K'un-Lun is a city that features in Marvel Comics.
It was described as being a mythical dwelling of the immortals in Chinese legends which was accessible by the K'un-Lun Mountains. In old legend, the mountain was situated at the Earth's center though in actuality it was located in Asia. (Marvel Premiere v1 #15) A million years ago, one of their number named Fan Fei was tried for teaching primitive humans martial arts and she was banished after she slew the city's dragon protector Shou-Lao the Undying thus inheriting his curse by becoming the first wielder of the Iron Fist. (Avengers v8 #13) Ten thousand years ago, it was home to a native race of humanoid plant-based organisms known as the H'ylthri. (Iron Fist v1 #2) The mountain appeared in the world of men for only one day out of every ten days. (Marvel Premiere v1 #16) It was held as being one of the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven. (Immortal Iron Fist v1 #5) At some point, the sorcerer Master Khan who was native to K'un-Lun came to power and was worshipped as a god. (Power Man and Iron Fist v1 #75) Despite its existence, it was in fact only one of seven capital cities of heaven each appearing on the mortal plane according to timetables charted amongst the stars. Once every 88 years, a heavenly convergence occurred whereby an alignment came to pass that led to a mighty tournament between the cities. A section of each city joined together to form the Heart of Heaven that served as a palace for the contests. Each city contained a powerful martial artist fighter with these forming the Immortal Weapons that participated in the tournament. Such battles decided the order of the heavenly cities in the celestial clockwork and failure meant that the defeated may not manifest again on Earth for centuries or decades as punishment. (Immortal Iron Fist v1 #8) Thousands of years ago, the Eighth City was constructed as a prison that housed the monsters, demons and criminals that had plagued K'un-Lun. The gateway to this city was only a single way with it being believed that none returned from the prison. However, it was noted that the system had been abused by the Yu-Ti who tended to banish their political enemies to the Eighth City. (Immortal Iron Fist v1 #22)
It had mirror city named S'ahra Sharn that came to be inhabited by thieves and cutthroats with former K'un-Lun inhabitant Quan-St'ar coming to rule it. This was said to be a dark mirror city of vile evil and darkness that was the opposite of K'un-Lun with some claiming it to be a living hell. (Master of Kung Fu Annual v1 #1)
Many centuries ago, the city was ravaged by the dragon Chiantang who was the brother of the Dragon King. Chiantang was in a rage after a mortal by the name of Shou-Lou had debased his brothers daughter. As a result, he attacked K'un-Lun killing 70,000 people until his rage had calmed down where he begged forgiveness from Master Khan. To sage his anger, Chiantang had borrowed a favour from a god and transformed Shou-Lou into an undying dragon that he chained outside of K'un-Lun and ripped out his heart to force the former mortal to guard it for eternity. (Power Man and Iron Fist v1 #118) Centuries ago, the Yu-Ti received a vision of the future that showed that Earth was to be visited by the Phoenix Force with it showing him that salvation lay with a red haired girl. He later found the girl who was named Fongji Wu that he had undergo the training to be the Iron Fist. The Yu-Ti also dispatched his followers to find Leonardo da Vinci to bring him to K'un-Lun to enlist his aid in saving the world from the coming Phoenix. Ultimately, Fongji completed the trial of the Iron Fist by defeating the dragon and confronted by the Phoenix where she became host to its power. She managed to temper it and departed the world thus saving it from its fire. (New Avengers v2 #27) A century ago, a number of K'un-Lun's people had left their city after they believed that the Yu-Ti had corrupted their beliefs. However, instead of opposing him, they decided to depart as they did not have the numbers to fight him. They made their way to the island of Liu-Shi that had been discovered by another of their people named the Divine Wolf who found it ten years prior. The group intended to settle on the island and make it into a new K'un-Lun where they lived in harmony. (Iron Fist v5 #4)
On the eve of K'un-Lun's return, Wendell Rand took his wife Heather Rand, his son Danny Rand and his business partner Harold Meachum went to see the mystical city. Whilst on the mountain, Meachum betrayed the Rands by knocking Wendell off the side of the cliff to his death as he intended to take full control of their company Rand-Meachum. Harold than left Heather and Danny Rand behind to die on the snowy mountains. The pair were than chased by a pack of wolves where Heather sacrificed her life so her son could live who ended up at the gates of K'un-Lun where he was taken in by its inhabitants. (Marvel Premiere v1 #15)
