Or – “Round Two: FIGHT!

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About a skrajillion years ago, waaaay back in the early 90’s, my friend Bruce worked at the arcade in the mall, as steward and quarter-monkey.  The awesome side-effect of it all was after-hours access to the Mortal Kombat 2 machine, and many was the time that Kabal fell in service to my personal empire, but at least I got to cut off Sub-Zero’s head a time or seven.  Take that awesome feeling, multiply it by the moment in ‘Enter The Dragon’ where Bruce Lee fights the cobra, add it a healthy dose of “Black Belt Jones,” fold in the awesomeness that was The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, and you’ve got this issue.

The Readers Win!  FATALITY!

IF1.jpgPreviously, on Immortal Iron Fist: Daniel Rand has many irons in the fire.  His company, Rand Industries, barely fended off a takeover attempt from Hydra, (spearheaded by his old enemy Davos, The Steel Serpent) his majordomo and lawyer Jeryn Hogarth was snatched by Davos for unknown purpose, his predecessor as Iron Fist, Orson Randall was murdered before his eyes just as his mentor Lei Kung the Thunderer has spirited him off to participate in a tournament between K’un Lun and the other six ‘Cities of Heaven.’  Danny must win the tournament to advance and face Steel Serpent to defend his city, but the presence of a strange blue-eyed servant girl has his attention split, not to mention his first opponent: Fat Cobra, who defeated a legion of combatants as an appetizer to facing Danny.  The hatred between Danny and Davos is the worst kind of enmity, as we flashback to Dan’s father Wendell Rand’s days in K’un Lun to see the sins of the father…

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Overwhelmed and out of his element, Wendell found himself becoming friends with Davos, even as the future Steel Serpent repeatedly kicks the crap out of him.  Wendell tries to remember all his training, but constantly hears the voice of Orson Randall in his head, keeping him from fully embracing combat.  Flashing forward to the present day, we find Orson’s little boy, studying the “Book of The Iron Fist” and learning new ways to channel his chi.  “My capabilities apparently have infinite depth…”

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The serving girl taunts that he won’t catch her, and as sudden as a lightning strike, Iron Fist is in motion.  She (amazingly) dodges his strike, and attacks Danny, claiming that she will simply tell everyone that she had to defend herself against his unwanted advances.  Iron Fist blocks her every strike, with relative ease, whipping her arm back into a hammerlock and interrogating her as to why she’s stalking him, and who taught her how to fight.  “I shall carry my master’s name to my grave,” she replies  “But what about your master, Daniel Rand?  What of the secrets of Orson Randall?”  Surprised, Danny misses a block, and the ninja waitress kicks him innaface before melting into shadow…

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“The thought haunts me as night turns to day…”  Danny is still stuck in his own reveries as he prepares to face a foe as strong as he, nearly as fast, three times as large, and every single iota as dangerous.  Danny prepares, expecting Cobra to lead with a punch, and is surprised when he strikes the ground with a fist of lightning!  Iron Fist dodges away, and Fat Cobra taunts “You need to get our of your head, my friend!”  A second lightning bolt smashes Danny through a window, and into a whole new world…

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The quick strike gives him a momentary edge, and Iron Fist rushes back towards the window to protect the bystanders.  Fat Cobra doubles his awesome factor by whipping a tendril of lightning out, and catching Iron Fist about the waist, whiplashing him back into Cobra’s range.  Iron Fist manages to strike on the rebound, and Fat Cobra smiles that he will be the one to break the Iron Fist’s streak, for the first time in centuries.  Danny goes for the Iron Fist, but Fat Cobra clocks him with blinding speed, and pins him to the street. 

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I think I’m going to end every workday just like that, arms outstretched with a triumphant “Bring me my victory wenches!!”  I should be unemployed in less than four days, I figger…  Back in the past, Davos and Wendell face off in the training arena again, but instead of the voice of Orson Randall, Wendell hears only his own voice, crying out for Davos to yield!  He rains punches down on the son of the Thunderer, breaking skin and mashing his nose, but the future Steel Serpent simply won’t accept defeat.

