The Immortal Iron Fist
|The Immortal Iron Fist|
Cover art to The Immortal Iron Fist #1.
Art by David Aja.
|Publication date||November 2006 – August 2009|
|Number of issues||27|
|Main character(s)||Iron Fist|
|Creative team as of September 2008|
|Volume 1: The Last Iron Fist Story||ISBN 0-7851-2489-6|
The series was written jointly by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction from issues #1-14 with artists Travel Foreman and David Aja. Fraction wrote issues #15 and 16 alone. From issue #17 to the series' cancellation at issue #27, the series was written by Duane Swierczynski and largely drawn by a returning Travel Foreman.
||This section's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (June 2010)|
The story introduces Orson Randall, Daniel Rand's immediate predecessor, who reneged on his responsibilities to K'un L'un after suffering immense psychological trauma during the First World War. Randall is discovered in Thailand; apparently preserved by the spirit of Shou-Lao and in full possession of his powers, but living in drug-soaked seclusion. Randall is pursued by agents of the Steel Serpent and the terrorist group HYDRA. Jolted out of his decades-long ennui, Randall seeks out Daniel Rand in New York and gives him The Book of the Iron Fist, a sacred ledger supposedly containing all the Kung-fu secrets of previous Iron Fists, which Randall claims will be necessary if Rand is to compete successfully in the coming tournament of the Seven Champions.
The Steel Serpent, whose powers have been greatly augmented by Crane Mother, quickly dispatches Randall in single combat. On the brink of death, Randall surrenders his Chi to Danny, giving him sufficient power to battle the Serpent to a standstill. After the battle, Rand is immediately summoned by his master, Lei Kung (who is also the father of Steel Serpent) to compete in a tournament that will decide the cycle according to which of the Seven Cities of Heaven appears on Earth. However, the leaders of the Seven Cities had secretly erected gateways between Earth and each city without the knowledge of the populace. The corruption of the leaders of the Seven Cities of Heaven has spurred Iron Fist, his master Lei Kung the Thunderer, Orson Randall's daughter, and John Aman to secretly plan a revolution. Iron Fist discovers that Crane Mother, and Xao, a high-ranking HYDRA operative, are planning to destroy K'un Lun by using a portal. Upon learning of the plot Steel Serpent helps Danny and the other Immortal weapons to defeat Xao.
Danny destroys the train intended to destroy K'un Lun by extending his chi to find the train's electro-magnetic field, transforming himself into "a human bullet." Meanwhile, the revolution orchestrated by Lei Kung and Orson's daughter proves successful, with Nu-an, the Yu-Ti of K'un Lun fleeing in terror. As Danny confronts Xao, he reveals that there is an eighth city of Heaven, before killing himself.Steel Serpent ultimately seeks to redeem himself to his father and to the populace. Danny suggests Lei Kung as the new Yu-Ti, with Orson's nameless daughter as the new Thunderer.
After the events, and learning that the Randall fortune that started Rand International was formed from the oppression of the Cities of Heaven, Danny decides to transform the company into a non-profit organization, dedicated to helping the poor. He also sets up the Thunder Dojo in Harlem to help inner city children, buys back the old Heroes for Hire building as the new Rand International Headquarters, and his new home, while offering Luke Cage a position at the company. He also tries to reconnect with Misty Knight. Danny (on his 33rd birthday) soon learns a disturbing fact about the previous Iron Fists: Every single one has died at the age of 33, except Orson Randell, who vanished at that same time.
Soon afterward Danny is attacked by a servant of Ch'l-Lin, defeating Danny easily. He claims that he has killed many Iron Fists. However, Luke, Misty, and Coleen arrive just as the servant prepares to slay Danny. Luke manages to get a hold of the mysterious assassin, but he then suddenly vanishes. Danny searches for answers in the Book of the Iron Fist to try to understand how Orson Randall was able avoid being slain by the Ch'l-Lin's assassin. However, one of Danny's new business associates calls Danny up to alert him of the Ch'l-Lin Assassin staking out the Thunder Dojo.
