True to his name, Iron Fist has thrown some incredibly powerful punches in Marvel canon. While Marvel’s chi-fueled martial arts superhero can channel his energy into a surprisingly diverse range of powers, nothing is more iconic than his most basic ability. Through careful concentration, Iron Fist can channel chi from throughout his body into his hand, until it begins to smolder and glow, and become “like unto a thing of iron.”

Iron Fists can infuse energy into weapons and weave complex illusions, but it’s the dragon-powered punches that truly inspire fans. Daniel Rand, the most storied Iron Fist in Marvel’s history, is no exception. During his tenure as champion of the Heavenly City of K’un-Lun, Rand has called upon the heart of Shou-Lao – the dragon from which he draws his power – on countless occasions. While all of these super-powered strikes carry immense destructive potential, a few are more notable than the rest, serving as testaments to the true might of the Iron Fist.

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10 Beating the Challenge of the One

iron fist punches the one

One of Iron Fist’s most powerful punches was also among his first. In his debut appearance, 1972’s Marvel Premiere #15 from Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, Danny Rand has already claimed the heart of the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying and is undertaking the final trials to be proclaimed the Iron Fist. His last test is the Challenge of the One, against the towering Shu-Hu, aka “The One” who can defend against “anything human.” Danny charges his fist with chi for the very first time, and the decapitating blow that follows both fells the One and reveals its durability was owed to its android nature.

9 Taking Down Luke Cage

iron fist punches out luke cage

1974’s Power Man #48 by Chris Claremont and John Byrne marks the dawn of Luke Cage and Iron Fist’s famous heroic bromance. Their very first meeting, however, was anything but friendly. Extorted by Bushmaster, Cage was forced to attempt to kidnap Danny’s then-girlfriend, Misty Knight. The Iron Fist responded in kind, making Luke’s acquaintance with a chi-charged punch that sent Power Man rocketing across the block to the abject horror of Bushmaster’s henchmen, Shades and Comanche. Reason eventually won the day, and the following uneasy truce blossomed into arguably the strongest friendship in all of Marvel.

8 Iron-Fisting a Hulk

iron fist punches skaar

2013 saw Norman Osborn create his second iteration of the Dark Avengers, his own superteam whose members served as villainous reflections of their heroic counterparts. When the Dark Avengers came to blows with the New Avengers, Iron Fist was among the heroes trying to put an end to Osborn’s plans. While Iron Fist would deliver a bone-crushing blow to Ragnarok, and triumph over Gorgon’s “Dark Wolverine”, it was the Hulk’s son, Skaar, who received the worst of it. In New Avengers #20 by Brian Michael Bendis and Suart Immonen, Iron Fist struck Skaar, sending him careening across the battlefield and crushing the spider-god Ai Apaec along the way. Even budging a Hulk is a major feat, but sending one flying makes for a hall-of-fame punch.

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7 Killing & Replacing the Lord of Death

iron fist kills the devil

Kaare Andrew’s 2014 Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #8 sees the One – discarded in the Himalayas – merge with the frozen corpse of Danny Rand’s father, Wendell. Believing itself to be Wendell, the One becomes obsessed with resurrecting “his” dead wife, Heather Rand. Equipped with steampunk braces for his crushed hands, Iron Fist tries to beat the One to the punch by descending into Diyu, the Realm of the Dead. To reach his mother, Rand has to first defeat the reigning Lord of Death – the bear-headed deity, Yama. Yama proves a worthy foe, but is slain with a deadly punch after underestimating Iron Fist, who subsequently becomes Diyu’s new lord.

6 Downing a S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier

iron fist punches a helicarrier

2008 saw the dawn of Marvel’s Dark Reign, with Norman Osborn consolidating power in the Marvel Universe. Osborn assembled his own Dark Avengers team, acquired Tony Stark’s hoard of technology, and even commanded his own S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. In 2004’s New Avengers #59 by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen, Osborn captures and imprisons a grievously injured Luke Cage aboard his helicarrier. The New Avengers launch a daring rescue of Cage, and it falls to Iron Fist to facilitate their escape. With a single well-placed blow, the Helicarrier is sent crashing to the ground as the Avengers shepherd Luke to safety.

