Who is the Immortal Iron Fist?
With the Netflix series starring Finn Jones as the titular Iron Fist creeping closer and closer, fans of the partnership between the web streaming service and Marvel Studios’ programs and the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe can’t help but feel a mix of excitement and mild skepticism towards the show. Well, if it Netflix’s track record with the previous installments of their Marvel Defenders initiative, we’re pretty sure the warrior from K’un Lun will be highly entertaining at the least.
Although to be completely fair and honest, Iron Fist is a character that we can’t really say is at the forefront of the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe, not to mention the Earth-616 timeline. Despite this, though, it’s obvious that he has built up enough solid following to land him a full season of programming – in the first wave of Netflix’s slate, no less. So, to the uninitiated, we’re here to introduce you to the Young Dragon himself.
Iron Fist is a character that was created during the 70’s by writer Roy Thomas and artist Gil Kane, first appearing in Marvel Premiere #15. Considering the decade being a pivotal point in Marvel’s history, Danny Rand (the Iron Fist’s secret identity) was aimed at breathing new life into the whole publisher’s line of titles by cashing in on certain pop culture phenomena at the time. As with Luke Cage being Marvel’s response to the whole blaxploitation craze of the 70’s, Iron Fist, along with Shang Chi, was their answer to the decade’s rising popularity of Chinese martial arts movies. Now, keep in mind that during this era, Jack Kirby had left the bullpen for rival publisher DC; Steve Ditko did so, too, opting instead to work for smaller publishers and focus on personal projects; and the highly popular series that they had in their stable are still selling well but can’t be really considered to have all the novelty and fanfare a new series has. With that in mind, the mystical master of martial arts was indeed a major contributor in keeping the House of Ideas up-to-date during that time.
As for what the Immortal Iron Fist really is about, the answer to that if you’ll strictly follow the whole Marvel mythology is that it’s a legacy title not unlike the Flash or Ant-man mantle. But, just like any other legacy title, readers will always associate a primary character to it. In this case, we have Daniel Rand: a wealthy orphan boy who trained in both martial and mystic arts in the hidden city of K’un Lun and become a crusader of justice. If you’re still not getting it, think of Iron Fist like he’s Kung-Fu Batman. Except instead of gadgets he uses concentrated chi in his hands to beat the daylights out of evil. Oh, and he also has the energy of a dragon inside him because he dipped his hands into its heart. We didn’t make up that last part, by the way. That’s comics for you.
Now, we for one are curious how Danny Rand’s origin will play out in the Netflix series, whether they’ll stick to this origin or allow for a few minor alterations. I guess we’ll just have to wait. Until then, we have all the comics to tide us over.