Marvel Premiere 17 and 18 (1974)
As of the second issue we know that Danny Rand has just left K’un-Lun, a mystical city that only appears on Earth every 10 years. He spent the last 10 years training in various martial arts forms and fought a dragon to gain the power of the Iron Fist. He left behind immortality and a life in K’un-Lun so he could seek vengeance on Harold Meachum; the man who killed his father and left him and his mother to die. Issues 17 and 18 will follow Danny on his path to vengeance.
It’s also important to point out that the creative team has changed again in these issues. We started with Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, then went to Len Wein and Larry Hama, and now we are at Doug Moench and Larry Hama. This team only lasts three issues before we get another change. It’ll change another time before we finally get to Iron Fist’s self titled book. I’ve done a poor job listing all the credits so far, so I will include them at the bottom of this installment and edit them into the first two.
Issue 17 begins with Iron Fist, in full costume, walking into the Meachum Industries building. He gets a lot of stares as he goes through the lobby. He quickly finds an elevator and goes to the top floor. As he enters the lobby spikes pop out from the walls and come rushing for him. He smashes the spikes away and leaps to safety, except pylon mounted machine guns emerge from the floor. He quickly takes care of the guns and heads for Harold Meachum’s office. When he opens the door all he finds are stairs leading up. That door is trapped with “recessed nozzles” that “spurt coruscating ribbons of destructive energy”. Iron Fist smashes through the controls on the side of the door and heads up the stairs. Halfway up the stairs they explode, because of course they do.
The stairs lead to another hallway. At the end of this hall Iron Fist sees three guys in suits just hanging out. Iron Fist tries to play cool and is going to walk past them when they pull revolvers and start shooting. Iron Fist makes quick work of them and continues on only to find himself locked in a room that starts spraying acid on him. He goes to the far door expecting a trap and isn’t disappointed when he finds that it opens to open air, if he had run through the door we would have plummeted to his death on the streets below. He climbs up the building and smashes a window on the next level. Here he climbs into what appears to be a living room. At this point there is a ninja hiding behind the table. This is super important for next issue.
Anyway the living room floor tries to dump him into a pit. Iron Fist manages to catch the edge and pull himself up when a door opens and a starving wolf attacks him. He beats the wolf and heads into the elevator. The elevator tries to gas him, but he punches through the top of it. He climbs the elevator in time to see another elevator rapidly descending and threatening to crush him. He jumps from that into a hallway where the janitor ends up being a katana wielding warrior. Now he’s at a door with Meachum’s name on it and a large camera above it. The camera turns out to be a laser and is about to hit Iron Fist when the ninja from before hits it with a throwing star. The ninja disappears before Iron Fist can say anything because that’s what ninjas do. Iron Fist goes into the next room where Triple –Iron is waiting for him.
Issue 18 gives us a better look at Triple-Iron. He’s a giant of a man wearing a mechanical suit, standing in a mechanical room, and uses a three sectional staff. The room powers Triple-Iron’s suit but also traps him there, he explains his only way to escape is kill Iron Fist. As they fight the ninja shows up again and this time uses a throwing star to point out a hidden door. Iron Fist uses the door and moves into the room that powers the mechanical one. Using some severed power cables Iron Fist short circuit’s Triple-Iron and leaves him unconscious.
Finally Danny enters the office of Harold Meachum and finds a man in a wheel chair with no legs. Meachum goes on to explain that he loved Danny’s mother. But when she rejected him he began his trek home. He was caught in an avalanche and rescued by some local villagers, but he lost both of his legs to exposure. While recovering a wandering monk told the story of how he visited K’un-Lun. The monk told the story of the young boy who seemed driven in his training, who the others thought would one day become Iron Fist. Meachum knew Danny was doing this so he could exact revenge. Over the next 10 years he went crazy preparing for the day that Iron Fist would come for him. He asks Iron Fist to kill him. Instead Danny sees how crazy Meachum has become begins to leave. Meachum gets a revolver from his desk. That’s when the ninja appears again. He hits Meachum with a throwing star, throwing off his aim off which causes the bullet to graze Danny and knock him out. The ninja then stabs Meachum through the heart.
Danny wakes up and finds Meachum’s body just as his daughter runs in. She knew her father had become increasingly afraid someone was going to kill him and blames Iron Fist for his death. He of course claims his innocence but the ninja is nowhere to be found. As the issue wraps up Iron Fist walks out of the office with Joy Meachum screaming that she will have her vengeance on him.
Credits: Writer Doug Moench, Penciler Larry Hama, Inker Dick Giordano, Colorist Petra Goldberg, Letterers Artie Simek.