Around a decade ago, Fooh who was one of the Dragon Kings that worked for the family of the Yu-Ti Nu'an watched over the Challenge of the One as he was the creator of the robotic One. However, Fooh was then accused of consorting with forbidden technology and stripped of his position with it seemingly appearing that he was executed. (Iron Fist: The Living Weapon v1 #9)
After Daniel Rand killed Shou-Lao, Chiantang learnt that the one he had imprisoned had been killed and he grew angered at this news. Thus, to save face, he decided to raze K'un-Lun once more but whilst on his journey he was confronted by Master Khan who forbade the dragon. However, Chiantang decided to ignore the sorcerers warnings and for that Master Khan turned him human where he imprisoned the dragon at K'un-Lun. Master Khan gave orders for the guards to keep watch over the captive Chiantang and crafted them a water blade called Dragonslayer to be used to banish the dragon if he sought to free himself again. (Power Man and Iron Fist v1 #118) Afterwards, the people of Liu-Shi discovered that the Trial of the One at K'un-Lun involved a robot in disguise that was programmed by the Yu-Ti to choose its winner then even more inhabitants of the city left for Liu-Shi. The large influx of people caused seven factions to develop with their leaders becoming the Seven Masters who claimed that this was in honour to the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven. This group became determined with destroying the current holder of the Iron Fist and claim the title for Liu-Shi itself. (Iron Fist v5 #4)
Three years later, the Dragon King's daughter sought to free her uncle as she felt he was unjustly imprisoned and journeyed in the mystical guise of a male guard to free Chiantang. Upon arriving, she was given the Dragonslayer by the guard who was relieved of his duty and once he departed she freed her uncle. However, Chiantang could only see her magical disguise and in a rage he decided to take revenge by taking Dragonslayer where he beheaded what he believed was one of his captors. It was then that the body turned to that of his niece but Chiantang decided to blame the mortals of K'un-Lun and in anger he transformed into his dragon form now that he was freed where he shattered the city. (Power Man and Iron Fist v1 #118) At one point, Daniel Rand intended to bring the city to Earth's dimension permanently. He reasoned that such a move was beneficial for all as it would allow K'un-Lun a place to reside and that the city could serve as a modern era Camelot that would aid the people of the world by drawing inspiration from it though Rand later abandoned this plan. Junzo Muto sought a similar goal by having K'un-Lun materialise in Tokyo where he intended to have the Hand conquer it and use it as a platform to conquer the world. (Iron Fist & Wolverine: The Return of K’Un Lun v1 #1)
Due to the actions of the One, a gateway into the afterlife was opened causing the wrath of heaven with Zhon-Rong the God of Fire and Guardian of the Universal Order to manifest in New York who intended to punish both mortals and the immortals. (Iron Fist: The Living Weapon v1 #11)
Choshin led a faction from the island of Liu-Shi to return to K'un-Lun and conquer it to purge it with the intention of remaking it into their own vision of the city. (Iron Fist v1 #75)
The fabled city that dashed on the jagged rocks of the Himalaya mountains. (Marvel Premiere v1 #18) It only ever manifested on the earthly plane once every ten years. (Marvel Premiere v1 #15) The mystical city resided in another dimension where it only appeared on the earthly plane in the lands of Tibet. (Iron Fist & Wolverine: The Return of K’Un Lun v1 #1) It was said to be a city of harmony and light. (Master of Kung Fu Annual v1 #1) Time was said to move differently within the city with weeks or months passing during this shifting time in K'un-Lun. (Immortal Iron Fist v1 #8)
- Gate of Dreams : beyond which resided the endless snows in the mortal world at the top of the mountain that served as the gateway to this realm. (Marvel Premiere v1 #15)
- City of Dragons : (Power Man/Iron Fist v1 #119)
- Garden of the P'an-T'ao : the Garden of the Immortals was considered the heart and soul of K'un-Lun where behind its doors was a maze that was entered by climbing a cliff and passed the single entrance were forty skilled martial artists. (Marvel Premiere v1 #23)
- Hall of Ancestors :
