Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Character Primer – The Immortal Iron Fist

The Immortal Iron Fist!

When I first heard that Iron Fist was making a playable appearance in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 I was really excited.  I still am, though I wasn’t a fan of Danny in any big way until recently when Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker knocked it out of the park with their Immortal Iron Fist series.

They made Danny Rand relevant (again?), no small feat after languishing in relative obscurity for nigh 30 years.  Fun, fresh, wonderfully vibrant and human, The Immortal Iron Fist captured whatever it is that makes comics great and put it on the page for everyone to see.

That’s all well and good but I have a strong feeling that quite a few members of the community were and still are thinking, “Why Iron Fist?”  Why not Gambit or Venom or any one of the other characters that they voted on.  But I think that’s exactly the question: Why not?  Some people might cry and moan but the fact remains that the green and yellow-gilded kung fu master made the cut.  I’m here to explain why that’s so awesome.

I wish I had gotten this out a little sooner, before Maximilian’s Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3: MARVEL CHARACTERS BREAKDOWN, and if you’ve already seen it I’ve got a lot more info for you so keep reading.  Quickly, Iron Fist is the title held by corporate mogul playboy Danny Rand.  He’s the champion of K’un-Lun, a mystical city that appears in our dimension once every 10 years, and even then in the unreachable K’un-Lun Mountains in China.

Danny grew up there, orphaned when his parents died searching for the city in the snow.  He trained with Lei-Kung the Thunderer, the king of kung fu at K’un-Lun, won a tournament and was given the honor of facing Shou-Lao the Undying, a terrible dragon whose chi gives the Iron Fists their powers.  Against all odds Danny defeated Shou-Lao and plunged his fists into the monster’s molten heart, granting him access to the dragon’s nearly limitless chi and transformed his fists into things unto iron.

Danny vs. Shou-Lao the Undying!

Currently he’s teamed up with the other Immortal Weapons: Fat Cobra, Dog Brother #1, the Bride of 9 Spiders, the Prince of Orphans, and Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter and they’re out in the world doing kung fu and kicking tons of ass.  And there you have it, an oh so brief synopsis of the life and times of Danny Rand.  But that’s not really what you came here for was it?  You want to know what he can do, what powers he has, and how he might play in UMvC3, right?  Luckily for you that’s what I’m here to talk about.

First let’s tackle what Danny can do and what his powers are, super or not.  At the most basic level Danny is a master of kung fu and multiple other martial arts and is probably one of the top 5 best martial artists on the planet.  He’s got the strength, speed, reflexes, and agility of a human in peak physical condition. Think olympic athlete, but when you factor in the ancient burning chi of Shou-Lao the Undying, that’s when things start to get a little crazy.

In the earliest comics Danny Rand had just what his moniker suggests: iron fists.  He could punch through solid brick and steel, block bullets, and hit bad guys really really hard.  But in the most recent Iron Fist comics Danny and his predecessors have utilized Shou-Lao’s chi in some incredibly amazing ways.  Wu Ao-Shi, an Iron Fist known as the Pirate Queen of Pinghai Bay, infused her arrows with the dragon’s power, transforming them into burning bolts of death that seemed to rain from the heavens.  Bei Bang-Wen, an Iron Fist during the Opium Wars, could tap into Shou-Lao’s chi and use it to enhance his cerebral abilities and see possibilities and strategies no one else could.  Iron Fists are nothing if not inventive.  Hint hint Capcom!

Danny once formed a massive chi dragon that flew from his fist (think Talbain from Darkstalkers) and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw something like it in UMvC3 as a tribute to the werewolf.  Shou-Lao’s chi makes him more durable, stronger, faster, and grants him access to certain, less aggressive abilities.  He can heal himself, hypnotize his enemies, catch bullets out of thin air, smash into trains loaded with explosives AND survive (not exactly less aggressive…), and lots more.  Basically he becomes more than human while channeling the dragon.

Form of: Chi Dragon!

In short, Danny’s a physical powerhouse who can dish out a ton of damage.  Unfortunately, he’s still baseline human and he still bleeds profusely if he’s shot or stabbed or beaten on by supers and he can’t harness Shou-Lao’s power to infinitum.   Don’t get me wrong, all those years of training and the dragon’s chi help him stand up to most meta human threats and legions of Hydra agents but if his chi is drained he gets smacked down just like any normal guy and his healing powers pale in comparison to Wolverine’s.  I imagine him being a little like Akuma in UMvC3: powerful but sporting a glass jaw.  I hope that’s not the case but…

And don’t expect too many projectiles. I know I was talking about that chi dragon but that’s just wishful thinking.  Iron Fist does most of his fighting with what you’d expect: his fists.  Unlike Maximilian I don’t think he’ll be slow.  He’s a small dude and he relies a lot on his speed while dealing with bigger threats so I expect him to be a bit faster than say… Spencer, maybe on par with Akuma, nowhere near Jill.

