Netflix’s Iron Fist has been met with… variable reviews. I’m on episode seven and I’m certainly not in a rush to spend another five hours of my life finishing it (for the sake of my compulsion toward complete sets, I’ll do so at some point). Something folks have generally agreed upon, however, is that Jessica Henwick’s Colleen Wing is a definite bright spot in an otherwise uneven-at-best show.
Who was Colleen Wing in the Marvel universe prior to her current outing? I’m going to pretend you asked.
Real Name: It actually is Colleen Wing
Aliases: Carol Speed, Lady Samurai
Affiliations: Nail, Hand, Heroes for Hire, Daughters of the Dragon
Abilities: trained samurai, chi focus and “Zen trance” acquired from mind-melding with Danny Rand because, sure, why not? Also, managing to end up a blue-eyed redhead.
First Appearance: Marvel Premiere #19 (1974)
Creators: Doug Moench, Larry Hama, Neil Adams
The daughter of Lee Wing and Azumi Ozawa, Colleen was born in New York but raised by her grandfather, Kenji Ozawa, on Honshu. Trained as a samurai, she returned to New York after Ozawa was murdered. There, she almost immediately ended up in the middle of a gunfight and would have had a very short residence indeed had it not been for the timely intervention of her soon-to-be best friend, Misty Knight.
Colleen returned the favor by coaxing Misty back into action after the loss of the later’s arm in the line of duty (and its replacement with Stark tech), the two forming a private investigations firm and, soon thereafter, the vigilante crime fighting duo with pretty much the best name of any vigilante crime fighting duo in the considerable history of vigilante crime fighting duos: Daughters of the Dragon. It was during this period Colleen met the recently-returned-to-the-land-of-the-living Danny Rand and the two became friends, teaming-up frequently against Iron Fists’s rogues gallery. Once Danny and Luke Cage formed Heroes for Hire, the partnership continued and grew to include both Luke and Misty.
The Daughters of the Dragon eventually shifted their focus from being PIs to being bailbonds-people though they operated a little differently than most; their firm leant bail money to offenders with cases making their way through the legal system. Woe betide unto he who did a runner, though; those who didn’t show up for their court dates were hunted down and dragged back to jail. By any means necessary. Any. Means.
Colleen spent some time with (though not technically in) the X-Men at various times, apparently seeing fit to romance Scott Summers one of the millions of times Jean Gray was presumed dead (really, Colleen, out of all the X-Men, you picked Cyclops?) and fought a bunch of X-Villains, including Sabertooth. She made a couple of other questionable romantic decisions, was briefly turned to glass because comics, broke up with Misty, and ended up in K’un L’un. While there,she killed Chiangtang, a super-pissed off dragon who created the dragon the Iron Fist had to punch to earn his/her title from a mortal who did… not very nice things to Chiangtang’s sister. Colleen returned home to New York (I’m not sure how she got around the 15 year law, which, despite being in the show is actually part of comics lore) only to find Danny Rand had been killed. Apparently. Except not. Because comics (I don’t make these rules, people).
It was Colleen who, after seeing the supposedly deceased Danny on TV, realized there was a plot afoot and revealed the imposter as the Super-Skrull. Both of them. See disclaimer at end of previous paragraph.
During the first Civil War arc, Tony Stark asked Colleen and Misty to assist him by tracking down superhumans who refused to register. Initially hesitant, though Colleen herself did register, the duo eventually agreed but only on the condition they would be hunting criminals who refused to register and they would do so not as the Daughters of the Dragon, but as a newly reformed version of the at-that-moment defunct Heroes for Hire.
When Daredevil took over Hell’s Kitchen as leader of the Hand ((Shadowlands 2010) and went all extreme in his revenge and order-keeping methods, Colleen was a core member of the group of street-level heroes who confronted him. There was, as one might imagine, rather a large and bloody fight after which Daredevil contacted Colleen and asked her to lead a splinter group of the Hand, known as, I s&*% you not, the Nail, as her mother did before her. Colleen eventually accepted, then, as is often the case, realized the problematic nature of her decision and defected, ending up a target for the very group she had been leading.
Yeah, it’s a little spotty, I apologize. I really wish Colleen had a better platform from which to relaunch her awesome, but Jessica Henwick did a fantastic job with what she was given and now, a whole new generation of women and girls will know Colleen Wing. And Daughters of the Dragon. Because that should absolutely, positively, without question be the next Neflix/Marvel collaboration. Sure, I’d love to see Heroes for Hire at some point. Maybe. (Good news on that one, true believers: Iron Fist is a legacy title and Danny is only the most recent in a long line. Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Matt Hollingsworth’s run on The Immortal Iron Fist delved into the lineage and presented us with several other Iron Fists from whom we might choose and who could replace that cardboard cutout they used as a Danny Rand stand in… I mean, Finn Jones, on the small screen as Cage’s partner).
Simone Missick and Jessica Henwick though? They get dibs. Get on it, Netflix.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colleen_Wing (yes. I’m sorry. I used Wikipedia. I tried to verify everything. My resource were limited with Colleen and the Marvel Wiki was sparse)