Written by: Roy Thomas
Art by: Gil Kane, Dick Giordano, Glynis Wein, and L.P. Gregory
Cover Price: 25¢
Release Date: May 1974
In what has become a common theme in my introductions to these retro reviews, I really don’t have any experience with Iron Fist. I haven’t even seen the Netflix show so I am going into this totally blind…and very excited. I love 70s Kung-Fu movies and think that Bloodsport should be required viewing for everybody over the age of three. So, did I bond immediately with Danny Rand? Let’s find out…
The issue opens with a POV narration as if the reader is Iron Fist himself. We do see him on the page and it is pure Kung-Fu goodness. Danny is fighting the Dragon-Kings and fists, feet and moves (“Monkey Blow”, “Elephant Kick”…) are blasting through the panels. When the smoke clears, it is revealed that Iron Fist has been fighting in a contest to face the Challenge of the One. Sounds awesome to me. However, before doing so, he is told by his Master, Yu-Ti, to think about his past. Yep, that is the hook to tell the origin story of Iron Fist!
We go back ten years and see Danny hiking the Himalayas with his mother, Heather, his father, Wendell, and his father’s business partner, Harold Meachum. They were searching for K’un-Lun Mountain, but along the way, Harold showed his true colors and killed Danny’s father and left him and his mother to die on the mountainside. It’s all like a snowy version of Batman’s origin except this one was way more personal and thus more infuriating.
Back in the present, Iron Fist goes up against the behemoth, Shu-Hu. He starts out by getting the crap kicked out of him which sends him back to the Himalayas of his past. We get to see his mother’s gruesome death and then his rescue before going back to the present where he uses his memories as inspiration to turn the tables and defeat Shu-Hu by becoming Iron Fist!!! The issue ends with a cliffhanger of whether Danny chooses immortality or death as his reward. I think I know which he might pick!
This was a very quick read with just a glimpse at Danny’s full origin. The origin itself is just set up, but it is written in a way that you have to find out more. The Kung-Fu scenes which take up half the issue are great and Gil Kane’s art lets them flow as the narration and dialogue fills in the gaps. Everything about Iron Fist, including his costume, makes you want to read more.
While this feels a little incomplete as an origin story, you get just enough to need to know more. If you are a Kung-Fu fan or even a fan of fighting games, you will likely enjoy this issue for its kickass action and great visuals. I certainly did!