over the first — which is what the character deserves. Hardcore Marvel fans know that Iron Fist is anything but boring in the comics.
Defeating the dragon Shou-Lao is only the tip of the iceberg for Iron Fist. The protector of K’un-Lun has been fighting all sorts of enemies for nearly 45 years in Marvel comics. In that time, his powers have expanded way beyond his primary ability of the Iron Fist Punch. Readers of the comics will know that Danny Rand has learned to create illusions, control his nervous system to a ridiculous degree, and open up interdimensional portals. Considering some of the enemies that Iron Fist has gone up against, he can use all skills he can get. Beating Shou-Lao is one thing, but Iron Fist has also delivered finishing blows to deities the size of skyscrapers, mutants made of steel, and Olympic gods. When he’s not protecting New York on his own or staving off ancient evils from invading K’un-Lun, he’s teaming up with Luke Cage, Colleen Wing, and Misty Knight. Here are 20 things about Iron Fist that only true Marvel fans know.
20. SLAYED SHOU-LAO
When Daniel Rand was only nine years old, his father took him along to Tibet to try to enter through an interdimensional portal and enter the city of K’un-Lun. The trip took a tragic turn, and both of Danny’s parents perished, leaving Danny an orphan in K’un-Lun. There, Danny was raised by Yu-Ti and went through rigorous martial arts training.
By the time he was 19, he was presented with the opportunity to become the Iron Fist. Danny took on the dragon Shou-Lao, nearly dying in the process of slaying the beast. When the battle ended, Danny reached his hands into a brazier containing the dragon’s heart and retrieved the power of the Iron Fist.
19. THE IRON FIST PUNCH
As the Iron Fist, Danny’s primary superpower is the Iron Fist Punch. Having plunged his hands into Shou-Lao’s heart, Danny has direct access to the dragon’s power. By channeling this energy into his hands, he transforms them into explosive weapons, capable of inflicting considerable damage as well being nearly invulnerable to attack.
Danny’s incredibly powerful fists allow him to go toe-to-toe with some of Marvel’s heaviest hitters, giving him an edge that he wouldn’t otherwise have. Thanks to the Iron Fist punch, he’s squeaked out wins against Colossus, Luke Cage, Hercules, and Skaar. The punch has also been shown to destroy entire ships and trains.
18. MIND FUSION AND OTHER UNIQUE ABILITIES
Although they may be his most known, Iron Fist’s explosive fists are from his only power. One of the many other lesser known abilities that Iron Fist possesses is called Mind Fusion. Through this technique, he can temporarily conjoin his consciousness with that of another person, allowing him to tap into the other’s thoughts, feelings, memories, etc.
As a member of Heroes For Hire, this ability has no doubt contributed to an excellent team dynamic. In addition to Mind Fusion, Iron Fist can concentrate his chi to open up interdimensional portals, absorb the energy of others, and heal at accelerated rates.
17. HELPED FOUND HEROES FOR HIRE
The duo that would spend decades fighting alongside one another, actually met at a party for Luke Cage. The party was crashed by supervillains Stiletto and Discus, leading to the first team-up between Cage and Iron Fist. Afterwards, the two worked alongside Misty Knight for her detective agency, Nightwing Restorations, before going off on their own to establish Heroes For Hire.
Heroes For Hire, Inc. was a for-profit business that offered investigation and protection services. Aside from their lawyer and secretary, Heroes For Hire was just the unlikely duo of Cage and Iron Fist — though the business would expand for a short time during the ’90s.
16. FIRST TO FIGHT SABRETOOTH
Even the most hardcore fans may not know in what comic Sabretooth debuted. Though typically seen as an X-Men or Wolverine antagonist, Sabretooth was introduced as an Iron Fist foe. The savage supervillain made his first appearance in ’77’s Iron Fist (Vol. 1) #14 and didn’t even appear in an X-Men comic until ’86.
Sabretooth fought Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, and Thor before ever clashing with Wolverine. After his first fight with Iron Fist, Sabretooth would continue as an Iron Fist-exclusive villain for a number of years, often teaming up with Constrictor to take on Danny and Luke Cage.
15. IMPERSONATED BY SUPER-SKRULL
After Iron Fist’s apparent demise at the hands of a chaotic superhuman known as Captain Hero, the Super-Skrull emerged with Danny’s likeness. Impersonating Danny, Super-Skrull attempted to take advantage of the Rand Corporation’s assets. Super-Skrull’s plan was to acquire economic control over the Savage Land, bringing him up against a rival company, Oracle Inc., owned by Namor.
