Saturday, December 12, 2015

Iron Fist

Iron Fist (Daniel "Danny" Rand) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, he first appeared in Marvel Premiere #15 (May 1974). He is a practitioner of martial arts and the wielder of a mystical force known as the Iron Fist, which allows him to summon and focus his chi. The character starred in his own solo series in the 1970s, and shared the title Power Man and Iron Fist for several years with Luke Cage, partnering with Cage to form the superhero team Heroes for Hire. The character has starred in numerous solo titles since, including The Immortal Iron Fist, which expanded on his origin story and the history of the Iron Fist.

The character will be making his live-action debut in a Netflix developed Iron Fist television series, the fourth and final in a series of shows that will culminate in a Defenders miniseries alongside Daredevil, Jessica Jones and frequent partner Luke Cage.

Iron Fist, along with the previously created Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, came from Marvel Comics during a pop culture trend in the early to mid-1970s of martial arts heroes. Writer/co-creator Roy Thomas wrote in a text piece in Marvel Premiere #15 that Iron Fist's origin and creation owe much to the 1940s Bill Everett character, Amazing-Man. Thomas later wrote that he and artist/co-creator Gil Kane had

...started "Iron Fist" because I'd seen my first kung fu movie, even before a Bruce Lee one came out, and it had a thing called 'the ceremony of the Iron Fist' in it. I thought that was a good name, and we already had Master of Kung Fu going, but I thought, 'Maybe a superhero called Iron Fist, even though we had Iron Man, would be a good idea.' [Publisher] Stan [Lee] liked the name, so I got hold of Gil and he brought in his Amazing Man influences, and we designed the character together...

Debuting in a story written by Thomas and pencilled by Kane in the umbrella title Marvel Premiere #15-25 (May 1974 – October 1975), he was then written successively by Len Wein, Doug Moench, Tony Isabella, and Chris Claremont, with art by successive pencillers Larry Hama, Arvell Jones, Pat Broderick, and, in some of his earliest professional work, John Byrne. Following this run, Iron Fist was immediately spun off into the solo series Iron Fist, which ran 15 issues (November 1975 – September 1977). The solo series was written by Claremont and pencilled by Byrne. A subplot involving Steel Serpent left unresolved by the cancellation of the series was wrapped up in issues #63-64 of Marvel Team-Up.

To rescue the character from cancellation, Marvel paired Iron Fist up with another character who was no longer popular enough to sustain his own series, Luke Cage. The two were partnered up in a three-part story in Cage's series Power Man #48-50. The title of the series changed to Power Man and Iron Fist with issue #50 (April 1978), although the indicia did not reflect this change until issue #67. Iron Fist co-starred in the series until the final issue (#125, September 1986), in which he is killed off. Writer Jim Owsley (subsequently known as Christopher Priest) later commented, "Fist’s death was senseless and shocking and completely unforeseen. It took the readers’ heads clean off. And, to this day, people are mad about it. Forgetting, it seems, that (a) you were supposed to be mad, that death is senseless and Fist’s death was supposed to be senseless, or that (b) this is a comic book."

Iron Fist was revived half a decade later in Namor the Sub-Mariner #21-25 (December 1991 - April 1992), a story which revealed that the character killed in Power Man and Iron Fist #125 was a doppelganger. He then became a frequently starring character in the anthology series Marvel Comics Presents, featuring in three multi-part story arcs and four one-shot stories within less than two years, in 1992 and 1993. Two solo miniseries followed: Iron Fist (vol. 2) #1-2 (September – October 1996), by writer James Felder and penciller Robert Brown; and Iron Fist (vol. 3) #1-3 (July – September 1998), by writer Dan Jurgens and penciller Jackson Guice. Also around this time, he was among the ensemble of the group series Heroes for Hire which ran 19 issues (July 1997 – January 1999).