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Davos refuses to lay down, and finally, Wendell is forced to knock Davos unconscious in order to keep from killing him.  He thinks of the voice of Orson, and knows the truth.  “He’d only be saying words which you already know:  You are Wendell Rand.  And you have the heart of a champion inside you yet.”  Afterwards, Wendell asks Davos if he threw the match, and Davos replies “I didn’t and I never will…  I demand the best of you, and you shall know only the best of me.”  The friendship is cemented, making me wonder what will bring it all down around their ears (as we know it will be.)  Healing in his chambers, Iron Fist is surprised to once again hear the voice of the mysterious servant girl.  She tells him that he has to come with her.  “If you would find the secrets of Orson Randall, you must leave the Heart of Heaven now!”  She leads him into underground tunnels, and reveals the truth about herself and her parentage.

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She tells him that he must find the friend his father called Lucky Pierre, the man who wrote his autobiography.  “Everyone you’ll face in the tournament…  Every secret Yu-Ti has kept from you… This man knows.”  And most importantly, with Orson gone, Erskine’s mystically extended life will end soon, as well.  Danny steps out the door, into the frozen wastelands of the mountains.  “And just as I wonder how I’m supposed to get back, I get the feeling that I’m only a cog in a very old machine…  one that’s been in motion a very long time… and one that I have no control over anyway.”  Danny sets out, but is surprised to hear familiar voices in a Himalayan village.  “Sweet @#&#ing Christmas, it’s cold!”

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Danny skulks away, reminding himself of how good his friends are at their jobs, and sets out to find one dying old man in a huge world, and also make it back in time for the Battle Royale at the end of the tournament (Did Vince McMahon book this tournament?) while not getting killed or anything.  Should be simple enough, with a little luck, seven miracles and a heapin’ helpin’ of divine intervention.

Once again, Iron Fist hits it out of the park, giving us the equivalent of the second act of a really good kung-fu movie, and nailing the dismount.  Brubaker and Fraction intertwine the past-tense story of Wendell with Danny’s current woes, throwing in some pretty funny lines (such as when the Prince of Orphans leans over just before Fist and Cobra fight, and bets “Five hundred on the little one.”  Heh…) as well as some really tense and action-filled moments.  The art by David Aja is stellar, making the martial artists look like MARTIAL ARTISTS, and not frozen shots of guys in funny poses, and the actual fight sequence (though somewhat short) was both cinematic and gorgeous.  Following up on last issue’s promise of awesome kung-fu action, Iron Fist #9 delivers the goods, ups the ante, wags the dog and toads the wet sprocket, for a fully deserved 5 out of 5 stars.

Also:  Fat Cobra and The American Eagle should team up and get their own title…

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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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7 Comments

  1. September 27, 2007 at 7:09 pm — Reply

    I talk this book up to everyone I know. If there is one thing that I absolutely love about this book is how Brubaker and Fraction are establishing the Iron Fist mythos. We’re getting past Danny Rand being the Immortal Weapon of Kun Lu’un and that he has a flippin’ sweet costume. Definitely 5 star worthy, and the Annual this week was equally awesome.

  2. Tater Nuts
    September 27, 2007 at 9:00 pm — Reply

    American Eagle and Fat Cobra.

    Like Cable and Deadpool, just cooler.

    “I’m a true American!”

    “Bring me my wenches!”

  3. Brother129
    September 27, 2007 at 10:11 pm — Reply

    Now this would be a book that I would have no problem paying 4 bucks for….

  4. September 28, 2007 at 12:21 am — Reply

    American Eagle and Fat Cobra.

    Like Cable and Deadpool, just cooler.

    I was thinking more like Danny and Luke themselves. One streetwise brawler, tough as nails, one kung fu master from a lost land.

    They should join Heroes for Hire!

  5. Brother129
    September 28, 2007 at 7:39 am — Reply

    Matthew: You mean SAVE the title that was formerly known as Heroes for Hire?

  6. Sanlear
    September 28, 2007 at 8:15 am — Reply

    In wrestling terms, Iron Fist jobbed for Fat Cobra, thereby putting him over. I didn’t see that one coming. I love this comic.

  7. September 28, 2007 at 10:03 am — Reply

    Matthew: You mean SAVE the title that was formerly known as Heroes for Hire?

    Sadly, I kinda do…

    If we keep Shang and the Daughters of the Dragon, add American Eagle, Fat Cobra, and Cal Rankin… Naaah, pipedream.

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