- Tree of Immortality : a plant that contained fruits that provided a person with eternal life. (Marvel Premiere v1 #15)
- K'u-ch'u-ch'iao : the bridge of pain of the afterlife beneath which was the Rivers of Crimson. (Marvel Premiere v1 #15)
- Raksasa Ko Jela : the Prison of Demons that was a cave where people fought demons that took the form of their greatest fears in order to defeat them. (Power Man and Iron Fist v3 #7)
There were a number of ceremonial fountains within the city and according to their way the waters were not to be drunk by people. (Power Man and Iron Fist v1 #75)
Leadership was held by the hooded August Personage of Jade or the Yu-Ti and his four Dragon-Kings or Lung-Wang. (Marvel Premiere v1 #15) The city was protected by armies of masked warriors known as the Shaolin Terror Priests. (Immortal Iron Fist v1 #8)
An area connected to this land was Feng-Tu that was a mysterious and legendary land of the dead where beneath the K'u-ch'u-ch'iao (Bridge of Pain) flowed the How-Nai-Ho (River of the Damned) with anyone that fell into it being truly killed as they did not get reborn, reincarnated or anything else as they suffered complete non-existence. (Deadly Hands of Kung Fu v1 #23) As the land of the dead, it was separated from it by a dimensional barrier. (Iron Fist & Wolverine: The Return of K’Un Lun v1 #1) Those within this realm were similar to ghosts that had no sustenance here than they had among the living. It was said to be a spell-cursed land presided over by the Yama-Kings that were the Lords of the Dead. Originally, it was a peaceful land to serve as a haven for those immortals that were weary of the constant danger and struggles in K'un-Lun. It was a place where the tired and crippled spirits rested to rediscover the things that made life worth living in order to be reborn again. (Deadly Hands of Kung Fu v1 #21) Agents from Feng-Tu were referred to as the Kou-Hun-Shih-Che (Messengers Who Seize Souls) that were sent to gather souls destined for that realm. (Deadly Hands of Kung Fu v1 #19) The laws and customs of this reality had it that an accused was brought before the ruler of Feng-Tu. (Deadly Hands of Kung Fu v1 #23)
Inhabitants of this land were referred to as the Immortals of K'un-Lun. (Iron Fist v1 #2) Within K'un-Lun, ancient law made it absolute for women not to learn the forbidden martial arts. (Iron Fist v1 #2) It was held that the sins of the parent were passed on to their children. (Immortal Iron Fist v1 #9) Among the ultimate punishments for breaking this law was wiping the mind of the perpetrators. (Iron Fist v1 #2) Technology was another item that was forbidden in the lands of K'un-Lun. (Iron Fist: The Living Weapon v1 #5) For the Immortals that resided there, death was considered a confusing experience. (Iron Fist: The Living Weapon v1 #3)
Those that sought to become the Iron Fist faced the Challenge of the Many where they fought battled numerous fighters. This led to the final trial that was the Challenge of the One. It involved a one-on-one battle with skilled combatant and victory for the challenger allowed them to choose between immortality or death. This involved either taking on the fruits of the Tree of Immortality that gave immortality or drinking from the Elixir of Death. (Marvel Premiere v1 #15)
One of the gods revered by the people of K'un-Lun was Master Khan. Unknown to the people, the leaders of the city often gave sacrifices to Master Khan to gain his favour. (Power Man and Iron Fist v1 #75) Other figures included:
- Shirrair : a mysterious deity with her own symbol whose power was said to had been used to transform a wolf into the werewolf Fera. (Power Man and Iron Fist v1 #97)
In K'un-Lun, the people were taught that possessions took them away from the path of Nirvana. (Immortal Iron Fists v1 #3)
Relics of K'un-Lun included:
- Scrying Vessel of Bo-Ling : created in a small pond where the summoner cleared their mind whereupon a large drop of water floated in the air and formed a vision of the future. (New Avengers v2 #27)
Within the book, the history of the Iron Fists was written on its parchment that were crafted from the scales of Shou-Lao. The tome glowed when touched by a bearer of the Iron Fist as it drew its power from the same source. Its pages contained the complete history of their style of Kung-Fu and the knowledge of its former bearers. (Immortal Iron Fist v1 #5)
Among the holiest symbols in the lands of K'un-Lun was that of a Silver Dragon. (Deadly Hands of Kung Fu v1 #23)
