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Best Battles in Comic Book History: Captain America vs. Iron Fist

Steve Rogers and Danny Rand once threw down in the Avengers Mansion, and we want to tell you why it was all kinds of awesome.

With Captain America: The Winter Soldier right around the corner and Iron Fist's new series coming out soon, we want to honor the two combatants in the latest edition of Best Battles in Comic Book History. The super-soldier has obviously had dozens upon dozens of epic fights over the years. He's duked it out with villains like Red Skull and Crossbones plenty of times, and he's even thrown down with the likes of Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Iron Man. Basically, there's a whole lot of fighting in his history and quite a few standout brawls immediately come to mind, but this month, we thought it would be cool to highlight an older comic that maybe not so many people have read. You see, back in the pages of IRON FIST #12, Cap had one hell of a melee with Danny Rand. The cover claims it's "all out action as Iron Fist faces the super might of Captain America!" and, friends, that cover does not lie.

Written by Chris Claremont and illustrated by John Byrne, IRON FIST #12 went on sale way back in 1977 and is something I never grow tired of reading. First and foremost, the creative team alone should sell you on this one, but if that somehow doesn't, I need to emphasize the fact this issue is pure bronze age goodness. The plot is simplistic and the dialogue will maybe even make you laugh, but you know what? It's a real blast. It's one of the many cases where two heroes clash because of a total misunderstanding and then -- spoiler alert -- team-up to defeat the villains.

Basically, Iron Fist sneaks into Avengers Mansion because he needs help. The Wrecking Crew is holding Misty Knight hostage and they'll kill her if he doesn't take the Mansion over and create a trap for Thor. Rand is able to sneak past all of the defenses, yet winds up being spotted by Jarvis. While trying to explain what's up, Jarvis -- get this -- trips on the carpet and falls down the stairs. Rand is able to catch him and take most of the impact as the two tumble, but they land just in time for Captain America to witness all of the commotion. Seeing as Captain America thinks Iron Fist is a bad guy and a killer, you bet they go straight into fisticuffs despite Rand wanting to explain what's going on. And so begins the skirmish that spreads across 5 pages. As you'll see below, it kicks off with Danny dancing around the shield and then the two begin to trade punches.

The cover says "the shield and the power!" Well, if you had to choose a winner between a super-soldier holding a virtually indestructible shield or a martial arts master who can dish out chi-powered punches, who would you pick? No matter who you'd side with, there's no denying that a physical encounter between these two has a lot of potential. A well place shield strike could give Cap the edge, and Danny's technique and raw power could eventually help him best the famous Avenger.

With both of them in character (aka morals apply), a fight between these two holds the potential to be a lengthy and relatively balance contest. Claremont recognizes this and crafts the battle in a way that gives plenty of respect to both characters. They each get their fair share of hits in and Claremont plainly illustrates what advantages each hold in the fight. Cap implements simple yet effective techniques that compliment his physicals, and, while Danny doesn't have the best showing around, it's noted more than a few times that he's blatantly holding back and trying his hardest to avoid unleashing his true power.

As Claremont scripts a thoroughly amusing hand-to-hand encounter, Byrne brings it all to life with his signature style. Watching each strike land and be complimented by a bold onomatopoeia is ridiculously enjoyable. The fight never feels stagnant as these two trade blows and the panels are sure to fill you with a pleasant dose of nostalgia. Don Warfield also does an excellent job with the characters' vibrant costumes and adding extra oomph to every attack's impact. Sure, it's a vicious fight between two talented heroes, but it never comes off as over the top or dark. It's delightfully entertaining and a reminder of how fun many of the comics were back in that era.

Overall, IRON FIST #12 is a real treat. Claremont writes an exciting fight between two awesome characters and Byrne's art is always a joy to look at. It's a well-choreographed fight that spills across several pages and is honestly something any fan of these characters should read at some point. It may not have mind-blowing plot twists or reel you in emotionally, but it's a legitimately great time. And if you want to know what brings this conflict to a halt and what happens with the Wrecking Crew... well, you'll just have to read the comic for yourself to find out!

