Fear Files

Fear Files: Iron Fist

Will Danny Rand ultimately give in to his fears and walk alone?

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By Ben Morse

In 2011, terror overtakes the Marvel Universe as Fear Itself envelops its heroes and villains.

To delve deeper into what lies at the root of this climactic event, each week in Fear Files we will speak with Marvel’s biggest creators about exactly what frightens the premiere heroes and villains whose lives they guide.

This week, POWER MAN & IRON FIST writer Fred Van Lente discusses Danny Rand, the Immortal Iron Fist, and how the early events of his childhood instilled deep-seated anxieties that have affected all of his relationships and could threaten to drive him to complete solitude…

What is Iron Fist most afraid of?

Fred Van Lente: I think he is most afraid of letting his parents down. They died bringing him to K'un L’un, and he wants to use his martial arts training and wisdom to do as much good in the world so they won't have died in vain.

How does this fear govern his actions?

Fred Van Lente: On the one hand, it drives him to be more than he is. On the other, his single-mindedness can alienate those around him, and drive those who love him further and further away.

Because of that loss suffered at such a young age, do you think Danny intentionally isolates himself so he won't have to feel that pain again?

Fred Van Lente: I do. He had a long relationship with Misty Knight, of course, but that seemed more physical than emotional, and even that ended recently. In many ways he is as isolated and unknowable as the lost city of K'un L’un itself.

Does this fear influence relationships like the one he has with the new Power Man?

Fred Van Lente: It does. Power Man was raised in the exact opposite of the way [Danny] was; rather wild, in the streets. Though his father was absent for most of his life, he was at least alive. And Power Man is more powerful than [Danny] is, with his ability to absorb chi and send it out his fists in the form of explosive punches. That's why [Danny is] so hard on Vic, because he fears the consequences if Power Man loses control.

Do you think Iron Fist’s wariness of companionship and losing it affects how he operates in team settings like with the Avengers and Immortal Weapons?

Fred Van Lente: I do. I think in Avengers Mansion or among the teeming multitudes of Manhattan, he is always alone among many. This level of concentration is what lets him channel his chi into his iron fist, but also leaves a fundamentally lonely, solitary person. That's why his bond with Luke Cage is so strong—in many ways, Luke's the only true friend Danny has ever had. 

How was Luke Cage able to pierce the walls of Danny’s insecurities and why has their bond endured and remained so strong in the face of so many challenges?

Fred Van Lente: That's a good question. I think part of it is that Luke has had a hard life himself. Danny's was full of physical hardship and isolation, and the nature of Luke’s problems [was] more socio-economic: Born into poverty, leading a life of crime, sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit. It's almost like their differing outsider-ness compliments each other. 

Has learning he’s part of bigger things like the Immortal Iron Fist lineage and the Immortal Weapons helped or hindered Danny in combating his fears?

Fred Van Lente: It's always good to have a support group, but if anything it's just given Danny more people to potentially let down. 

What would you describe as Danny’s worst nightmare?

Fred Van Lente: Failure. Allowing his friends and loved ones to die because of his own action or inaction.

Can Danny Rand overcome his hang-ups and establish meaningful relationships? For a hint, check out POWER MAN & IRON FIST!

For more information on Fear Itself, visit the official event page.

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