Following a four-issue miniseries by writer Jay Faerber and penciller Jamal Igle, Iron Fist: Wolverine (November 2000 – February 2001), co-starring the X-Men character Wolverine and cover-billed as Iron Fist/Wolverine: The Return of K'un Lun, came another solo miniseries, Iron Fist vol. 4 #1-6 (May – October 2004), by writer Jim Mullaney and penciller Kevin Lau. The first issue of a new ongoing series, The Immortal Iron Fist, by co-writers Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction and primary artist David Aja, premiered with a January 2007 cover-date. Duane Swierczynski took over the series from issue #17.

Iron Fist appearances outside his own title include three Iron Fist stories in Marvel's black-and-white comics magazine Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #10 (March 1975), an additional story co-starring the Sons of the Tiger in issue #18 (November 1975), and a six-part serial, "The Living Weapon", in #19-24 (December 1975 – May 1976). He made guest appearances in such titles as Marvel Two-in-One, Marvel Team-Up, the Sub-Mariner series Namor, Black Panther, and Daredevil.

Iron Fist appeared as a regular character throughout the 2010-2013 New Avengers series, from issue #1 (August 2010) through its final issue #34 (January 2013). In 2014 Iron Fist was given new life and set to star in a new twelve issue comic book series written and drawn by Kaare Andrews titled Iron Fist: The Living Weapon as part of the All-New Marvel NOW! event.

Daniel Rand was born in New York City, the son of Wendell Rand, who discovered the mystical city of K'un-L'un as a young boy. During his time in K'un L'un, Wendell saved the life of the city's ruler, Lord Tuan, and was adopted as Tuan's son. However, Wendell eventually left K'un L'un and became a wealthy entrepreneur in the United States. He married socialite Heather Duncan and had a child: Daniel.

Wendell later organizes an expedition to again seek out K'un L'un, taking his wife Heather; his business partner Harold Meachum; and nine-year-old Daniel. During the journey up the mountain, Daniel slips off the path, his tie-rope taking his mother and father with him. Meachum, who also loves Heather, forces Wendell to plunge to his death but offers to rescue Heather and Daniel. She rejects his help. Heather and Daniel come across a makeshift bridge that appears out of nowhere and are attacked by a pack of wolves. Heather throws herself on the wolves to save Daniel and is killed even as archers from K'un L'un attempt to save her. The archers take the grieving Daniel to see Yü-Ti, the hooded ruler of K'un L'un. When Daniel expresses his desire for vengeance, Yü-Ti apprentices him to Lei Kung, the Thunderer, who teaches him the martial arts.

Daniel proves to be the most gifted of Lei Kung's students. Rand conditions his fists by plunging them into buckets of sand, gravel, and rock to toughen them. At 19, Daniel is given the chance to attain the power of the Iron Fist by fighting and defeating the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying, who guards the molten heart that had been torn from its body. During the battle, Daniel throws himself against the scar of Shou-Lao, which burns a dragon tattoo into his chest. Having killed Shou-Lao, he enters its cave and plunges his fists into a brazier containing the creature's molten heart, emerging with the power of the Iron Fist. It is later revealed that Daniel is part of a long lineage of Iron Fists.

When K'un L'un reappears on Earth after 10 years, Daniel leaves to find his father's killer. Returning to New York, Daniel Rand, dressed in the ceremonial garb of the Iron Fist, seeks out Harold Meachum, now head of Meachum Industries. After overcoming a number of attempts on his life, he confronts Meachum in his office, only to find the man legless—an amputation carried out when, after abandoning Daniel and his mother, he was caught in heavy snow and his legs became frostbitten.

Meachum accepts his fate and tells Iron Fist to kill him. Overcome with pity, Iron Fist walks away. At that moment Meachum is murdered by a mysterious ninja, and his daughter Joy blames Iron Fist for the death. Eventually, Iron Fist clears his name and begins a career as a superhero, aided by his friends Colleen Wing and Misty Knight, falling in love with the latter Notable adversaries in his early career include Sabretooth, the mysterious Master Khan (whom the ninja that killed Meachum once served), and the Steel Serpent, the exiled son of Lei Kung, who coveted the Iron Fist power.