Danny heads for the dojo, where he finds the assassin, whose real name has been revealed as Zhou Cheng. Having placed some sort of telepathic command upon the students to kill each other if Danny does not surrender. Danny bows before Cheng, but this is quickly revealed to be only a ploy, as Luke, Misty, and the other Immortal weapons arrive to aid Danny. While still formidable in combat, Danny correctly guessed that an opponent who was tailored to fight the Iron fist would not be as effective against the other weapons. The group defeats Cheng, but he vanishes into thin air.
The Immortal weapons embark on a hunt for Cheng, while Danny attempts to learn about his new adversary. He soon learns that Orson Randall was only able to escape Cheng by addicting himself to heroin, thus damping his chi and leaving Cheng under the assumption that he had died. While searching for a way to defeat Cheng in the Book of the Iron Fist, Danny discovers that his assistant, Nadine, is an accomplice to Cheng, after she poisons his coffee. While Danny's chi prevents the poison from killing him, it is sufficiently strong to weaken him significantly. All of a sudden, Cheng arrives in Danny's office, thanks Nadine (who, although being Cheng's "beloved," appears to have been a rather reluctant accomplice), and prepares to finish what he and Danny started. Just then, Nadine steps in and attempts to stop Cheng, revealing to him that she is pregnant with his child, and does not wish for their baby to be the child of a murderer. Cheng, is it revealed, is seeking the retrieve the heart of the Iron Fist in order to enter K'un Lun and devour the egg that births the next Shou-Lao the Undying every generation, thus wiping out K'un Lun's Iron Fist legacy. Despite having slain evey previous Iron Fist who did not otherwise fall in battle or relinquish their power (excepting Orson Randall), Cheng has always failed to reach the egg.
Cheng, who it is also revealed has been slowly buying out Rand Int. over the past 20 years, throws Nadine out of the way, and continues his attack. Danny has his shoulder dislocated during the battle, but manages to defeat Cheng even in his weakened state. Following the duel, the Immortal Weapons, Luke, Coleen, and Misty arrive, and reveal to Danny that they have discovered a map in Cheng's apartment that leads to the Eighth City of Heaven, whose existence was mentioned by Xao during the tournament of the seven cities. Danny and the others realize that his is where the Ch'l-Lin originated, and depart for the Eighth City.
Before their departure, Davos arrives at the behest of Lei Kung to inform Danny that the Eighth city is, in fact, a prison constructed to hold demonic creatures that had once threatened K'un Lun and the other cities of Heaven and its gate only allows for passage in but not out, making it effectively synonymous with Hell. However, Davos also informs Danny that the previous Yu-Ti had housed anyone who attempted to rebel against his rule in the Eighth city, and Lei Kung commissions Danny and the Immortal Weapons to rescue the wrongful prisoners, and informs them that the in-not-out rule can be bypassed by all six of the Immortal Weapons.
Upon arrival at the gates of the city, Danny and the others are literally sucked into the depths of the city, whereupon they are attacked by the prisoners of the Eighth city, which is ruled by the nefarious Changming, and forced to fight the demons of the city one by one, each time beaten nearly to death (their Chi weakened by having been pulled into the city) and rotated repeatedly, while being allowed to heal to just enough to be able to fight again. While Danny is in his cell after a fight, he hears a tapping on his cell wall, and realizes it is being done in Chinese, with the message "You are an Iron Fist. Just like me." Meanwhile, it is revealed that Davos has not been honest with Danny and the Immortal Weapons about their mission, as he has posted a spy outside of the gate of the Eighth City, who reports there being "no signs of life," but that "something is clearly happening," and Davos determines that this requires him to battle Danny once again.
Danny's fellow prisoner reveals himself to be Quan Yaozu, the very first Iron Fist. Quan reveals that in the early days of K'un Lun's history, Changming had risen to power during a time of moral decadence in the city. Changming had been the one who had originally summoned all of the demonic creatures that had once plagued K'un Lun into the city, including Shou-Lao the Undying, and used them to quickly conquer the city. One day, however, a lone warrior had entered the dragon's cave to challenge it.
