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!
With years of experience as a true partnership under their belts, the team of Power Man and Iron Fist continued to face off against opponents new and old, little knowing they headed for a date with destiny that would change the heroes forever.
After a tense stand-off in the country of Halwan in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #81-82, Luke Cage and Danny Rand returned home to plunge into a series of devastating battles with Warhawk in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #83. With little time to rest, Luke found himself dealing with his girlfriend Harmony being scarred by Sabretooth and the Constrictor, two villains seeking revenge on Danny’s love, Misty Knight, in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #84.
A series of confrontations with various enemies followed, such as Goldeneye in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #86, and alongside Moon Knight versus Commodore Planet in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #87. The Heroes for Hire also stood with the Hulk against a would-be alien invasion in INCREDIBLE HULK #278, with mutant Alison Blaire in DAZZLER #23-24, and Luke Cage aided the Son of Satan in his fight against the Sons of Satannish in MARVEL TEAM-UP #126.
A new Chemistro, the brother of the original villain, seeped into POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #93 to challenge Luke and Danny, forcing the heroes to turn to the original for help in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #94. Danny met a woman, Fera, who claimed to be one of the wolves who killed his mother in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #97. Fera worked for Iron Fist’s old enemy Ward Meachum, who desired an incredible gem of power in Rand’s possession. That gem figured prominently into a grand scheme of Master Khan to return to Iron Fist’s mystical city of K’un-Lun in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #100.
A parade of super villains lined up to take on the Heroes for Hire, beginning with Doombringer in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #103-105, then Whirlwind in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #107, Reaper in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #109, and a whole cadre of criminals—Nightshade, Stiletto, Discus, Man Mountain Marko, and the Eel—in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #110.
Luke and Danny puzzled over the mystery of Captain Hero in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #111, as a child exposed to radiation transformed into an adult super being. Removed to Project Pegasus in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #113, the boy would figure heavily into Iron Fist’s destiny.
In POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #117, the beginning of the end of the Heroes for Hire arrived. Iron Fist, dying of cancer derived from radiation, needed to be removed to K’un-Lun by his friend Luke Cage. Once there, Danny underwent a startling transformation as part of his healing in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #118-119, emerging as a seemingly new, albeit colder, person. Before they left the city, the two heroes squared off against the dragon man Chiantang, the destroyer of K’un-Lun.
Back in New York, Cage and Iron Fist met the Beyonder in SECRET WARS II #2, who “paid” for their services by turning their entire skyscraper office building into gold. In POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #121, they flew off with the One from Beyond to the entity’s ocean fortress, but ultimately returned and once again faced the dilemma of the boy called Captain Hero. In SECRET WARS II #9, Luke and Danny joined with Earth’s other champions for the final confrontation with the Beyonder.
Misty Knight left Danny and New York in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #122, after another fracas with Chiantang. Luke Cage and the Falcon teamed up in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #123 without Danny, but Iron Fist found much to focus on in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #125. The mystic warrior from K’un-Lun, the greatest martial artist ever, died in a confrontation with Captain Hero, and Luke Cage stood accused of his unfortunate death.
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