Love comic book battles? Cool, we do, too! Here's the other ones we've highlighted in the segment.

Is there a fight that you really want to see in this monthly article? Tell us below or via Twitter and we'll take it into consideration!

46 Comments
Edited by Teerack

I wish Cap didn't treat Danny like crap. He did so much in AvX and was right next to Cap throughout the whole Civil War yet Cap will never pick him out of a roster even tho he's powerful, smart, and wealthy -_- Cap asked for Cage to when making the current Avengers roster, and didn't seem to think Danny belonged on a team.

Posted by Life_Without_Progress

How bout next time do Superman vs Captain Marvel from Kingdom Come or Superboy vs Superboy Prime from Infinite Crisis?

Edited by Jonny_Anonymous

I'M GOING TO MAKE YOU WISH YOU HAD NEVER BEEN BORN!!!

Edited by Lykida

"Iron Fist - The Kung Fu Killer" That's a good title for that upcoming Netflix show, isn't it?

Posted by Wilbertus

Batman vs Killer Croc from Arkham Asylum, that was a beautiful fight full of symbolism.

Edited by Iron Fist Angel

This series ranks as one of my all-time favourites, (despite it's truncated 15-issue run). Pretty much every issue was freakin' awesome - battles versus Iron Man, Captain America, The Wrecking Crew, Sabretooth, the X-men etc... It was just so action-packed and featured more stellar writing and art from the Claremont/Byrne duo.

Edited by AmazingWebHead

You don't really need to tell us why it's awesome, anyone could see, but it's still very much appreciated. XD

Edited by lifeofvibe

Aw no catwoman vs wild cat?

Edited by bflynn316

I have this comic. Iron Fist is awesome

Edited by mak13131313
Posted by myerlanski

Captain America is tight. Go Cap!!!!!

Posted by krauser99

Cap is the man.

Edited by IndieComicsFTW

So whats the deal with current Iron Fist abilities with the Iron Fist. We know back then, and today, his Chi is not unlimited. He can only use it so many times before being tuckered out. So why is it he fought Black Panther, he has supposedly this unlimited Chi to Speed Blitz BP Vibranium suit with attacks? Unless he was merely speed blitzing and every attack was nowhere near the Iron Fist true potential.

So 2 Questions.

1) Does he have unlimited Iron Fist attacks today?

2) Are we certain that every strike on the Black Panther fight was a true full powered Iron Fist attack? I mean it says in one panel being hit with the force of a freight train, but that same panel referred to a single attack, not the speed blitz one.

I also like how Danny comments how simple Steve Skill is. Its pretty true to Caps statements of skill in comics. He is not as well train in MAs as say Wolverine, or Shang Chi, or Danny. But he can hang with them for using what works, coupled with his super human stats.

Well done fight indeed.

Posted by StMichalofWilson

Cool!

Edited by jashro44

@indiecomicsftw said:

So whats the deal with current Iron Fist abilities with the Iron Fist. We know back then, and today, his Chi is not unlimited. He can only use it so many times before being tuckered out. So why is it he fought Black Panther, he has supposedly this unlimited Chi to Speed Blitz BP Vibranium suit with attacks? Unless he was merely speed blitzing and every attack was nowhere near the Iron Fist true potential.

So 2 Questions.

1) Does he have unlimited Iron Fist attacks today?

2) Are we certain that every strike on the Black Panther fight was a true full powered Iron Fist attack? I mean it says in one panel being hit with the force of a freight train, but that same panel referred to a single attack, not the speed blitz one.

I also like how Danny comments how simple Steve Skill is. Its pretty true to Caps statements of skill in comics. He is not as well train in MAs as say Wolverine, or Shang Chi, or Danny. But he can hang with them for using what works, coupled with his super human stats.

Well done fight indeed.

I already told you he was amped in that encounter by black dragon when he fought black panther which allowed him to use the iron fist that many times. And current iron fist does have the ability to use the iron fist multiple times now.

