Danny Rand, the Immortal Iron Fist, used to not be so immortal. At the end of his co-headlined series with Luke Cage, this gold fisted Kung Fu legend met his end. At the time in 1986, this was a big deal being that deaths and resurrections were not as common as they are today. Until he was brought back in 1992 it was assumed that he would stay dead; but like all great characters he didn’t.
The death of Danny Rand was Power Man and Iron Fist #125 which was also that series’ final issue. It was revealed that Bobby Wright (aka Captain Hero) had cancer from radioactive space spores. Many of the super scientists from the 616 gathered to help find a cure for him. Danny, being a generally cool guy, sat by Bobby’s side in the hospital and used his own chi to help stabilize Bobby until the eggheads could find a cure (not Egghead, just generic eggheads). Using his chi to help out Bobby has worn out Danny, so much so that he passes out in a chair next to Bobby’s bedside. This is where things get really messed up. Bobby wakes up and tries to get Danny’s attention, but Danny is out cold from helping Bobby stabilize. Bobby then turns into his Captain Hero persona and tries to wake up Danny a different way – this may be one of the most horrific death scenes in Marvel comics. Basically, a passed out Iron Fist gets beat to death by Captain Hero because he’s too exhausted to wake up. Captain Hero punches him through a wall attempting to get him to wake up. He realizes what he did (way, WAY too late) and Luke Cage walks in as Bobby disappears. Luke is charged with Iron Fist’s death and goes on the run as a fugitive.
Iron Fist was dead, and they had a funeral and all and other people die too. It is a seriously depressing final issue.
Six years later and two years into Namor’s 90’s series (which is very underrated and I highly recommend), Iron Fist comes back, and it turns out he was never dead. Danny, prior to being apparently beaten to death by Bobby Wright, had also contracted cancer from radiation and had gone back to K’un-Lun and was kidnapped by the H’ylthri who switched out his body with a plant clone which was the one killed by Bobby. A Super Skrull then took Danny’s place who used the Rand Corporation to try and take over Namor’s company (yes, Namor was an environmental warrior and a capitalist in the 90’s series). Namor and Misty Knight confronted the Danny Rand imposter who revealed himself and they went on a mission to free the real Danny Rand.
Apparently that is how the Immortal Iron Fist apparently stays immortal. Plant clones and Super Skrulls are the path to living forever, kids.