Heroes for Hire
While working undercover, Misty Knight infiltrates the organization of crime lord John Bushmaster. When Bushmaster discovers Knight's treachery, he kidnaps Claire Temple and Noah Burstein, close associates of Luke Cage, better known as Power Man, and holds them hostage to force Cage to eliminate Knight. Iron Fist is on hand to stop him, however after a battle, the truth comes out. Rand helps Cage and the Daughters of the Dragon (Knight and Wing) battle Bushmaster, rescue Temple and Burstein, and obtain evidence that proves Cage's innocence of prior drug charges. Afterwards, Iron Fist and Power Man become partners, forming Heroes for Hire, Inc.

Iron Fist, in his secret identity of Daniel Rand, resumes control of his parents' fortune as half of Rand-Meachum, Inc., making him quite wealthy. This causes tension between him and Cage, who was raised poor.

Power Man and Iron Fist's partnership ends with Rand contracting cancer and being kidnapped as part of a plot masterminded by Master Khan. Just prior to a battle with the Black Dragon Chiantang (the brother of the mythical Dragon King), Danny is replaced by a doppelgänger created by the extra-dimensional H'ylthri. The double (who wears a red variant of the Iron Fist costume) is killed by Captain Hero a short time later. Cage, now the prime suspect in Rand's apparent death, becomes a fugitive.

Resurrection
While in stasis in K'un-L'un with the H'ylthri, Iron Fist manages to focus his chi, curing the cancer. He is later freed from stasis by Namor.

Rand and Cage reform Heroes for Hire, Inc. with an expanded team, this time working for Namor's Oracle Corporation. Namor ultimately dissolves Oracle as well as Heroes for Hire, Inc.

Iron Fist later loses his powers to Junzo Muto, the young leader of the Hand, and subsequently becomes the guardian of a pack of displaced dragons in Tokyo. His powers are eventually restored by Chiantang, who brainwashes Iron Fist and forces him to battle Black Panther. Black Panther is able to free Iron Fist from the creature's control, and the two work together to defeat the Black Dragon in Wakanda.

In the Iron Fist miniseries, Miranda Rand-K'ai also returns from the dead. The H'ylthri revive her and promise to restore her to full life if she retrieves the extra-dimensional artifact known as the Zodiac Key. To this end, she takes the identity of Death Sting, bringing her into conflict with Iron Fist as well as with S.H.I.E.L.D. When the H'ylthri try to kill Iron Fist, Miranda turns the power of the Zodiac Key against them, seemingly killing herself in the process. However, exposure to chemicals from the H'ylthri pods prevented her death.

Danny Rand as Daredevil. Art by Michael Lark.
Rand disguises himself as Daredevil to convince the media and the public that Matt Murdock is not the masked vigilante.

During the Civil War, he opposes the Superhuman Registration Act, joining Captain America while still pretending to be Daredevil. Rand is apprehended by Pro-Registration forces. He is later freed from the Negative Zone Prison, joining Captain America's team to battle Iron Man's forces.

New Avengers
After the arrest of Captain America, Rand joins the New Avengers, an underground group provided with secure accommodation by Doctor Strange and which includes his former teammate Luke Cage. In the public eye, Rand is able to avoid arrest with legal loopholes. Rand leaves the New Avengers due to a variety of problems but lets them know if they ever need him to give him a call. He later aids the New Avengers in locating and rescuing Cage from Norman Osborn after he suffered a heart attack and was summarily taken into custody as a fugitive.