Namor and several other of Danny’s friends discovered Danny’s imposter and chased him from Earth. Now the question was, just where was Danny? It turned out that Skrulls weren’t the only aliens messing with the Iron Fist. In fact, the real Iron Fist had long ago disappeared — Captain Hero had just taken out the first of two imposters.
14. ABDUCTED BY ALIENS
In Power Man and Iron Fist (Vol. 1) #119, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Colleen Wing take a trip to K’un-Lun. Iron Fist had been diagnosed with strange cancer, leading him and his friends to seek out mystical help. However, while in K’un-Lun, they came across the H’ylthri, an alien race driven by an ancient hatred of K’un-Lun.
Unbeknownst to Cage and Wing, the plant-like H’ylthri captures Iron Fist and replace him with one of their own. For years, the H’ythri clone of Iron Fist went undetected as an imposter, eventually perishing at the hands of Captain Hero. Only after the second imposter, Super-Skrull, had been discovered did Danny’s friends rescue him from the H’ylthri.
13. DATED MISTY KNIGHT
Viewers of the Iron Fist Netflix show will know Iron Fist and Colleen Wing as a couple, but the case is different in the comics. Rather, it’s Wing’s friend, Misty Knight, that Iron Fist was romantically involved with for a time. Knight and Iron Fist met when the latter stepped in to help Knighwing Restorations, Ltd. from the attacking Cult of Kali.
Following their initial meeting, Iron Fist worked a lot alongside Wing and Knight, leading him to fall in love with the latter. Throughout the years, Knight and Iron Fist held an on-again-off-again relationship, the ebb-and-flow dependent on their busy careers as crimefighters.
12. WENT INTO BUSINESS WITH NAMOR
When Onslaught was first unleashed upon the Marvel Universe during the ’90s, the monstrous mutant appeared to have massacred both the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. With this huge vacuum in the superhero community, Iron Fist and company decided to expand Heroes For Hire. Heroes For Hire received funding from Namor’s company, Oracle Inc., and recruited numerous other heroes to help Iron Fist and Luke Cage.
Joining them were Ant-Man, Black Knight, She-Hulk, the original Human Torch, and others. During the team’s brief existence, they went up against some heavy hitters, including Master of the World, an ancient superhuman who attempted to exterminate most of Earth’s population. Eventually, Namor cut the funding and the team dissolved.
11. LOST HIS POWER TO THE HAND
The ancient criminal organization of ninjas known as the Hand once robbed Danny of the power of the Iron Fist. The stage was set when Iron Fist decided to try to bring K’un-Lun to Earth through the use of a summoning spell, in hopes of sharing the mystical city’s wisdom with Earthlings.
Junzo Muto, one of the leaders of the Hand, seized his opportunity and stole the Iron Fist’s power before K’un-Lun could be summoned. Depowered, Danny teamed up with Wolverine, Captain America, Luke Cage, and several others to prevent Muto’s plan from coming to fruition. However, Danny was unable to regain the power of the Iron Fist by the event’s end.
10. BRAINWASHED INTO FIGHTING BLACK PANTHER
Later, Danny would receive his Iron Fist powers back — but at a price. An old foe of Iron Fist known as the Black Dragon organized a plot to pit Iron Fist against the dragon’s other major enemy, Black Panther. Black Dragon returned the power of the Iron Fist to Danny, but the gift came with an attack on Danny’s psyche.
Black Dragon brainwashed Iron Fist and set up a fight between Danny and Black Panther. After a close contest, Black Panther managed to knock out Iron Fist. When he came to, he’d regained his sense of self, allowing him to team up with Black Panther and finish the fight with Black Dragon.
9. PARTNERS WITH LUKE CAGE
One of Marvel’s premier dynamic duos is that of Iron Fist and Luke Cage — the original two members of Heroes for Hire. Luke and Danny first meet when their mutual friend Misty Knight is targeted by Bushmaster. Soon after, the two formed a partnership and Luke Cage’s series became Power Man and Iron Fist with issue 50.
In their first run together, the two went up against such villains as Firefly, Warhawk, and Mole Man. The first Iron Fist and Power Man series concluded with Iron Fist’s apparent demise at the hands of Captain Hero, but the two would return as team once again post-Onslaught. Today, the two still team up often.
8. THE ORIGINAL IRON FIST
Danny Rand is only the latest in a long lineage of Iron Fists. Long-assumed to be gone, the Iron Fist that preceded Danny, Orson Randall, made his astonishing return in Immortal Iron Fist (Vol. 1) #1. While giving Danny further training, Orson revealed things about his past. Earlier in his life, Orson met Danny’s father, Wendell Rand.