EDIT: Also I would like to point out iron fist was pretty exhausted in this fight IIRC.

Online
Posted by Farkam

"As Claremont scripts a thoroughly amusing hand-to-hand encounter, Byrne brings it all to life with his signature style. Watching each strike land and be complimented by a bold onomatopoeia is ridiculously enjoyable. The fight never feels stagnant as these two trade blows and the panels are sure to fill you with a pleasant dose of nostalgia. Sure, it's a vicious fight between two talented heroes, but it never comes off as over the top or dark. It's delightfully entertaining and a reminder of how fun many of the comics were back in that era."

Agreed with everything said here!

Posted by IndieComicsFTW

@jashro44 said:

@indiecomicsftw said:

So whats the deal with current Iron Fist abilities with the Iron Fist. We know back then, and today, his Chi is not unlimited. He can only use it so many times before being tuckered out. So why is it he fought Black Panther, he has supposedly this unlimited Chi to Speed Blitz BP Vibranium suit with attacks? Unless he was merely speed blitzing and every attack was nowhere near the Iron Fist true potential.

So 2 Questions.

1) Does he have unlimited Iron Fist attacks today?

2) Are we certain that every strike on the Black Panther fight was a true full powered Iron Fist attack? I mean it says in one panel being hit with the force of a freight train, but that same panel referred to a single attack, not the speed blitz one.

I also like how Danny comments how simple Steve Skill is. Its pretty true to Caps statements of skill in comics. He is not as well train in MAs as say Wolverine, or Shang Chi, or Danny. But he can hang with them for using what works, coupled with his super human stats.

Well done fight indeed.

I already told you he was amped in that encounter by black dragon when he fought black panther which allowed him to use the iron fist that many times. And current iron fist does have the ability to use the iron fist multiple times now.

EDIT: Also I would like to point out iron fist was pretty exhausted in this fight IIRC.

Still can he use the Iron Fist non stop now and days? I remember something in New Avengers, when Danny was telling Strange he was getting weaker in powers after having them so long.

Posted by Decept-O

Nice. This was a great post and dive into the past.

Edited by jashro44

@indiecomicsftw said:

Still can he use the Iron Fist non stop now and days? I remember something in New Avengers, when Danny was telling Strange he was getting weaker in powers after having them so long.

I think he can but I am not sure about that to be honest. I believe after he trained in the book of iron fist he doesn't suffer that weakness now. @wyldsong or @slimj87d would know. I still need to read immortal iron fist.

Online
Edited by Wyldsong

@jashro44 said:

@indiecomicsftw said:

Still can he use the Iron Fist non stop now and days? I remember something in New Avengers, when Danny was telling Strange he was getting weaker in powers after having them so long.

i think he can but I am not sure about that to be honest. I believe after he trained in the book of iron fist he doesn't suffer that weakness now. @wyldsong or @slimj87d would know.

He has not been shown to be weakened when using the Iron Fist in modern times, that is unless they have changed something that I was not aware of.

Posted by IndieComicsFTW

@jashro44 said:

@indiecomicsftw said:

Still can he use the Iron Fist non stop now and days? I remember something in New Avengers, when Danny was telling Strange he was getting weaker in powers after having them so long.

I think he can but I am not sure about that to be honest. I believe after he trained in the book of iron fist he doesn't suffer that weakness now. @wyldsong or @slimj87d would know. I still need to read immortal iron fist.

Cool.

Posted by jashro44

@wyldsong: All right thanks for the confirmation.

Online
Edited by IndieComicsFTW

@wyldsong said:

He has not been shown to be weakened when using the Iron Fist in modern times, that is unless they have changed something that I was not aware of.

But does this mean he can just spam 1000 attacks of that caliber and be fresh as rain?

Posted by SlimJ87D

@indiecomicsftw:

His main amp from my memory came from obtaining the book of the iron fist which he has been studying a lot, and plunging his fist into Orson Randall's heart and absorbing his powers.

