ďThe Last Iron Fist Story, Part 2Ē
Writers: Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction
Artists: Travel Foreman, David Aja, John Severin (p), Derek Fridolfs (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: Iron Fist needs Night Nurse and Luke Cage to recover from his encounter with Hydra, whom he finds have also initiated a hostile takeover of Rand Co. Even worse, his Iron Fist is on the fritz Ö because someone else is using it.
Comments: Doesnít that all sound like classic B-movie action? If Brubaker has one great strength, itís his consistency. His issues are competent, reliable, and efficiently told in a manner to suit the serial format. Plots advance, but only so much, every month, like clockwork. Some readers have been unhappy with his Uncanny X-Men run, but itís not storytelling mechanics that are at fault there: people just care more about the familiar X-Men than they do about the third Summers brother. As stories, even the Vulcan spotlight issues have been clear, energetic and important as far as the ongoing arc.
Thatís been the case with Daredevil as well, and now Brubaker is proving his skill again with Iron Fist. More supporting characters emerge this issue (as well as some anxiety over Mistyís collaborative role in the Civil War over in Heroes for Hire), and they are the familiar, requisite ones for an Iron Fist story. And the flashbacks (which necessitate the multitude of credited artists above) give us a 16th Century female Iron Fist and pirate scourge, and a WWI Iron Fist who uses his powers against the devastating technology of German trench warfare) only deepen and complicate the struggle that is brewing for Danny regarding his legacy.
The Iron Fist mysticism has always been otherworldly, with Danny the only conduit for all the lore of fabled Kíun Líun on earth. Brubakerís innovation in this new series is revealing a history of adventurer heroes who brought the Iron Fist back in the service of their chosen people in the past. Interesting stuff and a brilliant enlargement on a mostly undeveloped mythology that will only enrich the character and the Marvel universe.
Severinís old-school work on the WWI sequence is somewhere between Chris Weston and Jerry Ordway, while Foremanís Chinese battle sequence has a subtle manga stylization. Ajaís still channeling Lark and Maleev, but thatís right on the money with a book that sits on the rack right beside other gritty streetfighters like Daredevil and White Tiger. Only, Dannyís rich, so letís hope we see Europe and outer space and more fanciful locales than just NYC.
Iím still hoping for Master Khan to be behind it all! His villainy certainly wouldnít compromise the formulaic nature of the storytelling thus far, but stories like this are the reasons formulas work.
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