One thing that Max mentioned that’s definitely worth thinking about is that Iron Fist is a tabula rasa.  He’s a clean slate because he’s never been translated into a fighting game before.  If there’s something that I hope Capcom does take into consideration when they’re designing Danny’s move set it’s the almost campy way the names of his and the other Immortal Weapon’s attacks appear on the page.  Here’s a quick example:

Burning Chi Thunderfoot!
Davos definitely needs to teach Danny the "Bastard's Black Heartcrusher" before UMvC3 comes out!

See what I mean?  I would love to see kanji or symbols appear when he did certain specials/hypers just like She-Hulk has onomatopoeia WHAAAMs showing up when she drop kicks somebody.

In conclusion, Iron Fist is an awesome addition to the ranks of the MvC series.  He’s got a lot of fun history, a great look, very cool powers, especially when he’s channeling the chi of the dragon, and lots of room to grow into his own unique character if Capcom’s willing to put in the time and effort.  Get pumped for the Immortal Iron Fist!


39 thoughts on “Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Character Primer – The Immortal Iron Fist”

  1. Awesome writeup! I tend to agree with you that Mr. Rand will likely be Akuma-ish, though I’d love if Maximilian was right and he turned into a “heavy martial artist” (I’m thinkin’ Jin Saotome).

    1. I was thinking maybe one of his hypers would be like Ryo Sakazaki’s one-hit stun punch, just with an awesome dragon coming out of it. Wait… isn’t Ryo known as the Invincible Dragon? What a coincidence!

  2. Just for the record, Danny’s generally regarded as the second best martial artist in the Marvel U, second only to Shang Chi.

  3. Dude, as always awesome insight 🙂 I actually missed this ones once MVC3 came out. I was reading a couple of comments here and there and the possibility of Iron Fist having combined fight styles from Jin Saotome and John Talbain (as you pointed out) makes sense.

    Look at Ghost Rider: he is basically Omega Red + Dhalsim

    again excellent write-up dude. congrats.

  4. Good write up! If you have the time, please do one on Dr. Strange as well because I know about as little about him as I do about the others.
    Also, is it true that Rocket Raccoon actually does the Hyper Viper Beam at one point? I couldn’t find an image of it for the life of me.

  5. It would be interesting if he used his Chi to change his own status. Power up or Speed up or change the properties of some of his specials or normals. Maybe a heal over time timed super. So many possibilities. I’m hoping for a spencer-esque wallbounce punch. I kind of see him being a little quicker than Taskmaster with combos like Akuma. Hyped for Marvel’s Ryu!

    1. Oh and awesome write-up man, I knew about him from cameos but never knew his history. I’ll check into those comics if they’re as good as you say.

  6. Great job on the article. It should be mentioned too that he’s an Avenger (and his new mystical costume is totally cool, great for an alt colour) alongside Spiderman, Luke Cage, Ms Marvel, Wolverine and Dr Strange.

    In the Marvel U’s martial arts hierarchy he is up there with Shang Chi, but also do not forget Daredevil, who has teamed up with Iron Fist many times before and its arguable about who would win in a fight. Based on recent appearances, when Danny stood in for Daredevil, that DD himself would probably pip him.

    But yeah, an amazingly skilled and interesting character – who would have thought – a MARTIAL ARTS character as a choice to put in a FIGHTING GAME?

    Great choice Marvel!

    1. I actually can’t stand his mystical silver and yellow outfit. I want the Orson Randall costume with the gun holsters! Oh and you forgot Thing in the New Avengers, unless you’re taking into account Fear Itself then sir I salute you!

  7. Good article, but bad argumentation about veterans. You need to spell it out again and again for those who too smart to read interviews: Venom and Gambit NEVER WAS AN OPTION for MvC3. Capcom could pick only those, who was approved by Marvel, and this couple never was in the list in the first place. So if someone have questions about their exclusion, they need to ask Marvel about them – not Capcom. It’s kinda irritating when guys who knows nothing about trends in Marvel Multiverse states some crap about who is popular and who’s not basing on theirs outdated limited knowledge. It’s too depressing to see how people don’t want to try something refreshing just because old stuff was good…

    Sorry for all that ranting =] Again, article is superb. It’ll be awesome if someone will explain to MvC3 fans why Vergil is nothing like Dante and is very good addition to roster overall.