- Fan Fei : female inhabitant who a million years ago secretly began teaching primitive humans martial arts despite this being a crime. She was tried for her actions where her students were to be sacrificed to the dragon protector Shou-Lou but Fei killed the creature thus inheriting its curse and becoming the first Iron Fist who was banished from the golden city. Fan Fei spent ten years among the mortals fighting numerous threats as she defended mankind with her refusing to return back to K'un-Lun as she joined the world's first superhero protectors. (Avengers v8 #13)
- Daniel Rand :
- Miranda Ran'd'kai : blonde haired woman that was the daughter of Wendell Rand and half-sister to Daniel Rand, Lady Miranda was trained in the martial arts by her lover Lord Conal despite it being forbidden to train women. (Iron Fist v1 #2)
- Master Khan :
- Tuan : the former Yu-Ti, Lord Tuan father of Nuan where thirty years ago they were attacked by the dragon Shou-Lao and nearly killed until a young explorer Wendell Rand saved them. (Power Man and Iron Fist v1 #75)
- Conal D'hu-tsien : a young noble, Lord Conal he fell in love with Miranda and taught her martial arts despite it being forbidden to train women. (Iron Fist v1 #2)
- Merrin :
- Shakari : a female native who was the finest flower from the city who was loved by Nuan with her tasked with tending to the young Wendell Rand after he saved the Yu-Ti. Wendell and Shakari were later wed where she gave him a daughter named Miranda Ran'd'kai though Shakari had hoped to had given Rand a son. After ten years when the city appeared on Earth, Wendell along with Shakari travelled briefly out when they were attacked by Hylthri where they killed her with the distraught Rand leaving K'un-Lun to return to Earth. (Power Man and Iron Fist v1 #75)
- Fongji Wu : a young red haired girl born centuries ago when her mother left the city and had a daughter with a person in the world before returning. This was a source of shame for her mother who returned to K'un-Lun with her daughter having features unlike any of the other people in the city. The Yu-Ti following a vision had the girl trained where she initially showed anger and did not speak but after her trials she became the Iron Fist. With the aid of the Yu-Ti and Leonardo da Vinci, she became the host of the Phoenix and departed Earth with her fate being unknown. (New Avengers v2 #27)
- Fooh : known as the Mountain Fist, this elderly male from K'un-Lun who lived in the background tending to the forbidden technology hidden underground and he was the creator of the One. (Iron Fist: The Living Weapon v1 #7)
- Pei : a female dark haired child native to K'un-Lun who served as a monk. (Iron Fist: The Living Weapon v1 #1)
- Quan-St'ar : a black male inhabitant from the city who was a magician able to breach the barrier between K'un-Lun and Earth within him being a favoured comrade of the Yu-Ti until he killed a dragon to save his life causing him to be banished to S'ahra Sharn. (Master of Kung Fu Annual v1 #1)
- The Resourceful Snake : a male warrior who went through the trial to become the Iron Fist where he defeated Shou-Lou but was himself defeated by Shu-Hu who ripped off his arms leading to him being banished where he become one of the champions of Liu-Shi. (Iron Fist v5 #3)
- Divine Wolf : a male warrior where he was one of the warriors to challenge the original Iron Fist Quan Yaozu as part of his trials and was defeated by him though later served as Shu-Hu as a test for other Iron Fist challengers. He later was tasked by the Yu-Ti to intentionally lose the fight against Orson Randall which he refused with him being replaced by a machine whilst the warrior joining the exodus to Liu-Shi where he served the House of the Wolf under the Seven Masters. (Iron Fist v5 #5)
- Zhang Di : a former Iron Fist who completed the rite to become the champion of K'un-Lun six hundred years ago only to die two weeks later during a battle against the H'ylthri with his burnt fist remaining behind as a mystical totem. (Iron Fist v1 #75)
- K'un-Lun was created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane where it made its first appearance in Marvel Premiere v1 #15 (May, 1974).
- In Master of Kung Fu v2 #1 (2015), a version of K'un-Lun survived on Battleworld where it was a realm of martial artists. Its ruling Baron was Emperor Zheng Zu who headed the Ten Rings School. Other martial artist clans included the Iron Fists, the Red Hand Clan, the Panther Clan, the House of the Jade Tiger, the Faces of the Moon, the School of the Spirit Knife and the Spider-Cult. Those that were incapable of being martial artists were deemed the lowest caste in their society and treated badly. The reign of its ruler was determined by participants in the Thirteen Chambers martial arts tournament that Shang-Chi participated so that he could end the tyrannical rule of his father Zheng Zu.