The Immortal Iron Fist
Main article: The Immortal Iron Fist
Orson Randall, Daniel Rand's immediate predecessor, seeks out Daniel Rand in New York and gives him The Book of the Iron Fist, a sacred ledger supposedly containing all the Kung-fu secrets of previous Iron Fists, which Randall claims will be necessary if Rand is to compete successfully in the coming tournament of the Seven Champions. The Steel Serpent, whose powers have been greatly augmented by Crane Mother, dispatches Randall. On the brink of death, Randall surrenders his Chi to Rand, giving him sufficient power to battle the Serpent to a standstill. After the battle, Rand is summoned by his master, Lei Kung (who is also the father of Steel Serpent) to compete in a tournament that will decide the cycle according to which each of the Seven Cities of Heaven appears on Earth. However, the leaders of the Seven Cities had secretly erected gateways between Earth and each city without the knowledge of the populace. The corruption of the leaders of the Seven Cities of Heaven spurs Iron Fist, Lei Kung, Orson Randall's daughter, and John Aman to plan a revolution. Iron Fist discovers that Crane Mother and Xao, a high-ranking HYDRA operative, are planning to destroy K'un Lun by using a portal. Upon learning of the plot Steel Serpent helps Rand and the other Immortal weapons defeat Xao.

Rand destroys the train intended to destroy K'un Lun by extending his chi to find the train's electromagnetic field. Meanwhile, the revolution orchestrated by Lei Kung and Orson's daughter proves successful, with Nu-an, the Yu-Ti of K'un Lun fleeing in terror. When Rand confronts Xao, Xao reveals that there is an eighth city of Heaven before killing himself. Rand suggests Lei Kung as the new Yu-Ti, with Orson's unnamed daughter as the new Thunderer.

After learning that the Randall fortune that started Rand International was formed from the oppression of the Cities of Heaven, Rand decides to transform the company into a non-profit organization, dedicated to helping the poor. He also sets up the Thunder Dojo in Harlem to help inner city children, buys back the old Heroes for Hire building as the new Rand International Headquarters, and his new home, while offering Luke Cage a position at the company. He also tries to reconnect with Misty Knight. Rand on his 33rd birthday learns every single one of the previous Iron Fists died at the age of 33, except Orson Randell, who vanished at that same time.

Soon afterward Rand is attacked and defeated by Zhou Cheng, a servant of Ch'l-Lin, who claims to have killed the Iron Fists in order to enter K'un Lun and devour the egg that births the next Shou-Lao the Undying every generation, thus wiping out K'un Lun's Iron Fist legacy. Luke, Misty, and Coleen arrive and save Rand. Rand has his shoulder dislocated during in a second battle with Cheng, but manages to defeat Cheng even in his weakened state. Following the duel, the Immortal Weapons, Luke, Coleen, and Misty arrive, and reveal to Rand that they have discovered a map in Cheng's apartment that leads to the Eighth City of Heaven. Rand and the others realize that this is where the Ch'l-Lin originated, and depart for the Eighth City.

In the Eighth city he meets Quan Yaozu, the first Iron Fist, who became disillusioned with K'un Lun and rose up to rule the Eighth City as Changming. Rand and Fat Cobra manage to defeat Quan. Rand's actions during their battles impress Quan, who decides that Rand may be living proof that K'un Lun is not the corrupt city it once was. Rand and Davos agree to guide Quan to K'un Lun and arrange a meeting between him and Lei-Kung to give Quan a forum for his grievances.

However, when Rand returns to New York, he finds a HYDRA cell waiting for him at Rand International, seeking retribution for the death of Xao, and holding Misty hostage. In the ensuing battle, Rand Int. is destroyed, but Rand and Misty escape unharmed. Now left with only a fraction of his former net worth, Rand and Misty purchase a new condo in Harlem, and Rand decides to focus all of his attention and remaining resources at the Thunder Dojo. While moving into their new home, Rand asks Misty to marry him. Initially skeptical of the offer, Misty accepts and reveals that she is pregnant with Rand's child.

Avengers reform
In the aftermath of Siege, Rand joins the newly reformed New Avengers. After finding out that Misty's pregnancy was false, Misty and Danny decide to move out of their apartment and live separately, but continue their relationship.

Danny later has an encounter with someone who is going by the name of Power Man. He and Luke Cage discover that the Power Man is Victor Alvarez, a survivor of a building that Bullseye blew up. Iron Fist becomes the new Power Man's mentor and the two become a team.

