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!
Through trials and tribulations, teams and triumphs, and a whole lot of faith, Luke Cage and Danny Rand made their way into the new millennium often times by the skin of their teeth and with a little help from their friends.
After the dissolution of second incarnation of Heroes for Hire, Cage and Iron Fist teamed with the Black Panther and the Falcon in BLACK PANTHER #16-17 then went their separate ways. Danny lost his powers in NEW WARRIORS #8, but thankfully regained them in IRON FIST/WOLVERINE #1-4, while Luke briefly hung out with Moon Knight and other street-level vigilantes in MARVEL KNIGHTS #11-15.
After a very brief fling with private investigator Jessica Jones in ALIAS #1, Cage learned that she carried his unborn child. He returned to help her in a fight with the Purple Man in ALIAS #25 and the two decided to stay together through thick and thin. Iron Fist battled the Black Panther while under the mind-control of the Black Dragon in BLACK PANTHER #38-40, and subsequently suffered a crisis of faith in IRON FIST #1.
Luke took on serious injuries in the aftermath of Nick Fury’s covert combat in Latveria in SECRET WAR #1-4 then helped found a new Avengers team in response to a super villain breakout at the Raft prison in NEW AVENGERS #1. Having found a place to call home, more or less, he and Jessica Jones tried to settle in to Avengers Mansion and raise their daughter, who Luke christened Danielle in honor of his friend Danny Rand in NEW AVENGERS #34. Eventually, Luke and Jessica tied the knot in NEW AVENGERS ANNUAL #1.
Iron Fist posed as Daredevil for a short while, as revealed in DAREDEVIL #87, but when the so-called “civil war” broke out in CIVIL WAR #1, he sided with Captain America and Luke Cage as they opposed Tony Stark’s Superhuman Registration Act. Danny later learned of the long legacy of Iron Fists before him when he met his immediate predecessor Orson Randall in IMMORTAL IRON FIST #1. He also joined the Cage’s team of Avengers in NEW AVENGERS #27 and operated with them for a while.
When the Skrull invasion became known, Luke Cage stood face-to-face with his Skrull duplicate in SECRET INVASION #1. Tragically, he and Jessica stood helpless as the Skrull who impersonated the Avengers’ butler, Edwin Jarvis, made off with their daughter in SECRET INVASION #8, though they’d subsequently recover her. Iron Fist came to his old friend’s aid in NEW AVENGERS #57-59 when Cage’s massive heart problems laid him low and underwent emergency surgery. After his recovery, Luke took on the leadership for a short time of a new team in THUNDERBOLTS #144.
When the original Avengers rebuilt the famous group in AVENGERS #1, Cage and Iron Fist put together an even newer gathering of New Avengers in NEW AVENGERS #1. Danny revealed a new costume after an other-dimensional sojourn in NEW AVENGERS #4, and Luke later decided to resign from the team in NEW AVENGERS #30. Upon meeting a new Power Man in SHADOWLAND: POWER MAN #1-3, Iron Fist became the hero’s mentor in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #1.
Recently, Luke Cage, though trying to put the heroic life behind him, saw a need for more heroic collaboration in MIGHTY AVENGERS #1, while Danny Rand looked toward forging a new path for himself in IRON FIST THE LIVING WEAPON #1. If their past stands as any proof of the two heroes’ guts and determination, they’ll continue into the future as unrelenting champions of justice.
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