Or – “The Lady Or The Tiger?  Sometimes You Get Both…”


The Iron Fist may have been the first of the Immortal Weapons to show his face, but he’s certainly not the last.  What’s even more amazing is that each of their stories has been as interesting as Danny Rand’s.  Fat Cobra’s tragedy, the Bride of Nine Spiders’ horror, even Dog Brother #1’s folk tale have all been interesting in their own right.  Now the spotlight turns to the beautiful, yet deadly, Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter…  Will the loveliest of the Immortal Weapons keep the streak going?

Immortal Weapons #4

IW2.jpgWRITER: Duane Swierczynski
PENCILS: Khari Evans
COVER BY: David Aja

Previously, on Immortal Weapons:  Iron Fist was as surprised as anyone to find that his role as fist of the lost city of K’un Lun was NOT a unique one.  Indeed, K’un Lun was but one of a number of celestial cities, each with it’s own protector, each protector with his or her own legacy, powers, and iconography.  The various Immortal Weapons were able to put down the corrupt union of the August Personage In Jade and Hydra, and returned to Earth together, accompanying Iron Fist to find the lost EIGHTH City.  Upon their return from the Eighth City of Heaven (which, strangely, turned out to be a living hell) the various warriors who make up the Immortal Weapons have taken a sabbatical, allowing each of them to take the spotlight in their downtime, featuring their origins and backstory.  Fat Cobra’s tale was a harrowing one, emotionally speaking, revealing unpleasant truths about the long-lived fighter of Peng Lai.  The mysterious Bride of Nine Spiders was able to throw off an assassination attempt using a magical spider, but her attackers found that even the Bride has mercy… ONCE.  Dog Brother #1, the ruler of the Under-City, came from a life of poverty and petty crime to become the latest in a line of legendary warriors, writing his own stories to add to the word-of-mouth legend of the pack leader.  Now, our attention turns to the Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter, whose deadly skills are only rivaled by her beauty. 

We open on a battlefield, as medics try to save lives among the hundreds of dead and dying warriors there.  One of the medics watches, and sadly intones:  “No more.”  We cut to twenty years later, as a devastatingly pretty young girl sits on the shores of her island home, patiently awaiting her father, the Tiger Warrior.  Bored by years of indolent living, Li Hua finds that her only joy comes in her father’s tales of battle, and in the dreams where her long-dead mother tries to teach her the secrets of combat.  This is strange to her, since not only is her mother DEAD, but the women of her island are forbidden to fight.  The Tiger Warrior returns, regaling his daughter with the tale of a battle with the blind armies of undead, a battle during which he chopped up zombies willy nilly…  He fears that Li Hua won’t want to hear about such things, but her love of his tales fuels her.  “I do not crave the flesh of men like my sisters,” thinks Hua.  “I crave the spray of blood, the snapping of bones, the violent cry of desperate battle.”  The homecoming party for the warriors of the city bores her even more, made worse by her erstwhile suitor’s revelation that he has permission to take her hand in marrieg.  Li Hua feels the party, just in time to find her home overrun by warriors, and her father’s brave soldiers RUNNING from the battle.  Li Hua hears her mother ordering her to fight, to defend her people and avenge the dead!

Leaping into action, the Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter slices through her foes, defeating them all and returning home to confront her father.  The Tiger Warrior explains that these foes are the same ones who attacked years ago (as seen in the prologue) killing the best warriors of the city, including Li Hua’s own mother.  The men haven’t been battling at all, instead they have been sneaking away to keep up the pretense, having agreed years ago that they would become essentially slaves to the invaders.  Li Hua angrily rallies her sisters in battle, teaching them what her mother’s spirit taught her, creating what armor they can and making sure to cover their faces.  “We want our enemies to focus on something else,” she says of the masks.  “The feel of our hot steel in their burning GUTS.”  The Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter leads her sisters into glorious battle (with a little help from the spirits of their lost mothers) and defeats the attackers, allowing her warriors to return home victorious, and set upon the quest to regain the lost lands of her people.  She takes three men as her concubines, in the hopes that they will equal one husband, and basks in the knowledge that she is successful…  In the latest chapter of the Iron Fist backups story, Jada and Danny realize that her brother may be hiding in the subways under the city, and attempt to save him from rushing waters, only to have her seemingly dragged away by the current as well.

This particular Immortal Weapon was my least favorite in her initial appearances, especially after she was absent during the battle with Zhou Cheng for some reason, but she made up poins with her “I have an itch” gambit in hell.  This issue moves her to a status second only to fave-rave Fat Cobra in terms of sheer awesome.  Duane Swierczynski delivers a nice tale with a slightly telegraphed Rod Serling ending, but gives TBD some much-appreciated depth while maintaining her status as half-naked ass-kicker extraordinaire.  Khari Evans delivers what is probably the hardest part of an issue like this, making sure that TBD and her sisters are credible both as beauties and as warriors.  Indeed, in a couple of panels, Li Hua has a bearing and stature that remind me more than a little of Wonder Woman herself, which is no mean feat.  All in all, this is a very enjoyable issue, with a bit of eye candy, a touching story of mother and daughter bonding even after death, and some battle sequences that work well in raising the blood a bit.  Immortal Weapons #4 hits the spot in a very real way, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall.  I am as impressed with what I read here as I have been with nearly any comic of the last six or ten weeks…  It’s a very good sign for me, given what I believe is the impending return of Iron Fist’s title, that these characters still have a lot of life in them.



About Author

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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