Since then, he's been fisting foes left and right without problem. I still think he can be fatigued, and that's why we only see him use it at a crucial blow, he doesn't spam his techniques.

@teerack said:

I wish Cap didn't treat Danny like crap. He did so much in AvX and was right next to Cap throughout the whole Civil War yet Cap will never pick him out of a roster even tho he's powerful, smart, and wealthy -_- Cap asked for Cage to when making the current Avengers roster, and didn't seem to think Danny belonged on a team.

That's not the reason why Cap didn't pick Iron Fist. Iron Fist has a lot of problems right now, not just financially, but emotionally. If anything, IF chose not to be part of the team.

Posted by Wyldsong

@wyldsong said:

He has not been shown to be weakened when using the Iron Fist in modern times, that is unless they have changed something that I was not aware of.

But does this mean he can just spam 1000 attacks of that caliber and be fresh as rain?

The problem is, we don't know. As @slimj87d pointed out, he doesn't really spam it, but he has used it quite a bit without showing any fatigue. I would assume he would eventually get fatigued at some point, but we haven't seen it happen yet, and he has not been pushed to that point in any recent stories that I am aware of.

Edited by Cypher4

I bought Iron Fist Volume 2 a little while and just read this issue a couple weeks ago for the first time. Right after I finish it, it gets talked about. :) Great fight, but I am a little surprised about how fast Cap just jumped to conclusions. If he had looked at his computer for literally 2 more seconds, he would have seen that Iron Fist had been cleared of the murder charges.

Posted by Captain13

Power Man and Iron Fist had a lot of great showings in that era--some great creative teams too.

Power Man and Iron Fist #67
Power Man and Iron Fist #66
Power Man and Iron Fist #66

Posted by Jake Fury

Captain America is a jerk.

Edited by krauser99

So whats the deal with current Iron Fist abilities with the Iron Fist. We know back then, and today, his Chi is not unlimited. He can only use it so many times before being tuckered out. So why is it he fought Black Panther, he has supposedly this unlimited Chi to Speed Blitz BP Vibranium suit with attacks? Unless he was merely speed blitzing and every attack was nowhere near the Iron Fist true potential.

So 2 Questions.

1) Does he have unlimited Iron Fist attacks today?

He does them more easy now for sure then back then. I don't think he's ever been taxed from them in the modern days. I'll have to go back and re-read some of the more modern tales. I don't think it is unlimited but his new source might make it seem that way. An ocean was stated as his new source compared to like a river or something IIRC.

2) Are we certain that every strike on the Black Panther fight was a true full powered Iron Fist attack? I mean it says in one panel being hit with the force of a freight train, but that same panel referred to a single attack, not the speed blitz one.

Even if it wasn't a full power. It was the IF technique strike. Plus there were "circumstances" in that one indie. His chi was made unbalanced by the villain, for lots of offensive energy not to mention bloodlusted Danny. BP was lucky to have had his vibranium suit. But a holding back BP held his own vs a amped up and a killer mode Ironfist.

I also like how Danny comments how simple Steve Skill is. Its pretty true to Caps statements of skill in comics. He is not as well train in MAs as say Wolverine, or Shang Chi, or Danny. But he can hang with them for using what works, coupled with his super human stats.

Well done fight indeed.

He called Cap's skill "basic". But if you think about it. Basic compared to someone that has exotic levels of skills "mind meld" attacks, chi channeling punches, and Dragon amped punches with the Ironfist technique. Sure basic compared to "that" but Cap himself re answered that question and told Danny he's as fine of a martial artists like Mantis but that's not good enough. Giving him a compliment to Mantis level skill(Cap worked with her in the Avengers) is a compliment to Danny for sure. But in Steve's mind that level of skill isn't enough to over take him.

Although I do agree Danny is more skilled then Cap.