Before Quan can finish, he and Danny are removed from their cells and brought into the arena for a fight. By now, Changming has learned that Danny and the Immortal Weapons have been formulating a plan to rescue the prisoners of the Eighth City and make their escape, by leaving each other Morse code messages in the arena after each fight. Changming declares that Danny and Quan will fight to the death. Danny refuses to "fight an old man," but Quan, now in his Iron Fist suit, replies, "Sorry, Young Fist. I've been waiting for this chance for freedom FAR TOO LONG." 
However, once the fight begins, Danny immediately senses that his opponent lacks any perceivable martial arts skills and realizes that he is not the true Quan Yaozu. As the Immortal Weapons manage to escape and defeat the guards during the fight, Changming reveals that he is, in fact, the true Quan Yaozu. He explains that he voluntarily stayed in the Eighth City to keep K'un Lun's demons from escaping. However, upon seeing his lost love thrown into the Eighth City, Quan became disillusioned, and believed that K'un Lun was not worth saving, eventually rising up to rule the Eighth City as Changming. Danny and Fat Cobra manage to defeat Quan in the battle, and prepare to ask him the true nature of the Eighth City and why they have been sent there.
However, Danny soon discovers that the Immortal Weapons are pawns in a plan Quan has hatched. As the door to the Eighth City can only be opened from the inside by the Immortal Weapons, his plan was for the Immortal Weapons to make an escape attempt, thereby opening the gate and unleashing Quan and his army to take his revenge on the Seven Cities for having sentenced him and many of their citizens to an eternity in the Eighth City.
Quan forces Danny to lead him out of Eighth City and back to K'un Lun, but after making it outside the gate, the two encounter Davos, who is waiting outside the gate with a sniper rifle. He tells Danny that he has been sent there by Lei-Kung to assassinate Quan, as he and Lei-Kung believe that Danny lacks the ability to take a life. In the ensuing battle, Danny manages to defeat both Davos and Quan, going as far as to take a bullet in the hand for the latter. Danny's actions impress Quan, who decides that Danny may be living proof that K'un Lun is not the corrupt city it once was. Danny and Davos agree to guide Quan to K'un Lun and arrange a meeting between him and Lei-Kung to give Quan a forum for his grievances.
However, when Danny returns to New York, he finds a HYDRA cell waiting for him at Rand Int., seeking retribution for the death of Xao, and holding Misty hostage. In the ensuing battle, Rand Int. is destroyed, but Danny and Misty escape unharmed. With Rand Int. destroyed and now left with only a fraction of his former net worth. Danny and Misty purchase a new condo in Harlem, and Danny decides to focus all of his attention and remaining resources at the Thunder Dojo. While moving into their new home, Danny asks Misty to marry him. Initially skeptical of the offer, thinking it may only be "one of those honor things", Misty accepts and reveals that she is pregnant with Danny's child.
Ed Brubaker won the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Writer in part for his work on The Immortal Iron Fist.
The series has been collected into trade paperbacks:
- Volume 1: The Last Iron Fist Story (ISBN 0-7851-2489-6)
- Volume 2: The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven (ISBN 0-7851-2535-3)
- Volume 3: The Book of Iron Fist (ISBN 0-7851-2536-1)
- Volume 4: The Mortal Iron Fist (ISBN 0-7851-3296-1)
- Volume 5: Escape from the Eighth City (ISBN 0-7851-3392-5)
As well as a hardcover:
- Richards, Dave (November 16, 2006). "Iron Drawing Hand: Aja talks "The Immortal Iron Fist"". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved February 21, 2007.
- Richards, Dave (April 7, 2008). "New Fists Of Fury: Swierczynski Talks "Iron Fist"". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
- Ekstrom, Steve (April 7, 2008). "Talking Iron Fist With Swierczynski, Fraction, Brubaker and Foreman". Newsarama. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
- Schedeen, Jesse (April 7, 2008). "Duane Swiercynski Helms The Immortal Iron Fist". IGN. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
- Immortal Iron Fist #13
- Immortal Iron Fist #16
- Immortal Iron Fist #20
- Immortal Iron Fist #20
- Immortal Iron Fist #21
- Immortal Iron Fist #23
- Immortal Iron Fist #25
- Immortal Iron Fist #26
- Immortal Iron Fist #27