Iron Fist’s two most identifying features are his glowing, Chi-force fist and the slim-cut dragon taking flight on his chest. But the dragon symbol shares a very similar look with the symbol of Danny Rand’s enemy in Netflix’s new Iron Fist show. Here’s everything you need to know about the origin and meaning of the Iron Fist symbol in Marvel’s comics.
This post contains spoilers for Netflix’s Iron Fist.
Danny’s dramatic tattoo isn’t so much a tattoo as it is a brand in Marvel’s Iron Fist comics. The symbol of the Iron Fist — that fun dragon tattoo — is the result of a hard-won battle with a mystical fire-breathing serpent living outside the city of K’un-Lun: Shou-Lao the Undying.
See, the Iron Fist isn’t so much the name of a superhero as it is a title to be achieved by warriors. There’s more than one Iron Fist in the world because more than one person has had the power bestowed upon them by defeating Shou-Lao.
At 19 years old, Danny got the opportunity to fight Shou-Lao. In the cave outside K’un-Lun where Shou-Lao resides, the dragon jealously guards his heart, which was once removed and placed inside an amulet of sorts. Upon defeating Shou-Lao, Danny was branded with the dragon symbol and plunged his hand into the amulet holding the dragon’s heart. He was imbued with the power of the Iron Fist, absorbing some of Shou-Lao’s power.
But, don’t worry, Shou-Lao came back to life, as he always does.
So, despite Danny Rand’s nips and smooth chest in Netflix’s Iron Fist, he actually put up with a lot pain to get that dragon brand, and it wasn’t because he went under the needle at a tattoo parlor in Brooklyn.
As for the similarity between Danny’s brand and the symbol being seen on all of the Hand’s drugs? That’s probably a not-so-subtle hint at the Steel Serpent, who’s named Davos and is a long-time adversary of Danny’s in the comics. Davos — the son of King Lei Kung, the Thunderer of K’un-Lun — once tried defeating Shou-Lao the Undying to gain the power of the Iron Fist but failed. He’s painfully jealous of Danny’s powers throughout the comics and is constantly trying to one-up Danny or steal his Iron Fist abilities altogether.
Davos being connected with the Hand can only lead to misfortune for Danny and the rest of the Defenders team once they all come together.
Iron Fist is available to stream now on Netflix.