The Book of Iron Fist, Chapter 1

So that didn’t happen the way it should have, did it? Days turned into weeks and here we are. “Real life” and National Novel Writing Month have taken up the majority of my time, but here I am on a Saturday afternoon, ready to churn out some awesome content for the fifty people that visit this site. It is for you, my fabulous fifty, that I venture into the depths of the 1970’s. I shudder at the thought.

I must confess that I love Iron Fist. As cheesy as some of these stories are going to be, I’m going to love every minute of it. And you will too. I promise. Let’s get started.

The time: May 1974. The place: America. The fad: Kung Fu.

If the thought of what happens when 1970’s America falls in love with Kung Fu doesn’t tell you all you need to know, then I can’t help you. Roy Thomas, the living god, saw a Kung Fu movie once and said “I’m going to create Iron Fist.” So he collaborated with Gil Kane and BAM! a legend is born.

Marvel_Premiere_15-01

Look at that cover. Kung Fu action in the Mighty Marvel Manner. If that doesn’t say it all. And only twenty-five cents!

Our story begins with a white guy wearing pajamas striking a karate pose. Wait, that’s Iron Fist. Wait, Iron Fist is me! Here are the first words of the entire Iron Fist story.

secondperson

Second person. Bold choice. Ok, then. We are all Iron Fist. Let’s hope we don’t fuck this up. Anyway, Iron Fist, I mean we, are fighting four guys. And these men aren’t even black belts. Look at that. They are red belts, which is one belt lower than black.

redbelt

Red belts, the whole lot of them. This is called the “Challenge of the Four” and already I am not impressed with the difficulty. Why is pajama-clad Iron Fist, I mean us, fighting, anyway? As the narration tells us, it is his day of destiny. His final test.

After a couple pages of the narration calling out moves Dragonball style (Sword Hand! Blow of the Hammer! Cock Ring! Elephant Kick!), Iron Fist clears the lot of them. He has passed the Challenge of the Four! Before the next test begins, though, Yu-Ti, the August Personage in Jade, and head of the mystical city of K’un L’un (that’s where we’re at right now) tells him to think before the next test. So Iron Fist thinks. But of what? His horrendously depressing origin story, of course! So we have a Wayne’s World style flashback.

Ten years ago, Danny Rand (Iron Fist, I mean us. It’s your new name, get used to it) is hiking in the Himalayas with his mom, his dad, and his dad’s business partner. I’m sure that happens all the time.

vacation

Doesn’t that look like the family vacation of your dreams? I know you want to go to Disney World, son, but your Dad wants to hike through the most dangerous mountains in the world with minimal supplies and no experience to find a magical city. Doesn’t that sound better than Disney World and their $8 beers?

Shockingly, the three inexperienced adults and the helpless little kid have trouble trekking around unsupervised in the Himalayas. Heather (that’s your mom) and Danny (you) go tumbling off the mountain! Luckily, we’re all tied together. But the combined weight pulls Wendell (that’s your dad) over as well! Somehow Harold Meachum (that’s your dad’s business partner. You might not trust him. Up to you, really) holds up your dad, who is now dangling over the edge of the mountain.

Thank god. Now he can pull us all up. I knew working on your core muscles was a good idea, Harold. Wait…

dick

WHAT. A. DICK. Well, everyone, my apologies. We’ve just witnessed the cold blooded murder of our father. I would say we need time to process it, but we’re still clinging to a ledge precariously close to death ourselves, so pull your shit together! I’m sure we can talk some sense into Harold and he’ll save us.

crazywoman

Or Heather will start ranting like a god damned lunatic. “Let my son grow up to kill you with his own two hands” is a strange way to ask for help. I think she meant to say “Please get us off this god forsaken frozen rock.” Ah, what the hell. Let’s just throw rocks at the asshole. Although I have to admit, killing your husband right in front of you is a hard sell for an “I’ve always loved you!” moment.

So anyway, we’re stuck on this outcropping. But we don’t get to see what happens because Wayne’s World style, we are back in the present and Iron Fist is ready for his final challenge. The “Challenge of the One.”

So the “One” named “Shu-Hu” is this enormous masked karate guy. Danny unloads on him but it gets him nowhere.

fight

I love that art. So good. The next page is more of the same. Iron Fist trying to fight this giant and getting slapped around for his trouble. He gets hit in the head a bit too hard and we have another flashback. We’re back on that god damn outcropping. Heather tells Danny that they need to get moving and maybe find crazy daddy’s crazy magic city before they fucking freeze to death. So they start wandering around and then stop to rest. It is at this moment, Danny Rand has the most justified hesitation in comicbook history.

hesitation

Look at that. Who can blame him? Promise you won’t hate your batshit father who drug us out here with no supplies and no experience. Promise me, honey. And in the next panel we see a nature scene. A lovely pack of wolves. They start chasing Danny and Heather. Uh oh. So the two haul ass while the wolves give chase.

Suddenly, a bridge appears out of nowhere. Run for the bridge, Danny! I think they are going to make it. Oh no! They are getting too close. What’s going to happen?

wolves

This is some fucked up shit. People think Batman had tragedy in his life. Danny Rand in the span of one day saw his father get his body mangled like a doll falling down a jagged cliff and now his mother is torn apart by fucking wolves right in front of his fucking face. Fuck you, Batman. You ain’t seen shit. Geez, I am missing the 1960’s Dr. Doom antics already. This shit is dark.

About ten seconds too late, the gates of K’un L’un open and they chase off the wolves, all with bellies full of Heather. Nice timing, assholes. We are then thrown back into the present where the One is ready to kill Iron Fist after shooting a knife out of his hand. So he’s a robot. Ok. Danny is on the verge of defeat, but remembering that he is probably a psychotic adult after seeing wolves rip his mother apart as a child, he goes berserk!

beatdown

See? Berserk. He’s had enough. He is going to beat the shit out of this ugly robot giant. He drops a few mental blocks and starts hitting harder than what he thought before were his hardest blows. But the robot stays on its feet. If only Danny had a trump card he could pull out at moments like this.

IF1

What’s this? Calling on some unknown reserve of power?

IF2

His hand smolders and glows until it “becomes like unto a thing of Iron!” That is fucking horrible English. But what can it do?

IF3

Only kick major fucking ass. The Iron Fist kicks so much fucking ass, your ancestors feel it. The stupid robot tumbles to the ground, humiliated, and Iron Fist has won! But what has he won? On the last panel, Yu-ti says he has the right to choose between immortality and death. What a cliffhanger! But the choice is easy, right? Only an idiot would choose death.

Next: Danny is an idiot.

As usual, feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below. You can also send your comments to thenonicheblog@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter at John_S20. If you really want to stalk me, you can find me posting fairly regularly at Herochat.com, known for its mature and frank discussions about comicbooks. Also, if you like what you read, subscribe!

2 thoughts on “The Book of Iron Fist, Chapter 1

  1. Thanks for writing about one of my favourite lesser-known characters! Iron Fist has stylishly outlasted the fad which spawned him, and I have to say, proper English or not, the combined cheesiness and menace of “like unto a thing of IRON!” make it a line that has resonated with me for years.

    Looking forward to more entries on Danny Rand, as well as his impending Netflix premiere. In the meantime though, please don’t get too hung up on things like belt colors ; everyone knows that stuff works differently in K’un L’un, right? There’s no other way to explain why Iron Fist wears a yellow belt…

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