For Your Consideration: Marvel’s Iron Fist: Deadly Hand of Kung Fu – the Complete Collection

Robert Greenberger

Robert Greenberger


by Robert Greenberger

Iron Fist: Deadly Hand of Kung Fu – the Complete Collection

Iron Fist: Deadly Hand of Kung Fu – the Complete Collection


Danny Rand may have been canceled by Netflix, but he remains a vital player in the Marvel Universe. No doubt, he’ll be back on screen eventually and to tide you over, Marvel has come up with Iron Fist: Deadly Hand of Kung Fu – the Complete Collection. This trade collection takes the stories from the black and white Deadly Hands of Kung Fu hardcover collection and offers us a character-specific collection, which nicely complements the contemporaneous Iron Fist the Epic Collection (which I wrote about here).

The stories are culled from issues 10, 18-24, 29, 31-33; along with a wonderful tale pulled from Bizarre Adventures #25. The magazine was best known for mining the martial arts craze with additional Iron Fist and Shang Chi stories, but the mag also gave us Sons of the Tiger along with features on Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee. It may have lasted 33 issues but did have an impact on the ever-expanding Marvel Universe of characters.

Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #10

Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #10


Iron Fist wasn’t a regular but a recurring player, making his first appearance in issue 10, in a story from Tony Isabella, David Anthony Kraft, Frank McLaughlin and Rudy Nebres. It’s a singular effort including a villain Steel Serpent, who showed up and died so the name could be reused later on.

He was off having four-color adventures until Bill Mantlo brought him back in issue #18 to team up with the Sons of Tiger in a lengthy tale with art by newcomers Pat Broderick and Terry Austin.

Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #24

Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #24


The title was another place to watch Chris Claremont grow and develop as a writer. He was good with the one-off tale, but give him an arc, and he dazzled. Under Bob Larkin’s cover to issue #19, he and Nebres gave us a six-part serial called “Firebird”. Apparently, humanity had been enslaved by the N’Garai until “the one true God” chased them away. A woman, Jade, had been so savagely beaten that she longed for death but instead, was merged with an entity known as the Firebird, described as the living embodiment of humanity’s “soul”. It’s almost Claremont working out the Phoenix story in this trial run.

A N’Garai agent, Dhasha Khan, has been seeking Firebird and had the misfortune of finding her at a time Iron Fist could interfere. The action shifts to the N’Garai’s underworld, Feng-Tu, which was also where K’un-Lun’s dead resided. There, Rand met defeat at the hands of a figure known as the Silver Dragon. She revealed herself to be infused with the spirit of his mother, Heather, who had sacrificed herself to save her young son when their plane crashed in the Himalayas all those years ago. She stole Firebird from Jade in a soul gem (no, not that one) and used the power to reform the Earth to the way it was when the N’Garai ruled. Meantime, Danny had to fight his mother, but she refused to fight her son and Dhasha Khan dispatched her.

Although Jade became Firebird again, we haven’t seen her since.

Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #29

Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #29


Issue #29 brought Iron Fist back in a story pairing Iron Fist and Shang Chi, seeking to save Blevins, one of Sir Denis’ former compatriots, only to learn it was a lure to recruit them to the Cadre of Salvation, which was sworn to defeat Shang’s father, Fu Manchu.

Iron Fist made his final appearance in issue #31, partnering with White Tiger, Shang-Chi, and the Jack of Hearts to oppose Stryke, a new threat, in a 41-page tale by Mantlo, Joe Staton, and Sonny Trinidad.

Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #32

Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #32


The final tales in this collection focus on the Daughters of the Dragon – Colleen Wing and Misty Knight. Issue #32, with a fine Malcolm McNeill cover painting, is the first time they fight as a duo even though they earned the name in Marvel Team-Up #64 nearly a year later.

Anyway, Claremont partners with Marshall Rogers for several stories and through them, we see how strong a bond they have while their backstories are deepened. We start with meeting Colleen’s grandfather, Kenji Ozawa, who was killed by agents of Emil Vachon. Seeking vengeance, they head for Hong Kong and mayhem ensues. The pair gets captured by Vachon’s underling, Chung. In part two, Colleen is hooked on heroin by Vachon while Misty takes care of business. As Wing attempts a dangerous cold turkey withdrawal, their bond is deepened. (There was some brief nudity here and it’ll be interesting to see if the original pages or the doctored ones, which have been used elsewhere, are used.)

We wrap up with the only other black and white epic with the Daughters, this taken from  Bizarre Adventures #25, and kudos to Marvel for including it. The one-off by Claremont, Rogers, and Bob McLeod is well worth having in this collection.

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