Posted by jashro44

@krauser99:

He called Cap's skill "basic". But if you think about it. Basic compared to someone that has exotic levels of skills "mind meld" attacks, chi channeling punches, and Dragon amped punches with the Ironfist technique. Sure basic compared to "that" but Cap himself re answered that question and told Danny he's as fine of a martial artists like Mantis but that's not good enough. Giving him a compliment to Mantis level skill(Cap worked with her in the Avengers) is a compliment to Danny for sure. But in Steve's mind that level of skill isn't enough to over take him.

Although I do agree Danny is more skilled then Cap.

Didn't mantis one shot cap in avengers #114? All though yea Danny having his skill compared to mantis is impressive.

Online
Edited by krauser99

@jashro44 said:

@krauser99:

He called Cap's skill "basic". But if you think about it. Basic compared to someone that has exotic levels of skills "mind meld" attacks, chi channeling punches, and Dragon amped punches with the Ironfist technique. Sure basic compared to "that" but Cap himself re answered that question and told Danny he's as fine of a martial artists like Mantis but that's not good enough. Giving him a compliment to Mantis level skill(Cap worked with her in the Avengers) is a compliment to Danny for sure. But in Steve's mind that level of skill isn't enough to over take him.

Although I do agree Danny is more skilled then Cap.

Didn't mantis one shot cap in avengers #114? All though yea Danny having his skill compared to mantis is impressive.

She did. On panel it showed her using her leg snap dragon(IIRC) on Cap. But it didn't show how she got that technique on him. Off panel Cap was facing a massive Red Dragon so it might have been a "sneak" attack on Cap or "surprise" attack, while he was distracted.

Posted by jashro44
Online
Posted by IndieComicsFTW

@jashro44 said:

@krauser99:

He called Cap's skill "basic". But if you think about it. Basic compared to someone that has exotic levels of skills "mind meld" attacks, chi channeling punches, and Dragon amped punches with the Ironfist technique. Sure basic compared to "that" but Cap himself re answered that question and told Danny he's as fine of a martial artists like Mantis but that's not good enough. Giving him a compliment to Mantis level skill(Cap worked with her in the Avengers) is a compliment to Danny for sure. But in Steve's mind that level of skill isn't enough to over take him.

Although I do agree Danny is more skilled then Cap.

Didn't mantis one shot cap in avengers #114? All though yea Danny having his skill compared to mantis is impressive.

I actually never heard of Mantis 0_0

Posted by jashro44

@jashro44 said:

@krauser99:

He called Cap's skill "basic". But if you think about it. Basic compared to someone that has exotic levels of skills "mind meld" attacks, chi channeling punches, and Dragon amped punches with the Ironfist technique. Sure basic compared to "that" but Cap himself re answered that question and told Danny he's as fine of a martial artists like Mantis but that's not good enough. Giving him a compliment to Mantis level skill(Cap worked with her in the Avengers) is a compliment to Danny for sure. But in Steve's mind that level of skill isn't enough to over take him.

Although I do agree Danny is more skilled then Cap.

Didn't mantis one shot cap in avengers #114? All though yea Danny having his skill compared to mantis is impressive.

I actually never heard of Mantis 0_0

Mantis has battle telepathy and who has trained for 1000 years in a bunch of martial arts. She has low level superhuman stats as well. In the same issue she took down cap she also one shotted thor with a pressure point. She does have some other abilities like pyrokinesis and a few other things I believe all though she mostly uses martial arts.

Online
Posted by IndieComicsFTW

@jashro44 said:

@indiecomicsftw said:

@jashro44 said:

@krauser99:

He called Cap's skill "basic". But if you think about it. Basic compared to someone that has exotic levels of skills "mind meld" attacks, chi channeling punches, and Dragon amped punches with the Ironfist technique. Sure basic compared to "that" but Cap himself re answered that question and told Danny he's as fine of a martial artists like Mantis but that's not good enough. Giving him a compliment to Mantis level skill(Cap worked with her in the Avengers) is a compliment to Danny for sure. But in Steve's mind that level of skill isn't enough to over take him.

Although I do agree Danny is more skilled then Cap.

