With a new ongoing comic kicking off April 9 and a Netflix TV series on the way, the super hero martial artist known as Iron Fist seems poised for super stardom! Even if you go all the way back to his first appearance, you'll find that Danny Rand has always had the mettle needed to fly solo. Of course, the Living Weapon has never been afraid to call on his friends for help. In addition to a number of landmark solo series, Iron Fist has enjoyed extended team-ups with both the Avengers and his best friend, Luke Cage.
Iron Fist made his debut 40 years ago this month in MARVEL PREMIERE #15, written by Roy Thomas and penciled by Gil Kane. Unlike a lot of other heroes, Iron Fist didn't debut as a supporting character. No, he emerged as a leading man in the latest kung fu epic unfolding in the pages of MARVEL PREMIERE. In fact, readers got thrown right into the melee; on the first page of his first appearance, Iron Fist has his back up against a wall as he faces off a crowd of foes.
Colorful expository captions revealed that Iron Fist's future as a warrior within the walls of the mystical mountain city of K'un-Lun depended on the outcome of a few tests – fight-based tests, to be exact. After defeating the four martial artists, Iron Fist's origin played out on the page for the first time.
The son of millionaire Wendell Rand, a nine-year-old Danny found himself on a family expedition in search of K'un-Lun. Wendell's business partner had ulterior motives, as business partners usually do when they appear in super hero origin stories. After Harold Meachum killed Wendell, Danny and his mother fled into the freezing wilderness. They eventually ran afoul of a pack of wolves, just as they came across an old bridge – one that could only lead to K'un-Lun. Rand's mother literally threw herself to the wolves in order to buy her son enough time to make it across the bridge.
For the next decade, Danny Rand trained to become Iron Fist, a living weapon with an ironclad will. As he came close to failing his one-on-one exam with a hulking kung fu robot, Iron Fist mustered all of his willpower into his fist and dealt a powerful blow to his foe.
Even though he had proved himself to Yu-Ti and the Dragon Lords, Danny Rand still had many trials ahead of him. He eventually made his way back to the United States where he would team-up with like-minded individuals like Misty Knight and Colleen Wing. However, his partnership with the street-level hero Luke Cage would prove to be the most fruitful relationship of his life, as it lead him to become one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
For more of Iron Fist, check out IRON FIST: THE LIVING WEAPON, debuting April 9!