Or – “Bring Me My Victory Wenches!!”

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In a perfect world, you’d be looking at the face on all our coins…

IW2.jpgPreviously, on Immortal Weapons: The Iron Fist has long been a staple in the Marvel Universe, working with Power Man, the Heroes for Hire, even the Avengers.  But it is only recently that the world learned of the existence of the other Immortal Cities, and their respective Immortal Weapons.  Years ago, Orson Randall left K’un Lun before competing in a tournament to decide which city would gain ascendency, and the other cities remained eclipsed until Daniel Rand returned to the city to battle in the next round of the tournaments.  Eventually, treachery and what Iron Fist’s ol’ pal Shang Chi would call the ‘games of death and deceit’ were revealed, and the other six Weapons returned with him to Earth.  With recent events in the Fist’s title leaving his status quo changed, the other members of his brotherhood are finally able to take center stage, beginning with the latest of Peng Lai’s Cobra warriors, the man known as… Fat Cobra.

This book impresses from the very first panel, with Mico Suaryan’s incredibly detailed art drawing me right in.  The mighty Fat Cobra has taken his respite in a massage parlor, and half a dozen beautiful girls cater to his every whim.  A man enters, the ghost writer of Cobra’s biography, who has investigated the past life of the Fat Cobra (who apparently has little to no memory of his past.  Unfortunately, the writer isn’t sure that the hero will like what he has discovered…  Fat Cobra’s parents were NOT the warriors that he thought they were, instead being dirt-poor and humble pig farmers.  His mother died in childbirth, his father was forced to give him up to the orphanage, unable to support his appetites.  The Mighty Cobra is more dismayed with every page, detailing his eventual exile from the orphanage, (they couldn’t afford to feed him either) his career as a opera singer, and the first man he ever killed.  The boy who would become Fat Cobra wandered the Earth as a mercenary before ending up in the battle school of the hidden city of Peng Lai.  Fat Cobra trained and trained until he chose to sneak away (much as Daniel Rand did) to defeat the giant snake who lives beneath the city and claim his place as Cobra Warrior.

He failed.  Again Fat Cobra was exiled from his home, working alongside the Invaders and Ulysses Bloodstone before ending up in the underground fight club circuit.  In the most wonderful moment of the issue, Fat Cobra travles to Olympus itself, to face Hercules and Volstagg the Voluminous in what turns out to be an eating competition.  He spends the 1970’s teaching Elvis kung-fu (complete with the priceless sight of Fat Cobra sporting a full-on Black Belt Jones ‘fro) and finally meeting his match in a female combatant of equal speed and power.  Fat Cobra’s lack of memory causes him to ask the million-dollar question:  How did he finally build up the wherewithal to defeat the dragon?  “It was your kids,” says the embarrassed biographer, explaining that Fat Cobra only became as powerful as he became by battling and killing his own illegitimate offspring.  Year upon year of battle led him to the point where his kung fu was the best, and Fat Cobra returned home to defeat the creature.  Fat Cobra sneds the man away, sadly regarding the book that represents his life…  He flips through it’s pages, then throws the book on the fire, bidding a serving girl to bring her all the wine she can find.  The memoryless warrior stands in silence as he watches the story of his life burn…

When Fat Cobra debuted, I immediately heralded him as one of the greatest characters in Marvel history, and I stand by that.  But when I picked up this issue, I didn’t expect to be as moved by his story as I am impressed by his bravado.  Several art teams handle the image chores here, and none of them drop the ball, and the coloring throughout is appropriate and well-handled.  The first chapter of an Iron Fist backup story is likewise well-handled, detailing Iron Fist getting involved with the drama in the life of one of his School of Thunder students.  Overall, though, this issue is exactly what I wanted from a Fat Cobra one-shot: kung fu and lust for life, with the unexpected bonus of an effective dose of pathos.  Immortal Weapons #1 earns a very impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars from me, giving me backstory that COULD have undermined the character, but instead made his eventual triumph and transformation into Immortal Weapon a bittersweet and wonderful moment…

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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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6 Comments

  1. Crash
    August 4, 2009 at 12:04 am — Reply

    Loved this comic. I agree with your rating 100%

  2. August 4, 2009 at 1:17 am — Reply

    Seconded. I’ve been on board with Iron Fist from his first appearance moonlighting as Daredevil, and I too felt that upon his debut Fat Cobra was just a phenomenal character. This one-shot picked up on the voice and cadence that I’ve felt has been lacking in Dwayne Schewezinickssias’ run on IF. The victory wenches was a classic line, that I’ve used recently … my wife obviously didn’t ge tthe reference

  3. August 4, 2009 at 5:47 am — Reply

    Why Fat Cobra has to be connected with Nick Fury? Beside that, it was great story. 4/5, works from me.

  4. August 4, 2009 at 10:00 am — Reply

    Okay, your review has turned this into a pick up for me.

    I really enjoyed the Iron Fist storyline that introduced Fat Cobra, but I was not impressed by the character. You, sir, have made me want to take a second look at him.

    I’m really curious how the whole Invaders thing worked, looking forward to it.

    • August 4, 2009 at 11:03 am — Reply

      I’m really curious how the whole Invaders thing worked, looking forward to it.

      Why Fat Cobra has to be connected with Nick Fury? Beside that, it was great story. 4/5, works from me.

      Fat Cobra’s life flashbacks are really interesting, giving him a history and versimilitude that enhance his mystique… The Nick Fury appearance, as he and Fat Cobra fought werewolves on the moon, was an example of the inspired lunacy that makes the character fun. I’m looking forward to how the rest of the Weapons fare…

  5. Ricco
    August 4, 2009 at 11:26 am — Reply

    I loved the use of technique naming, that was funny as Hell. Cobra showed alot of character by not killing the author and listening to his shameful life without ever questioning it.

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