5 Besting the Ancient Dragon of K’un-Lun

iron fist punches a dragon

Claiming the mantle of Iron Fist required Danny Rand to first face the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying, but Shou-Lao isn’t the only dragon native to K’un-Lun. Deep in the mountains of China’s Yunnan Province, a temple containing the souls of a forgotten army known as the Loyal Ten Thousand was guarded by an even more ancient beast, introduced in Immortal Weapons #5 by David Lapham and Arturo Lozzi. Fellow Immortal Weapon, “The Prince of Orphans” John Aman, seeks Iron Fist’s help in defeating the dragon so he can aid the army in finally crossing over into death. This dragon is twice the size of the one Rand fought in order to become Iron Fist, but a well-placed punch sends the creature plummeting into the temple’s depths.

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4 Stopping a Nuclear Bomb-Laden Train

iron fist punches a train

In The Immortal Iron Fist #14 by Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, and Kano, the mysterious Mr. Xao is on the cusp of revenge against K’un-Lun. Xao loads a magnetic train with enough explosives to “make Hiroshima look like a sparkler” and fires it at the Heavenly City. In what Danny Rand expects to be a self-sacrifice, he hurls himself at the train, detonating it in midair with a chi-charged punch. Unluckily for Xao, K’un-Lun is spared, while Iron Fist survives the explosion.

3 Vaporizing the Soulslayer

iron fist armageddon

In a story by Chris Claremont and Rudy Nebres inside 1975’s Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #20, Iron Fist finds himself in K’un-Lun’s realm of Hell, Feng-Tu, masquerading as a demonic duplicate of New York City. While trapped there, Iron Fist attempts to protect a young woman who possesses the “Firebird,” a spirit containing the essence of all living things. Looking to reap this impossibly pure soul, Lady Death summons forth the Soulslayer, a demon of incomprehensible nightmare. Rand unleashes a cataclysmic strike on the beast, vaporizing the Soulslayer and reducing the faux-New York to ruins. As the dust settles, Iron Fist observes the destruction is comparable to an atomic bomb.

2 Punching a God

iron fist punches a god

In Kaare Andrews’ Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #11, the One succeeds in his ritual to resurrect Heather Rand. However, from the ceremony emerges not Danny’s mother, but the fire god Zhu Rong. This disrespect of the boundaries of the living and dead will not go unpunished by the vengeful god, who sets about immolating New York City. Iron Fist channels his consciousness into Rand Tower, turning it into a giant mech with which to fight Zhu Rong. However, Danny’s nemesis the Steel Serpent severs this connection, forcing him to take a more direct approach. Gifted the lingering chi amassed by his dying “father,” Iron Fist fires himself at Zhu Rong to deliver a punch strong enough to kill a god.

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1 Tearing a Hole in Reality

iron fist most powerful punch

Another time Iron Fist took on a god, the punch levied at “The Tempter” remains unsurpassed by Rand or anyone else to hold the mantle. In Immortal Iron Fists #5 by Kaare Andrews and Afu Chan, the demon god approaches Danny Rand’s adopted daughter and fellow Iron Fist, Pei, with a sadistic choice. The Tempter wields the Wheel of Dharma, a cosmic force that binds the universe together and controls all destiny. If Pei turns the wheel forward, Rand dies and the young warrior will be claimed by demonic forces. Backwards, and Rand lives, but the world is destroyed. Pei chooses a third option: granting her chi to Danny Rand. Iron Fist delivers a punch so powerful it not only kills the Tempter, but shatters the Wheel of Dharma, rending the very fabric of reality asunder. Thankfully, things are eventually put right.

Unlike other heroes, the Iron Fist isn’t just strong – his powers tap into the fundamental energy of the universe, allowing him to do battle with gods and even the powers of creation on an even playing field. Danny Rand may have passed the Iron Fist mantle onto Lin Lie in Marvel’s current canon, but his history is defined by the most heroic and powerful moments of the mantle’s history – moments fans are never likely to forget.

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