He trained Wendell in martial arts and told him stories about K’un-Lun, motivating Wendell’s eventual excursions to the fabled city. During the time that Orson was thought to have passed, he’d actually succumbed to an addiction in Thailand. After meeting up with Danny, Orson sacrificed his life for his successor after an intense fight with Davos, the Steel Serpent.
7. MASQUERADED AS DAREDEVIL
When Matt Murdock went to jail in Daredevil (Vol. 2) #82, Iron Fist was hired to masquerade as Daredevil. The change of costume was done to help throw the public off of Matt Murdock’s trail and convince them that he wasn’t Daredevil. Iron Fist was thought to have been hired by Murdock’s associate, Foggy Nelson, but Nelson appears to be attacked and ended.
By the time Murdock escaped prison, he was convinced that the imposter Daredevil was ill-intentioned, leading to a brief fight between the two Daredevils. Iron Fist made it clear that he was doing a favor, and Nelson was later found to be alive and well thanks to the witness protection program.
6. JOINED THE NEW AVENGERS
Following the events of “Civil War”, the New Avengers went underground. The new team consisted of superheroes on the run due to their refusal to comply with the Superhuman Registration Act. Iron Fist joined the team, reuniting with Luke Cage along with other fugitive superheroes like Doctor Strange and Wolverine.
Although Iron Man and his team of Avengers came close to apprehending Danny, they could never come up with enough evidence to support their case that Danny was Iron Fist. Danny didn’t spend too much time with the Avengers. His last major outing with the group happened during the “Secret Invasion” crisis before he resumed his solo career.
5. BRAINWASHED BY NORMAN OSBORN
As if one brainwashing in a lifetime weren’t enough, Iron Fist had to go through it again after Norman Osborn rose to power during the Dark Reign era. Osborn, leading the villainous squad of Thunderbolts, captured Danny. When Danny came to, he discovered Osborn and Ghost attempting to take control of his mind. Eventually, Osborn succeeded, thanks to advanced tech that planted suggestions deep within Danny’s psyche.
As Osborn’s servant, Iron Fist was sent out to retrieve Luke Cage in hopes of brainwashing the latter as well. However, Danny is able to break free of his recent conditioning, allowing he and Cage to escape from the Thunderbolts unharmed.
4. TOURNAMENT OF THE HEAVENLY CITIES
In Immortal Iron Fist (Vol. 1) #6, following the passing of his predecessor, Iron Fist was alerted that the Tournament of Heavenly Cities was beginning soon. The tournament featured a clash between seven warriors, each representing one the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven, of which K’un-Lun was one.
The seven chosen warriors were referred to as the Immortal Weapons, and the tournament was interrupted as the Immortal Weapons revolted against the corrupt elders of their cities. And if there weren’t enough chaos already, Hydra decided to launch an attack on K’un-Lun. When it was all said and done, we still didn’t know who best of the Immortal Weapons was.
3. DEFEATED RAGNAROK
During “Civil War”, a mysterious figure with Thor’s looks escalated the conflict by sending a lightning bolt through Goliath. The imposter turned out to be a clone of Thor, later to be named Ragnarok, created by Tony Stark. Ragnarok would go onto become Norman Osborn’s Thor on the Dark Avengers.
After Osborn’s fall from power during “Siege”, he temporarily reassembled the Dark Avengers, Ragnarok included. Ragnarok met his unexpected match when he went up against Spider-Man and Iron Fist. Thanks to an explosive punch from Danny, Ragnarok went down for the count. The fight ranks among some Iron Fist’s most impressive victories.
2. THE ONE
Iron Fist went up against one of his deadliest foes yet in the pages of Iron Fist: The Living Weapon. The story began with Danny being beckoned to K’un-Lun, begged to come save the city. Upon returning, Danny finds K’un-Lun in ruin, conquered by the One. An ancient enemy of K’un-Lun, the One led an army of the undead, taking out most of the city, including Iron Fist’s old master, Lei-Kung.
Danny and the One have several brutal fights, the latter repeatedly coming out on top. Ultimately, the two set aside their feud to take on a common threat, Zhu-Kong — the god of fire. The One even passed along his remaining chi to Iron Fist, so Danny could finish off Zhu-Kong.
1. MENTORED THE NEW POWER MAN
Victor Alvarez emerged as the new Power Man in Shadowland: Power Man #1. Victor, having taken on Luke Cage’s old codename after absorbing the chi from a crowd, caught the attention of Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Despite not getting along at first, Iron Fist offered to mentor the novice hero.
After teaming up during the Shadowland event, the settled into a partnership in Power Man and Iron Fist (Vol. 2). During this brief partnership, the two fought against several new villains, including the Penance Corps and Pokerface. Since then, Iron Fist has reunited with Luke Cage in the pages of Power Man and Iron Fist (Vol. 3).
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