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!