In other media
- In Ultimate Spider-Man, K'un-Lun was shown in a sequence in the episode "Strange" that showed some of Iron Fists backstory. It was shown in Iron Fists memories when Nightmare attempted to use his fears against him namely during the fight against Shou-Lao. In "Journey of the Iron Fist", it was revealed to be the heart of the mystical world with a young Daniel Rand journeying there to become the Iron Fist. He was then allowed to return to New York in order to say good bye as it was expected that he would return and be crowned king of K'un-Lun. It was shown that the inhabitants distrusted the outside world. Scorpion was an inhabitant of K'un-Lun and resented Iron Fist with him seeking to claim the crown for himself. In "Return to the Spider-Verse", it was said K'un-Lun rested on the border of reality which made it easy for dimensional tears to open there.
- In Avengers Assemble, K'un-Lun appeared in the animated television series fourth season Secret Wars where it appeared in the episode "The Immortal Weapon". The city and its inhabitants were taken by the Beyonder who placed it on his Battleworld where it served as one of its domains. Dracula came upon that realm where he was defeated and imprisoned beneath a temple with him sealed in place by Heimdall's sword. With the city's defenders gone, the sole surviving protector was the Iron Fist. Black Panther and Falcon were seeking Heimdall's sword to power the Bifrost Bridge they were building with this inadvertently freeing Dracula who had bonded with a Symbiote that made him immune to sunlight. He had learnt of other Symbiotes to the east which he intended to bond with his vampire army so that they could take over Battleworld. The heroes managed to defeat Dracula who had to flee with Iron Fist seeking to stop him.
- In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, K'un-Lun made multiple appearances in the shared continuity setting:
- In Iron Fist, K'un-Lun was referenced and seen in the live-action Netflix television series. It was said to be one of the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven that trained a line of warriors that became the Immortal Iron Fists who were sworn enemies of the Hand. Around 15 years ago, the Rand corporate jet crashed in the Himalayas where the boy Danny Rand was the only survivor with him being rescued by two monks from the Order of the Crane Mother where they took him to K'un-Lun. K'un-Lunans in combat could evoke a grand dual named the da jue zhan where two warriors fought one another in a challenge. At the centre square there was a katsura tree whose shade stretched on for miles.
- In The Defenders, K'un-Lun was referenced in the setting of the live-action television series. It was said that thousands of years that the city had taught methods of healing through the manipulation of chi. However, five disciples decided to corrupt these teachings as they sought out immortality leading to their banishment from K'un-Lun and forming a shadow organization called the Hand. Despite their exile, they managed to gather dragon bones and used the substance to live through the centuries as they plotted to return to the city. These five were Alexandra Reid, Madame Gao, Bakuto, Murakami and Sowande where they operated in the shadows for the centuries.
- In Luke Cage, K'un-Lun was referenced by Danny Rand in the setting of the live-action television series. The city had healers that defined the body in terms of balancing the three principles of function with these being Loong, mKhris-pa, and Bad-Kan. These were circulation, heat and cold with the last of these functions namely Bad-Kan encompassing the physical structure and a person's mental stability. Too much manipulation of this aspect could result in a person losing their mind. Whilst in K'un-Lun, Danny Rand would meet with Old Ming who ran the apothecary in the city where she had a leaf and remedy for any ailment.
- In Future Marvel Avengers, K'un-Lun appeared in the setting of the animated television series. It was said to be the world’s last and greatest hidden city that was not located on any map. The city was led by three Elders who were able to see visions of the future through their meditations. They witnessed a great evil that would engulf the world where Iron Fist contacted the Avengers who went to meet him in the city.
- In Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, K'un-Lun was referenced in dialogue in the fighting video game.
- In Marvel: Avengers Alliance, K'un-Lun appeared in the setting of the Facebook video game. In "Chapter 10 - Strength of Fear", it was described as existing in its own extradimensional space, and only manifested when a rift opened. Count Nefaria led the Maggia into forming an alliance with the Hand at Madripoor to use the country as a base for the conquest of K'un-Lun. This was cause Nefaria believed that the city was capable of surviving the destruction of the Incursions.
- In Marvel Heroes, K'un Lun was referenced in the setting of the MMORPG video game with two artifacts being the Mists of K'un Lun and the Talisman of K'un Lun.
- In Marvel: War of Heroes, K'un-Lun was referenced in the card game in the Iron Fist related cards.
- Marvel Premiere v1:
- Iron Fist:
- Immortal Iron Fist:
- Iron Fist:
- Avengers v8: