A young boy loses his wealthy parents, receives spiritual guidance and martial-arts training in the Far East, then returns home to right various wrongs and restore order in the big city – it’s a familiar superhero origin-story narrative. Very, very few comic-book adaptations would introduce their main character, however, wandering barefoot and disheveled in the streets of midtown Manhattan, Walkman blazing (listening to, of all things, OutKast’s “So Fresh, So Clean”) with a semi-stoned grin on his face, looking like he just stepped away from a drum circle in a Phish pre-show parking lot. You probably wouldn’t think this scruffy-looking hippie kid could efficiently wipe the floor with half dozen armed security guards twice his size. And you definitely would not think that this vaguely homeless looking dude could escape a goon-protected sanitarium by punching his way through a brick wall – courtesy of one blow from a glowing, pulsing knuckle sandwich.
Welcome to the world of Iron Fist, the latest Netflix/Marvel collaboration that hopes to build off its popular previous superhero series and drop in the final piece of the puzzle in that will set up their “urban Avengers” all-star team-up The Defenders some time later this year. Originally created as a chance to exploit the post-Bruce Lee chop-socky craze of the early 1970s – and later teamed up with Marvel’s Blaxploitation white-knight Luke Cage for the company’s Heroes for Hire title – the man known as Iron Fist, a.k.a. Danny Rand (played by Game of Thrones‘ Finn Jones), is now a one-percenter who comes back to New York City claim his birthright. The problem is, Danny was long thought to be dead, after a plane crash in the Himalayas claimed the lives of his father and mother over a decade ago – and the relatives who now control the family’s corporate business would prefer he was still M.I.A. Thanks to having learned a strain of kung-fu that enables him to channel the power of a mystical dragon’s heart though his deadly-weapon hands, however, the stranger in a strange land proves that he’s more than capable of taking care of himself.
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