In the 1970’s, Luke Cage—later Power Man—and Iron Fist represented attempts to create heroes rooted in real world trends, exploring the idea of street level adventures and the martial arts in the Marvel Universe. The two would form an unlikely but enduring team as the original Heroes for Hire.
With Luke Cage and Iron Fist firmly entrenched in the modern day as among Marvel’s most complex and popular characters and both headed to television on Netflix, we look back at their respective and shared histories as we continue to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Marvel!
After gaining valuable experience on the mean streets, two heroes came together to form a team based on friendship, respect, and mutual trust. Iron Fist and Power Man’s first few years as Heroes for Hire brought them new friends and allies, but also new enemies and too often a whole wide world of hurt.
Danny Rand first met Luke Cage in POWER MAN #48, when Cage made a brutal kidnapping attempt on Rand’s associates Colleen Wing and Misty Knight. Once the big man explained that the villainous Bushmaster threatened the lives of Cage’s love Claire Temple and friend Noah Burstein in POWER MAN #49, Iron Fist offered his help and with it, Luke recovered evidence that finally cleared him of his original criminal charges. Together, the two heroes took on Discus and Stiletto in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #50, but Cage lost Claire when she walked out of his life for good.
Iron Fist also wrapped up a personal problem when in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #52 he buried the axe with Joy Meachum over the death of her father. When Misty Knight became a prisoner of Simon Shreeve and the deadly Nightshade, Rand and Cage swung into action in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #53 to take them down.
Danny released his controlling shares of the Rand-Meachum company to Joy in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #54, and lawyer Jeryn Hogarth created a new venture for Iron Fist and Cage: Heroes for Hire. In POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #56, the team’s first job entailed protecting valuable Egyptian artifacts, but when their employer turned out to be a revived Living Monolith, they set out to topple him in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #57.
A new street vigilante called El Aguila, “The Eagle,” caused problems for Danny and Luke in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #58, and another costumed hero, Thunderbolt brought them more grief in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #61-62. Cage temporarily lost his old office in the Gem Theater when a bomb went off in it in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #63, courtesy of the new Senor Suerte and Senor Muerte, but our heroes’ attentions turned to the return of El Aguila, a trip to Canada, and a call for help from Jeryn Hogarth in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #65.
Heroes for Hire encountered the Hulk in MARVEL TEAM-UP ANNUAL #3, then soon after confronted Sabretooth and the Constrictor in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #66 to aid Misty Knight and Colleen Wing. That adventure concerned a mystical gem known as the Jade Dragon, which would come back to haunt Danny and Luke before long. Cage lost his powers during an abduction by Bushmaster in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #67, but they returned in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #68 during a brush with the Defenders’ old enemy, Dr. Nagan of the Headmen.
After another debacle with the Hulk, this time in MARVEL TEAM-UP #105, Iron Fist and Luke Cage flew south to the small nation of Terranueva to battle El Supremo in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #70. The hulking European criminal Montenegro made trouble for the duo in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #71, and a new Chaka led the gang called the Golden Tigers against Danny Rand in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #72. Later, our heroes teamed with Spider-Man, Moon Knight, and Daredevil to fight the Purple Man in MARVEL TEAM-UP ANNUAL #4.
Martial arts experts the Sons of the Tiger needed Iron Fist and Power Man’s help in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #74 when the Ninja seized their power-granting amulets for Master Khan, an old foe of Danny’s. Khan combined the amulet’s magic with that of the Jade Dragon and opened a portal to Iron Fist’s other-dimensional city of K’un-Lun. There, in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #75, Cage and Rand held off an attack by the H’ylthri on the city, but learned that Danny’s entire existence came about as a plot between Khan, K’un-Lun’s leader Yu-Ti, and Danny’s father.
Returning to New York, Iron Fist battled with Warhawk in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #76, and together, Danny and Luke joined with El Aguila once again to solve the mystery of the Slasher in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #78.
At the end of the adventure, Luke reunited with Claire Temple, while his current girlfriend Harmony Young looked on in anguish.
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