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Immortal Iron Fist: The Origin of Danny Rand #1

Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2008
By: Erik Norris

Matt Fraction, Roy Thomas, Len Wein
Kano, Gil Kane, Larry Hama
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Immortal Iron Fist: The Origin of Danny Rand #1 arrives in stores tomorrow, August 20.

When I heard about this issue's release, I got excited. Then I heard Matt Fraction was tagged as the writer, and my heart fluttered. However, Immortal Iron Fist: The Origin of Danny Rand is nothing more than a primer for Marvel's popular series to keep interests high by having new product on the shelves since its original all star creative team left.

The book begins with Matt Fraction's contribution, a framing sequence perfectly dovetailing into the reprinted material that makes up the majority of this issue. Fraction's sequence is, as one would expect, brilliant. A quiet scene with Danny and Misty lying in bed, most definitely after some funny business, and reminiscing about the days of old, more specifically their first meeting and if Danny remembers his old life. Since Fraction had roughly 18 issues of Danny Rand and company under his belt going into this issue, it makes sense that his characterizations are spot on with what a fan of Immortal Iron Fist would expect. He always had a knack for writing a witty and mystifying Danny, and that continues here. His Misty is also head strong, but sincere when it comes to leveling with Mr. Rand. It was just a great opening to the book, drawn expertly by Kano who channels the talent of David Aja without as much shadow-play.

However, as soon as this opening concluded, the book completely fell from the clouds of heaven. This is due solely to the book's reprinting of Marvel Premiere #15-16, the retelling of Danny Rand's Iron Fist origin. In some respect it was neat to see this old issue with the hindsight of the recent relaunch sparking a lot of interesting the character. But it just wasn't all that entertaining. We got this story with a much better narrative structure throughout the course of Matt Fraction, Ed Brubacker, and David Aja's run on the series, so the fact that it is being simplified and retold so soon after they departed makes it an automatic sour note on the series. One quick note: I found it entertaining to see Yu-Ti appear here, seemingly a pure character at this point, knowing full well the bastard and coward he turns into.

Something else worth commenting on is the art in the reprints. Both Marvel Premiere issues have been completely retouched and recolored, and they look gorgeous. Anyone who has ever said that old comic art isn't up to todayís standards needs to look no further than this issue to prove themselves wrong. All that has changed over the ages are the coloring techniques. The pencils look just as good then as they do now. However, it's a shame that at least half of every beautiful panel is covered up by captions full of exposition. It really pains me to read this stuff and to be honest, I skimmed a lot of the captions by the time I reached the half way point of the issue. They just made reading this comic a chore, and I can't have that on my conscious.

I really canít recommend Immortal Iron Fist: The Origin of Danny Rand to anyone besides the Rand diehards, and those who can't interrupt their perfect runs on a series. There is nothing new here, nor a story that takes the old and spins it in an interesting light. These issues were reprinted solely for Marvel to make a quick buck on fans of the relaunched series that have fallen in love with the character and need to know every detail. However, this doesn't deliver.






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