Or – “I Find Myself Really Missing The Giant Disco Collar…”


Various revamps of Iron Fist throughout the years keep altering the original costume and I don’t really understand why. Not only is it one of the most unique and interesting designs in comics, it’s not designed to be a superhero suit, it’s the customary garb of the fist of K’un L’un, a martial artists costume. In the 90’s-era run of Hero for Hire an issue featuring Deadpool had the merc with a mouth mocking the yellow slippers, and while it was funny, it irked me. Stop messing with the classics, Marvel! It’s bad enough you took away Luke Cage’s yellow silk shirt…

Of course, when I have nothing better to whine about than the costumes, you have to figure you’re looking at a quality title. Previously on Immortal Iron Fist: Daniel Rand, IF1.jpgcurrent bearer of the power of the Iron Fist, discovers that his predecessor, a man named Orson Randall, is NOT deceased as previously thought. At the same time, his multi-millon dollar business is under siege, as Danny is forced to stave off a hostile takeover by no less than Hydra itself. Randall and Danny end up fighting side-by-side against Davos, the Steel Serpent, the son of Daniel’s teacher Lei Kung and the man who has repeatedly try to steal the power of the Iron Fist from him, and Randall reveals that his term as Iron Fist was cut short when he refused to compete in a mystical martial arts tournament years ago. Randall also reveals that in order to end the threats of both Davos and Hydra, they must reclaim the Book of the Iron Fist, the history of their legacy. This issue starts with a flashback to Randall’s past, as the drunken adventurer engages in a contest with a man he identifies as the last of the Lightning Lord. Randall has to choose which of three chalices is poisoned. His choice is made for him when a young blonde servant boy tells him which contains the poison, allowing him to win and saving his life…


The entire flashback is drawn by the legendary Russ Heath, and it’s a shame that Russ doesn’t have a regular comic to draw (assuming he even wants one.) We flash forward again, as Orson Randall and the man that I happen to know is young Wendell’s son standing against the hordes of Hydra, Steel Serpent, and what Fist himself calls ‘evil kung fu bird women’ with longbows. It’s an overwhelming assault, even for dual wielders of the power of the iron fist.


Davos is a real drama queen, ain’t he? In recent issues, Danny was amazed to find that Randall was able to focus his chi into his weapons, allowing his guns to fire tiny bursts of the same Iron Fist power that Daniel uses for hand-to-hand combat. Hydra also attacks his office building, and his poor abused lawyer, Jeryn Hogarth, is terrified for his life. Luckily for Jeryn, he has other clients, some close friends of Iron Fist, and when Hydra’s shock troops break into his office they find themselves at the mercy of The Daughters of The Dragon and the artist formerly known as Power Man!


Freakin’ awesome. Total mark-out moment for me, especially the callback to “Sweet Christmas” and the three heroes prove that the ‘kill one and two more appear’ thing is just a figure of speech. Unfortunately, they are overwhelmed by sheer numbers, and Hogarth is dragged away into the elevator. Misty and Colleen arrive seconds too late, but they’re not without resources themselves.


It’s interesting to me how both Luke and Misty stay in character here while showing a different side of their personalities. Everybody acts a little different around their oldest friends, I s’pose, and I laughed in spite of myself at the health care joke. Back at the main fight, the twin Fists manage by the skin of their teeth to stay alive, forcing Davos to invoke Plan B, sacrificing his own people…


Trivia moment: Iron Fist’s chest marking isn’t a tattoo at all, instead it’s the permanent burn mark that he got from embracing Shou Lao the dragon and absorbing the creature’s power to become Iron Fist. Davos wasn’t able to overcome the pain long enough to absorb the entire power, so his mark is incomplete, looking less dragon and more garter snake. Knowing is, reputedly, 50% of the ongoing struggle… Faced with a fully-powered Davos, Iron Fist rises slowly, remarking “Everybody’s gotta die sometime.” Orson, unfortunately, takes those words literally, stepping up to Davos and practically standing there inviting the Serpent to kill him.


Misty, Colleen and Luke quickly engage Steel Serpent, as Danny assesses Orson, trying to perform first aid on the man. But even as far as he’s fallen from grace, Randall is still an Iron Fist, and he still knows enough to know when it’s time to throw in the towel. “I can stop… I can finally stop running.” He smiles, feeling his life essence leaving him, and Iron Fist tries to talk him into fighting it, telling him that they can get him help… Orson stops him again, and tells him what has to happen.


Ha! That’s funny… I love it when they take a story hook and turn it on it’s head like that. Of course, ever since Randall appeared, I’ve been asking myself the same question, especially with the similarity of their names. Randall dies, and the power of his Chi starts to escape, and we suddenly see one of the differences between being raised in K’un Lun and being raised in Secaucus… when people explode, you react a little differently.