During the Fear Itself storyline, Iron Fist and the Immortal Weapons are summoned to Beijing to close the gates of the Eighth City that are on the verge of opening. However, Danny is placed under mind control which creates a mystical interference with the ability of the Immortal Weapons to close the gate. He is then forced to battle his allies. Thanks to War Machine knocking him out, the mission is completed successfully. However, Doctor Strange realizes that Iron Fist is now an Immortal Weapon of Agamotto.

Iron Fist and Lei Kung bring Hope Summers to K'un Lun to train as an Iron Fist, in order to defeat the Phoenix-possessed X-Men.

Marvel NOW!
In the Marvel NOW! era, Iron Fist joins Luke Cage as the Heroes For Hire, having been employed by Boomerang to arrest his former colleagues in the Sinister Six.

Powers and abilities
Plunging his fists into the molten heart of the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying infused the dragon's superhuman energy into Rand; this along with training by Lei Kung the Thunderer gave Rand the power of the Iron Fist, allowing him to summon and focus his chi (or natural energy) and enhance his natural abilities to extraordinary levels. His strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, reflexes and senses can all be greatly intensified.

He is able to concentrate his body's natural energies into his hand, manifesting as a supernatural glow around his clenched fist. So concentrated, this "iron fist" can strike with superhuman hardness and impact, while his hand becomes impervious to pain and injury. However, the feat of summoning the power required leaves Rand physically and mentally drained, unable to repeat the act for a time, as long as even an entire day in certain instances.

He can also focus chi energy inward to heal himself or outward to heal others of injury, as well as telepathically fuse his consciousness with another person.

Rand is a master of all of K'un Lun's martial arts as well as various fighting styles from Earth.

MC2
Iron Fist appeared in the pages of Spider-Girl #24, in which he is retired after the death of Misty Knight (his wife in this universe). However, he temporarily steps back into costume to aid Spider-Girl against the might of Dragon Fist.

Marvel Zombies
Iron Fist is shown twice in battle during the Marvel Zombies miniseries. He can be seen in several splash panels, as well being bitten by a zombie version of Luke Cage, and again punching a hole through a zombified Black Cat and once again being bitten, apparently avoiding infection through his healing abilities. A different Iron Fist appears in Marvel Zombies Return in an alternate universe where he is unaffected by the zombie outbreak until the Wolverine from the Marvel Zombies universe kills him with his claws.

Ultimate Marvel
Daniel Rand has appeared in Ultimate Spider-Man. His first appearance in the Ultimate universe was in Ultimate Spider-Man #1/2. Later, he appeared in the Warriors story-arc (issues #79-85) along with Shang Chi, Moon Knight, and others. He reappears in the Ultimate Knights arc, as a member of a Daredevil-led team trying to take down the Kingpin. In Ultimate Spider-Man #107, however, he has apparently betrayed the group to the Kingpin. Daredevil has uncovered the deception and ends issue #109 demanding answers from Rand. In issue #110 Iron Fist reveals that he has a daughter and the Kingpin threatened her life, so he chose his daughter's life over Daredevil's, and the rest of the heroes that teamed up to take down the Kingpin. He did distract Kingpin while Daredevil grabbed Kingpin's wife. Rand is last seen with his daughter and his daughter's mother Colleen Wing.

House of M
In the House of M reality, Daniel Rand emerges from K'un-Lun, unaware of the mutant-dominated planet. He is attacked by mutant police, and eventually joins Luke Cage's Human Resistance Movement.

Earth-13584
In A.I.M.'s pocket dimension of Earth-13584, Iron Fist appears as a member of Spider-Man's gang.

Reception
Iron Fist is ranked as the 195th greatest comic book character of all time by Wizard magazine. IGN also ranked Iron Fist as the 68th greatest comic book hero of all time stating that in the Marvel Universe, mastery of martial arts is enough to qualify as a super-power, and none are more "super" at the art of fighting than Iron Fist, and as #46 on their list of the "Top 50 Avengers"

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