Immortal Iron Fist
I’ve been reading The Immortal Iron Fist (Marvel Comics, digital release between 2012 and 2013) collection over the past few months. I read it in its five-volume run that covered close to 30 comics.
To start off, when I think of Kung Fu epics and a warrior like the Iron Fist, this is the kind of thing that comes to mind. It’s old school action and adventure. Lots of martial arts and trips into weird places. Yeah, one of the final story lines takes Danny Rand to the eighth celestial city or in this case what can only be a version of hell. But stick a pin in that. We might return to it later.
If you don’t know anything about the story lines of Danny Rand and the Immortal Iron Fist of legend, let me give a bit of the background. Basically, the story begins where Danny’s father created a multinational corporation with a friend. At one point while Danny is still young, his father, mother, his dad’s business partner, and Danny end up flying through the frozen mountains of China. As origin stories go, his parents end up dying and Danny finds himself in a celestial city that only comes in contact with our world once every ten years. He trains in kung fu to become a supreme martial artist, the Iron fist and eventually returns to our world to find himself super wealthy and a controlling member of the board of directors in the company his father helped to build. Yeah, this is essentially the building blocks of a good number of old pulp adventure stories.
This is a fantasy that many have had growing up. For me, the similar fantasy would be to live the life of Doc Savage. Another multibillionaire, his fortune made through the efforts of his father. Yeah, it’s the fantasy we want and what do we have to contend with? You guessed it, the normal every day work-a-day life. I want a reroll. I think my dice took a day off when I was rolling up this character. (gaming reference, if you don’t get it, I apologize but be prepared there will always be more where that came from).
Anyway, in these stories, we come to eventually find that the fortune that had been amassed for Danny had been frittered away. His family’s once great company became little more than a husk of what it had been. Bad things happen to all of us. Granted it doesn’t help to be trapped in another dimension when greedy people are looking to gut your company at the first opportunity.
So, where was I?
Gutted company, Danny Rand trapped in all manner of evil places, having to fight against unstoppable opponents till he feels like he can’t fight anymore. And all of that is on a good day. Feels like sometimes, you see lives worse off than your own and you have to wonder what the heck happened. At least, that’s one of the things I draw from all of this.
But then we take a larger view of the workings of these stories and we can see a few other things going on. The first being the idea of struggle. Our protagonist isn’t really seen as a hero unless they have to struggle to reach this status. Throughout the story arcs we see that working with Danny as he is searching for answers to all his questions about the 8th heavenly city.
It’s a little more than that though. Throughout the stories we see where the choices he has made are the cause of many of the problems he could have avoided. I mean really, the biggest one of being trapped in the 8th city all comes back to the quest he was on to find it. He could have abandoned that quest at any time before all the immortal weapons opened the portal and fell into the awaiting pit.
His choices were also the ones that brought down Rand Enterprises. Some of it was expected results. He had been on a quest to divest himself away from the responsibility and headaches of running a large corporation. But also, his time away from the company made it easy for hostile competitors to come in and strip away so much of what his father had built.
It follows us into our own lives. Those choices we make every day allow us to pursue one opportunity while pushing aside others. We never have all the time and energy we wish we could have to do everything we want to do. Nor would we want to. The balance needs to be maintained to keep our sanity and life intact. But maybe that is something for a different discussion.
In the end, I really enjoyed all of the parts of the collections I have been able to read. Granted I didn’t go outside of the collections themselves, so I probably missed other stories that might have tied into these stories. All comes back to our choices. Give up one thing in order to collect on something else.
If you enjoy these stories, consider leaving some coffee money in the jar or you could buy a book or two. Either way helps keep the stories flowing.