As Davos loses control of his body functions, we see another flashback, this one several years after Orson’s encounter with young Wendell Rand. Now apparently his apprentice, Wendell insists that he will search out K’un-Lun and become the new Iron Fist, but Orson blithely smokes his opium and tells the young man how stupid he is. When Wendell pushes the issue, Orson leaps and tells him in no uncertain terms, “Sit DOWN and shut UP and never say ANOTHER WORD about K’un Lun or Iron Fist. I swear to you on ALL that’s holy, the iron fist is a curse, and that city will be death of you!”


Wendell angrily declares “You said yourself, I’m a great fighter. There’s nobody who an beat me! And I… I know that I’m meant for MORE than this. I have to be here for a reason, don’t I?” You have to feel bad for the kid, searching for an identity, but I fell even worse knowing that history shows that Orson’s predictions are entirely true, and K’un Lun in fact IS the death of him. In the here-and-now, Iron Fist stands against Steel Serpent, his power increased by Orson’s. “You couldn’t be my father in K’un Lun, and you won’t be me. You’re a mad dog that needs to be put down… And I have the best Kung Fu. So bring it.” Davos threatens to snap his neck, and Iron Fist thinks to himself, “he’ll die trying. Him, and any other little tyrant like him. Maybe Orson had to die for me to truly understand what it means…”


Okay, now that’s a fistfight! I love the way Fraction has paced this story, giving us the elements of a great kung-fu movie, and you can certainly see the influence of that kind of cinema in the story. His own chi combined with Orson’s, Daniel’s new double-fisted power is considerably more than anything Steel Serpent can imagine, and he reacts as nearly any bully would…


…he runs. This, by the way, is his pattern of behavior for decades now, run in and attack when you have the upper hand, then ditch when it starts going wrong. His offices in ruins, his predecessor dead, Danny thanks Misty for her help. She says that when Jeryn calls, they answer, and suddenly Iron Fist realizes that Jeryn is gone, presumably taken by Hydra. Danny’s anger flares, as he grabs Colleen’s katana, channeling his power into it until is glows with the power of the iron fist, and questions a Hydra goon. When the fool responds “Hail Hydra?” Iron Fist sweeps the sword up for a killing blow when a voice calls out “Daniel Rand-Kai! Stay your hand!”


“…and not before then.” MORRTALLL KOMBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT! *Techno beat* I hope he’s up to facing Kabal… Danny defers to his teacher, and Misty tries to talk him out of it. Luke, understanding that sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, Wah HAH, asks “You need me ridin’ shotgun?” Danny tells him this is his fight, and disappears into a mystical vortex with the Thunderer and the August Personage, leaving behind three confused friends and much unfinished business.

This series has been incredibly satisfying, taking a new tack with a character without ignoring his previous history. The use of Jeryn Hogarth, Rand Industries, as well as Danny’s old friends is a nice touch, without overpowering the story and the character’s new prominence in the Marvel Universe. It’s been a pretty solid rule of thumb at Marvel that when a character comes back from the dead and gets a new series, that you can only count on about a year before that book gets cancelled again, but I don’t see that happening here. Fraction & Brubaker write a good adventure yarn, and David Aja’s art is perfectly suited for the quasi-mystical nature of the book, as well as conveying the martial arts sequences beautifully. This is a 4 star out of 5 effort, and the only complaint that I have isn’t that the ‘Warring Celestial Cities’ conceit reminds me of a certain video game series… Even so, I don’t think that it will detract much from my enjoyment of the story, if we maintain this level of quality in art and story.


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. July 5, 2007 at 3:07 pm — Reply

    I’ve been so curious about this book, and now I must have it. SOLD!

  2. Josh
    July 5, 2007 at 5:46 pm — Reply

    I love that this is now a legacy character.

    Anyone notice Iron Fist = Green Lantern? What with the discovery of multiple entities with different interests. The corps war = The seven cities tournament.

  3. July 5, 2007 at 8:11 pm — Reply

    Danny was always a legacy, it’s just that Fraction is the first person to actually use it…

  4. Baal
    July 6, 2007 at 12:57 am — Reply

    Okay, loving IIF as much as y’all but I gotta say the Wendell stuff makes my head hurt. Wasn’t Danny’s dad the brother of Yu-Ti?

  5. July 6, 2007 at 8:55 am — Reply

    Okay, loving IIF as much as y’all but I gotta say the Wendell stuff makes my head hurt. Wasn’t Danny’s dad the brother of Yu-Ti?

    Wendell has had some retcon issues. Yes, initially he was shown as the brother of the current incarnation of Yu-Ti, and the elder brother at that. By right of firstborn status, Wendell was the one who should have been August Personage… He did (as mentioned in this issue) fight off Davos more than once without ever challenging Shou Lao himself, and it must be mentioned that at one point a retcon indicated that Wendell was somehow naturalized as an American and only found K’un Lun again after the birth of Danny.

    It’s a point of contention, but it seem like Fraction is trying to create a balance of the two stories… We don’t have all the information yet, but no, you are not mistaken.

  6. Brother129
    July 13, 2007 at 5:49 pm — Reply

    Thanks for the review. Matt Fraction is another Marvel writer who definitely gets it.

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