Didn't mantis one shot cap in avengers #114? All though yea Danny having his skill compared to mantis is impressive.

I actually never heard of Mantis 0_0

Mantis has battle telepathy and who has trained for 1000 years in a bunch of martial arts. She has low level superhuman stats as well. In the same issue she took down cap she also one shotted thor with a pressure point. She does have some other abilities like pyrokinesis and a few other things I believe all though she mostly uses martial arts.

Huh....... huuuuuuuh..... never heard of this cat.

Edited by krauser99
@jashro44 said:

@indiecomicsftw said:

@jashro44 said:

@krauser99:

He called Cap's skill "basic". But if you think about it. Basic compared to someone that has exotic levels of skills "mind meld" attacks, chi channeling punches, and Dragon amped punches with the Ironfist technique. Sure basic compared to "that" but Cap himself re answered that question and told Danny he's as fine of a martial artists like Mantis but that's not good enough. Giving him a compliment to Mantis level skill(Cap worked with her in the Avengers) is a compliment to Danny for sure. But in Steve's mind that level of skill isn't enough to over take him.

Although I do agree Danny is more skilled then Cap.

Didn't mantis one shot cap in avengers #114? All though yea Danny having his skill compared to mantis is impressive.

I actually never heard of Mantis 0_0

Mantis has battle telepathy and who has trained for 1000 years in a bunch of martial arts. She has low level superhuman stats as well. In the same issue she took down cap she also one shotted thor with a pressure point. She does have some other abilities like pyrokinesis and a few other things I believe all though she mostly uses martial arts.

Classic Mantis was not superhuman stats though. She was normal human peak stats. It was her alien training from (which Moondragon got hers from the opposite camp) that made her martial arts very impressive. In fact Moondragon defeated Mantis in a martial arts fight.

You might be confusing Mantis with "Gamora" who also has incredible alien martial art skills and has true superhuman stats and regenerative healing.

Edited by jashro44
Online
Edited by krauser99

Both Moondragon and Mantis are pretty skilled. Come to think of it Moondragon also defeated Captain America in a hand to hand fight. But like the Mantis fight there were circumstances as the SSS at the time was hurting and degenerating as she defeated Cap.(it was even mentioned in the narration itself about it.)

Come to think of it volume one Cap was very difficult to defeat Cap in a actual straight up legit loss. They would happen but it was rare back in volume one.

Later on both Moondragon and Mantis started developing better there actual powers though. Moondragon with telepathy/physic abilites and mind energy blasts and Mantis with her cosmic plant powers.

But for sure these three woman in Gamora, Mantis, and Moondragon are up there.

Posted by Teerack

@slimj87d: You made that all up... He's still rich and doesn't have any emotional issue.

Edited by SlimJ87D

@teerack: BS, in one issue he donated almost all his money to charity, misty had a miscarriage and they broke up. There's an issue where he tells Luke about all this and that is when he semi parted ways, this happened right before marvel now if I can and remember correctly

Go read the solicitation for his new ongoing if you don't believe me. And lastly, try not to call someone out when you don't know what you're talking about.

Posted by SlimJ87D

@teerack: it's not the first time he's expressed his problems either.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_JTIzq6dRSb8/TLv0OwC7u1I/AAAAAAAAAwk/nElMfrvGA64/s1600/ironfistvs.jpg

Posted by Teerack

@slimj87d: That's really old. Based on his relationship with Misty in Defenders I would say he's been in a good place for a while.

Edited by SlimJ87D

@teerack: believe what you want, I gave a more plausible reason why Iron Fist is a part time avenger, it's because he's expressed twice that he's got there back but he has things he needs to figure out.

If Cap didn't choose him to be part of his starting team it would have to be because he's had commitment issues to them twice.

Either way it wasn't just made up out of fat air without reasoning.

Posted by tg1982

This fight really was a good fight. One of these days I'll have to read the comic. I like Iron Fist and am a huge Cap fan, so this is right up my alley.