Marvel’s Iron Fist on arrived on Netflix on Friday and brought with it a surprising villain for its second half. The character is considered the arch-nemesis, a dark mirror image, of the Iron Fist himself. Let’s dive further into his Marvel Comics history.
Davos, the Steel Serpent was created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne and made his first appearance in Iron Fist #1. Davos is the son of Lei Kung the Thunderer and a gifted martial artist. Davos had a chance to become K’un Lun’s new Iron Fist but failed to defeat Shau-Lao the Undying. The battle left him with a scar on his face and an incomplete dragon tattoo resembling a serpent on his chest. Davos felt disgraced and became jealous when Danny Rand succeeded in becoming the iron Fist. Davos tried to have Danny killed but failed and was exiled to Earth for his crime.
When Danny Rand eventually returned to New York City, Davos stalked him and, when he saw his chance, attacked Danny. He managed to defeat Danny and absorb the power of the Iron Fist. However, Davos was not skilled or disciplined enough to control the power of the Iron Fist, and so it burned him up and the power returned to Danny Rand.
Davos’ soul went to a spiritual realm only accessible by a K’un Lun artifact called the Anomaly Gem. This realm is where the souls of all the previous Iron Fists reside, and so Davos honed his martial arts skills through their teachings. Eventually, this realm was visited by one of the powerful Elders of the Universe called the Contemplator. Davos was able to convince the Contemplator to trick Danny Rand into finding the pieces of the Anomaly Gem and assembling them so that Davos could escape back into the mortal realm.
Upon his escape, Davos stole the power of the Iron Fist again and was able to control it. Davos used the power to overthrow Yu-Ti and take control of K’un Lun. Danny Rand allied himself with Lei Kung to fight back and, by drawing on the power of his friends and allies, he was able to defeat Davos and restore Yu-Ti to the throne.
Later, Davos’s power was drained from him, and it was because of this that he became entangled in a web of intrigue that spanned the seven capital cities of heaven, of which K’un Lun is only one. Years earlier, the then Iron Fist, Orson Randall, refused to participate in the Tournament of Heavenly Cities, a martial arts tournament between the Immortal weapons, the champions of each Heavenly City, to determine the order of the cities in the heavenly timeline.
The other six heavenly cities decided that Randall should be punished for his insolence, and so they sent their champions after him. During the battle, Randall killed the Immortal Weapon of Ku’n Zi. Crane Mother, the ruler of Ku’n Zi, held a personal grudge against Randall since then, but Randall went into hiding.
Since Crane Mother was unable to give birth to another champion for centuries, she restored Davos’ power to him and enhanced it with the power of her crane daughters. In return, Davos agreed to hunt down and kill Orson Randall.
In order to accomplish his task, Davos allied himself with Hydra. Together they drove Orson Randall out of Hydra, but he sought the aid of Danny Rand. Davos does kill Randall, but that allows Randall to pass his chi onto Danny, allowing Danny to wield the full power of the Iron Fist for the first time and defeat Davos.
At the Tournament of Heavenly Cities, Davos was introduced as Steel Phoenix, the champion of Ku’n Zi. In one contest, Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter severed Davos’ hand. Davos responded by forming a hand of chi to pummel Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter, even refusing to let her yield. Later, the Prince of Orphans challenged Davos. During the fight, Prince of Orphans became a mist of pure chi and easily took down Davos, warning him that his brutal behavior would not be permitted in future matches.
The Tournament of Heavenly Cities is interrupted when terrorists attack K’un Lun. The other Immortal Weapons agree to aid Iron Fist and Prince of Orphans in defending K’un Lun, but Davos refuses. He dueled his father and was defeated, but Lei Kung again offered a chance to aid in the battle and gain redemption. Davos again refuses, but later joins the fray to aid his father.
Following the battle, Davos was powerless again and offered himself up to Lei Kung’s judgment. Rather than punish Davos, Lei Kung allowed Davos to stay and to guard the egg of Shau-Lao the Undying so that the dragon could be reborn and empower the next Iron Fist. Davos seemed to be on a path to redemption. However, Davos later allied himself with the One, who razed K’un Lun and murdered Lei Kung.
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