Following a series of teasers establishing Danny Rand's exit from the mantle of the Iron Fist and showing the hero that will replace him in silhouette, Marvel has now unveiled the new Iron Fist - and it doesn't appear to be anyone we may have expected.
While there are plenty of established Marvel heroes who might qualify to step into the role of Iron Fist, the traditional protector of the mystical land known as K'un-Lun, it appears that the new Iron Fist title from writer Alyssa Wong, artist Michael-YG, and colorist Jay Ramos will apparently introduce a totally new hero, whose secret identity remains hidden behind a new Iron Fist costume designed by Jim Cheung, who also recently redesigned Shang-Chi's comic book look.
The five-issue limited series follows Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon, which concluded with Danny Rand giving up the power of the Iron Fist, seemingly ending the long line of heroes empowered by the heart of the dragon known as Shou-Lao the Undying. But it seems that another hero will step into the role, complete with the Chi-focusing power that comes with the mantle.
However, Marvel's announcement indicates that not all may be as it seems with the new Iron Fist, with series editor Mark Paniccia promising "many cool mysteries" throughout the series, which "even the most ardent Marvel fan" will find surprising.
One of those mysteries may even come down to the source of the new Iron Fist's power, which Marvel indicates could come from somewhere "far more sinister" than its traditional connection to Shou-Lao.
"It's an incredible honor to introduce a new Iron Fist to the Marvel Universe. I'm excited to delve into the comic's rich mythos and build on it," states Alyssa Wong in the announcement. "What does it mean for someone to take up the mantle of the Iron Fist right now, today? As a newcomer, how does one interact with legacy, and how does one honor it while forging a new path?"
Marvel may take the opportunity of introducing a new Iron Fist to address the long-standing controversy around Danny Rand, a white man whose comic book story is deeply rooted in stereotypical, exoticized portrayals of Asian culture.
When Iron Fist was adapted to live-action for the Netflix streaming series, the casting of Finn Jones in a faithful adaptation of the caucasian Danny Rand drew some negative public attention. The issue stems from the enduring white savior trope, where a white person with no cultural connection to Asian people enters their society and immediately eclipses all the Asian people around him at skills, traditions, or cultural practices that are inherently tied to non-white people.
In this era of increased racial, ethnic, and cultural awareness, putting that trope to bed and evolving one of its preeminent martial arts franchises to headline a character of Asian descent could be an intentional part of the publisher's thinking.
Iron Fist #1 is due out February 19. Stay tuned to Newsarama for Marvel's full February 2022 solicitations coming in November.
The original Iron Fist debuted in 1974. Check out who Newsarama names as the best Marvel character to debut that year (and every year in the '70s). Here's a hint, he was the best at what he does in 1974 too.