On August 18th, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist are playing defense for New York City. That’s right, in a just few short weeks, all 8 episodes of Marvel’s The Defenders comes to Netflix to bring the pain to The Hand (and possibly some other baddies as well). Each of these vigilantes had their series on the subscription service. It’s time for them to team up. But there’s still a little wait time until they do. So why not get ready by learning more about your favourite street-level heroes’ comic book origins? I’ll be giving you some insight on their first meet ups and team ups, their enemies and even their current comic! Come with me and find out more about New York’s last defense.
Just like in the Netflix shows, these four heroes all started out as solo acts. But unlike the upcoming Defenders series, these four didn’t all meet up for one big event. They each met through chance encounters that are all pretty amazing in their own right. Let’s take a look back at some of these amazing first meetings.
Luke Cage meets Iron Fist
(Power Man #48 – Written by Chris Claremont / Art by John Byrne)
This is probably one of the best first encounters between two Marvel heroes EVER! We’ll just go through a brief retelling here.
The first time these Power Man met Iron Fist was no chance encounter. Cage actually broke into Danny Rand’s townhouse apartment to get his hands on one Misty Knight. In the comics, Misty Knight and Iron Fist were an item at the time, so it makes sense that Luke would come looking for her here. At first, his intentions are unclear. All the reader knows is that Cage is trying to kidnap Misty Knight. But Misty and Danny are not home. Instead, Power Man finds Colleen Wing instead. So he chases Colleen Wing throughout the apartment until Misty and Iron Fist are able to make it back. Misty, being nobody’s damsel in distress, decides to go in first and face off all 300 plus pounds of unbreakable skin waiting for her. It does not go well for her and Iron Fist has to step in.
This is where the two have a fantastic bout beautifully rendered by John Byrne.
Strangely, the fight ends abruptly when Cage finally stops attacking them and instead explains the situation. His girlfriend, Claire Temple (played by the masterful Rosario Dawson in ALL the Marvel Netflix shows), has been kidnapped by the Bushmaster….the same criminal that Misty Knight went undercover to get close to. Bushmaster wants revenge on Misty and was using Luke to get to her. After a reveal like that, it’s obvious that Iron Fist and Misty help Luke get his girl back and beat the Bushmaster.
What makes this first meeting stand out is that it wasn’t based on your usual misunderstanding. The standard plot device used for heroes fighting during that era was for each of them to mistake the other for a villain. They’d pound on each other until a common enemy would reveal themselves. Other times, one of the heroes is brainwashed. In this case, we’re not too far from the latter, but the fact that Cage is cognizant of his actions gives a slight spin to an old favourite. This is also such a dynamic duo, it’s cool that their first encounter saw them throw each other through buildings.
Daredevil meets Power Man and Iron Fist
(Daredevil #178 – Written and Drawn by Frank Miller)
This has to be the funniest comic that Frank Miller has ever written. Miller is not known for comedy and that’s why this issue really stands out. Maybe an editor told him he needed to have a guest star that month. I don’t know. All that certain is that this is a memorable first meeting to say the least.
During a case involving a crooked politician, Foggy Nelson fears for Matt Murdock’s safety. So he decides to hire bodyguards to keep Matt safe. Because this is the Marvel universe, Foggy doesn’t go to a security firm. Instead, he takes a trip over to the offices of Heroes for Hire, a.k.a. Power Man and Iron Fist. Luke and Danny had been a duo for a few years by this point and had made a name for themselves as heroes for the common man (who come sometimes at a price). At first, Luke isn’t interested in taking the job but Danny convinces him it’s in their best interest.
Power Man and Iron Fist don’t end up being the best of bodyguards as they keep barging in just when Matt is about to find out important information to solve the case. They also get in the way of Matt’s opportunities to slip into his Daredevil costume. So Matt ends up using some trickery to get away from the dynamic duo and the pair spend the rest of the issue trying to find him to no avail. Even with Matt giving him the slip, they still manage to get in his way for the duration of the tale and it comes to a point where Daredevil must face off with Iron Fist just to get to the bottom of things.
In the end, the truth behind the crooked politician is proven and Daredevil tells Luke and Fist that Matt Murdock had hired him to kidnap him just to get away from his own bodyguards. It’s a ridiculous story that makes the Heroes for Hire look like a couple of goofballs but it’s also a lot of fun. The artwork is stunning, the fight between Fist and DD is pretty cool, and the pizza scene with Foggy alone is worth the price of admission.
Daredevil teamed up with the H4H multiple times after this in much less comical circumstances. These stories were written by creators who obviously did not feel the same way about the pair as Frank Miller did.
Jessica Jones meets Matt Murdock
(Alias #3 – Written by Brian Michael Bendis / Art by Michael Gaydos)
Leave it to Bendis to weave the superheroes of the Marvel Universe together…..even the new ones. When Alias hit the stands in 2002, it was as the flagship series for MAX, Marvel’s “Adults Only” imprint. Jessica Jones, a former hero now working as a private detective in New York would end up sharing scenes with the likes of Luke Cage, Captain America, Captain Marvel and even Ant-Man all withing the first year of her comic series. But the standout first encounter would have to be with Attorney Matt Murdock. Some of you may know him better for his night job as Daredevil.
When Jessica is held by an overzealous cop for question regarding the death of a woman that Jessica was tailing, Matt Murdock steps in to get her out of there.
Once outside, Matt explains that he was hired by Luke Cage and that the cop had nothing on Jessica to make a case against her. When she fully realizes who Matt is (New York’s most famous attorney), she figures she can’t afford him. Matt then tells her that Luke had already taken care of it and that they go “way back.” (Quite the change from the days of DD seeing Luke and Iron Fist as dummies.) What makes this first encounter really stand out is the fact that it wasn’t how heroes usually meet. There was no misunderstanding or trading of blows. It was two people meeting in the real world with no costumes or villains. Probably the most “real world” meeting of characters to ever transpire in a Marvel comic.
This first meeting also stands out as it’s probably the only one that we’ll see in The Defenders Netflix series. The first trailer showed a scene that was quite similar in tone and execution. The only thing different is that the cop is now Misty Knight.
Looking forward to seeing how this scene plays out on the small screen.
That brings us to the end of this first installment. If you get the chance, go check em out for yourself. Be sure to check back here next week for more insight into the comic book counter parts of The Defenders, as we take a closer look at the villains for the series, The Hand.
Marvel’s the Defenders debuts on Netflix on August 18th.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!