    Thanks for this post. Keep writing! =]

    1. About Gambit and Venom: Those were just two particular characters I knew were really wanted. I misspoke when I said that Capcom did them a great disservice so thanks for correcting me 🙂

      1. To be honest, you can’t blame them. Gambit and Venom, while not on the highest of tiers (although I’m advocate of tiers are for queers) were still pretty unique fighters with their fair share of cool moves and are still popular amongst Marvel fans. Thing is, I can kinda understand Marvel for not wanting those two in. Gambit really hasn’t done anything big like back in the 90s, he’s just….there. And Venom’s a lot more complicated. Eddie Brock gave up the Venom symbiote and eventually formed a new one called Anti-Venom while (after a period in which Mac Gargan took up Venom’s mantle and failed at it) Venom eventually ended up going to Flash Thompson. Marvel’s probably stuck trying to decide which of the two to pick and rather risk picking one over the other or pissing off fans that wanted Eddie Brock Venom from the 90s, they just probably thought it was too much of a hassle to try. Mind you, that’s all in theory. I have no clue what the real story is.

  8. Burning Chi Thunderfoot almost looks like Captain Commando’s flaming captain kick. I wouldn’t be surprised if it looked like it but executed quicker and quite possibly loop for a couple more times if combo’d with other additional moves…maybe?

  9. Great article,please do a Rocket Raccoon one hes ben getting alot of slak,but is a really awesome character.

  10. Awesome article man! I loved the Brubaker Iron Fist and i hope they add the Brooklyn head butt as a move.

    I also hope they have his white costume as an alt or Orson Randall’s costume.

    Then again, there are several Iron Fist costumes to choose from considering all the Iron Fist from the past we saw in the book.

    I hope you one of these articles on Nova and Rocket Raccoon.

  11. Thanks for these, can’t wait to read more. Here’s your Dr. Strange primer:

    “He’s a sorcerer. He can create all kinds of shit out of nothing and do just about anything.”

    There, I saved you all that work.

    1. Well technically he could talk more about the deities Strange’s magic is connected to and his moveset apparently draws reference from such as Vishanti or Agamotto.

  12. Great read
    And Immortal Iron Fist was awesome
    I was happy to see IF included as well (because Daredevil wasn’t), but when I saw Max’s guess that he’d be a slow powerhouse I was like “Eh?! Please no…”

  13. At first, I was kinda bummed about Iron Fist being on the new roster. I’ve always liked the character, but putting him into the Vs. series just seemed so… predictable. I’m slowly warming up to the idea, though I’d rather have some of his friends in the lineup instead (Misty, Luke, Colleen).

    I wonder how much the “Immortal” series will influence his depiction in the game. I’d be cool if they did the call-outs for his attacks (which, BTW, I think are very video game inspired to begin with). But I could also see Capcom avoiding that stuff and doing a more traditional version. Hell, they already gave him the slippers in the character art, so that’s one notch in the “classic” category instead of the modern one.

    As for alt costumes, I hope they give him a lavender Steel Serpent variant!!!! That’d be SWEET! I’m also in the camp of hating the new white/silver costume… but you know that one’s gonna be in there for sure. No doubt they’ll also use his red costume from the later issues of Power Man and Iron Fist. They’ll probably have an Orson Randall alt and a modern Iron Fist alt, too.

  14. Great article. I would actually love to see Daredevil’s costume as an alt. for Iron Fist since he posed as him the entire time Matt was in jail/ Civil War.

  15. I for one am excited for Danny to be in the game. I agree with this writer and disagree with Maximillian, Iron Fist is definitely not a slow character. He’s not as fast as Spider-Man, but he’s definitely one of the more agile characters in the Marvel universe.

    I think it would be cool if he played something like Dante in DMC4 with the Gilgamesh, where he would be able to charge his normal punches and if you hold it long enough, his fist glows and the resulting punch does loads of damage. Although I’m more inclined to believe his supers will be similar to stuff like Phoenix’s inferno.

  16. Capcom is full of it! They said the Black Panther would not be in the game because he’s too punchy and they didn’t want too many punchy characters in it. WTF do they think Iron Fist is going to be like?
    I like IF but this is just loads of crap from Capcom!

    1. You clearly didn’t read the article or you’d know Iron Fist is more than just a kung-fu artist.

      Granted I don’t think Capcom should’ve used Iron Fist, Ghost Rider OR Black Panther as examples for that, it sounded like they were just pulling random names from a hat, but I do get what Seth Killian was trying to get across.

      I can name one request I keep seeing pop up that everyone wants that fits much better as an example of what I assume Capcom was trying to say: Cyclops. I understand why he has fans, I understand why he’s such an icon to both the X-Men and the Marvel Universe as a whole. But the guy does not have much in the way of options for a moveset and his previous appearances show that. All Cyclops has are Optic Blasts, that’s it. All he really was in previous titles was a beam spammer and a shotoclone. I think we can live without a character like that. Even Capcom themselves seem to be aware of it: Ryu’s Shinku Hadoken can rebound off of walls and C. Viper has her own Optic Blasts now. What’s left for Cyclops to do to separate himself from the rest of the cast? What’s he going to contribute?

      1. My comment wasn’t for that article. And as far as I’m concern, Capcom has no say as to who gets put in the game from the Marvel side.

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