Seriously, wouldja just get it over with already?  I rave on and on about this every month, but not every story needs to be a six-issue arc to fill the inevitable trade paperback.  I’ve spoken with many people who figured that Iron Fist was done when the original revamping creative team left the book, but this new arc drew me in with an interesting hook on what Bru and Fraction set into motion.  But, has it overstayed it’s welcome?

Previously, on Immortal Iron Fist:IF2.jpg  Daniel Rand-Kai has come into his own as the bearer of the power of Shou Lao the undying.  He has successfully undermined a conspiracy to destroy all of the Cities of Heaven, united all the immortal weapons under his banner, overthrown a corrupt reign of terror, discovered the legacy of his power, as well as founding and bankrolling one of the most interesting Avengers lineups in years. (Not that you’ll ever actually see them in an Avengers title these days…  Marvel’s got Skrull flashbacks to tell, dammit!)  Of course, it ain’t all beer and skittles for Danny, either.  Having discovered his family fortune to be drawn from years of oppression and slavery, he has set about dismantling RandCo and rechanneling it’s moneys into helping the innocent and the needy.  Oh, and there is that pesky business about finding out that all previous Iron Fists have died mysteriously and horribly at the age of thirty-three, just as his friends busted in with his own 33rd birthday cake.  A mysterious magic schmucko has appeared, announcing himself to be the slayer of Iron Fists, and has put Danny’s entire life under seige, even using his powers to take over a room full of children at Danny’s pet project community center.  Somebody is getting kickedinnaface, I guarantee it…

The story opens in the past, as another Iron Fist meets his maker and a dragon-like entity leaps out of his chest to attack the city.  An impromptu army of K’un Lun’s warrior rises to defnd it, but the creature slices through them like John Goodman through a Golden Corral…  In the present, Iron Fist gets a desperate phone call from his School of Thunder training facility, telling him that the children are all standing, as if hypnotized, as the Slayer waits patiently.  Iron Fist arrives seconds after Luke Cage does, and both men enter the arena, only to be taunted.  “So much effort, wasted on these children of peasants,” snarls the stranger.  “But I DO see the appeal, Mr. Rand.  Young minds are so easy to shape…”  With a gesture, he compels a young boy to strike out, bloodying the nose of the girl to his left.  Iron Fist realizes that there’s no way to win this fight without hurting the kids, and moves in, bowing in surrender.  “Just to get this straight,” he asks, “You kill Iron Fists.  You like to rip out their hearts…  But does that work with other Immortal Weapons?”  The Slayer is confused, and Danny smiles.  “Didn’t think so.”

“Let the children go or I shatter your ribcage,” comes the voice of Fat Cobra (DAAAMN RIGHT!) as the big man wraps his meathooks around the slayer’s relatively tiny body.  The other Immortal Weapons sidle into view, and the Slayer sets the kids on each other, but nine super-combatants plus Luke Cage plus an army of spiders and Dog Brother #1’s pack manage to keep anyone from meaningful injury, and they clear the various innocents out of the room.  “I get it,” says Luke.  “He pulls a 12-year-old, you pull a Fat Cobra.”  Heh…   “The New York way,” replies Danny, having learned a few things from his partner over the years.  The Slayer pulls a fast one on Fat Cobra and suddenly retreats, which feels like a weakness of plot.  Iron Fist consults with the Prince of Orphans, but gets nothing meaningful or helpful.  Luke, on the other hand, gets the strangers name and address from a helpful New York cabdriverand the weapons head out to confront Iron Fist’s nemesis.  Back in his own apartment, said evil opposite is being nearly torn apart by his unhappy mystic sponsor, who wants “the egg,” a relic apparently kept in K’un Lun.  Iron Fist calls Orson Randall’s biographer to try and get some background.  “You remember a Chinese guy suddenly popping up out of nowhere to kill Orson?” he asks, and is told that he’ll have to narrow it down a bit.  Heh.  Danny gets the unpleasant news that the only way that Orson Randall avoided his death was at the end of a needle, that somehow being strung-out on China White for fifty years kept him (sorta) safe.  The Immortal Weapons raid an empty safe house, while Danny returns to work, only to be betrayed by one of his employees, now a lover of his mysterious would-be murderer, who prepares to rip out the heart of the Iron Fist…  “Now…  where were we, Mr. Rand?”

I’m much happier with this story upon rereading it, actually, than I remember being upon first perusal.  The “Gonna Kill Me An Iron Fist” thing is still working, though I hope this arc wraps up next issue, as there aren’t that many “Will he tear out Danny’s heart?” cliffhangers left.  The art leaves me less happy than previous issues, though, as Travel Foreman reminds me more and more of Larry Stroman’s work, with angular features and distorted anatomy, kind of a drawback for a book about people flipping about and doing acrobatic battle moves and the like.  Still, this issue works on the strength of the characterization, with Iron Fist having to use a resource that the previous wielders of the power lacked: his allies.  Luke and Fat Cobra are especially welcome, and I’d like to see the two of them go bowling.  Immortal Iron Fist #19 nets 2.5 out of 5 stars overall, as the story really does kind of bow a bit in the middle, with the assassin retreating at a strange moment, but the ending was surprising…  If it goes past next month, though, this story is in grave danger of wearing out it’s welcome…


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. ~wyntermute~
    November 16, 2008 at 8:45 am — Reply

    Luke Cage + Fat Cobra +Bowling = SALES GOLD~!!!!!! Seriously… I smell a 4-ish mini outta this!!!

  2. Cory
    November 16, 2008 at 11:20 am — Reply

    I wonder why Quesada pull Fraction from this title. I don’t believe for a second that this was Fraction’s idea. Quesada needed to put a popular writer on Marvel’s more popular and crappier titles like Iron Woman and the Uninteresting X-Men.

    Iron Fist has been crap since Fraction left.

  3. November 17, 2008 at 12:18 am — Reply

    Every time Cory rants like that, I imagine Joe Quesada in a dark, smoke-filled room, dressed like Wilson Fisk, scheming to ruin Marvel Comics and laughing like Burgess Meredith as the Penguin.

    The funniest part of it all?

    Dan Didio slipping him twenties…

  4. November 17, 2008 at 8:34 am — Reply


    I think it is too soon to determine if it is has in fact “gone to crap”.


    I think of Joe Q. more like Unicron, devourer of worlds.

    All I do ask for is MORE Fat Cobra. I would be satisfied with an off-shoot Immortal Weapons, Inc. title. Now that would be Badasssssssss.

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