From the continuing onslaught of All-New Marvel Now! rises Iron Fist: The Living Weapon. Back and ready to punch faces in his own title, Major Spoilers sat down to see if this Iron Fist book is a knockout. Read on ninjas!
Previously in Iron Fist: Danny Rand is Iron Fist, the Living Weapon. He’s a rich, killer kung-fu expert, but also lonely and depressed. Luckily he’s going to find some ninjas to kick in the face.
GREAT INTRODUCTION, WITH A BIT OF BATMAN ENVY
Matt Fraction’s run on Iron Fist was amazing. He made me love a character that I found (and honestly still do) silly. It’s been a while since he’s had his own title, so when I saw this issue was coming out I had to read it. Kaare Andrews handles writing and art duties and succeeds in providing a great debut issue for both new and old readers. We get to see some of Iron Fist’s origin as Danny Rand is interviewed by a young journalist. For reasons unknown to this reader, he’s extremely depressed and alone, showing no emotion as he talks, and eventually sleeps, with the reporter. Things pick up with an awesome fight down the side of a building with ninjas repelling from helicopters. Andrews switches between past and present seamlessly, providing nice transitions and looks into the mind of Danny Rand. The action scene is nothing short of amazing and I would kill to see this in the upcoming Iron Fist show.
The biggest problem with the issue is Danny seems to suffering from the ever popular disease of Batman envy. I’ve never thought of Iron Fist as a brooding loner, but that is very much the case here. Andrews is writing a character who’s truly alone and downright depressed. I’m not sure if recent Marvel events have had an impact (his company’s building is partially destroyed) but I was a little disappointed to see another hero dealing with the loss of their parents. It fits with the story’s tone but weighs the issue down and is a bit of a bummer until the action hits midway. I also disliked the journalist’s quick change into a giddy, materialistic, and frankly, slut after hearing Danny’s story. It feels somewhat sexist, but people like that exist, so it’s not completely out of left field, just bothersome. Overall, Kaare Andrews executes a great first issue that gives both familiar and new readers a story that’s fun, action packed and leaves a cliffhanger that will have them coming back for more.
SOME GREAT STYLISTIC TECHNIQUES, WITH A BIT OF FRANK MILLER ENVY
Lets just get it out of the way right now: Kaare Andrew’s art strongly resembles Frank Miller’s style on The Dark Knight Returns. That said, I’ve loved his work since I first saw it on Spider-Man: Reign (another Miller similarity). He does succeed in using unique techniques and even uses some of Miller’s better. Flashbacks are colored just like older comics and there is an effect that makes the page look folded in areas. The ninja fight is superb and flows insanely well given the change in look and layout. Andrews does a wonderful job using only red and black in a scene, making it stand out but never causing confusion as to what’s what. The way Iron Fist kicks the head off a robot ninja had me smiling. His panel work is wonderful as well, with some spelling out words so subtly I missed some on my first read through. Andrews writes in the back that he’s influenced by Steranko, and it’s evident here. There’s so much cool uses of the medium that it makes for an immensely fun read.
BOTTOM LINE: A DEFINITE BUY, PLUS, ROBOT NINJAS
I like that Marvel has been giving some of their “lower tier” characters their chance to shine. So far they’ve been a success and Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #1 is no exception. Kaare Andrews has crafted a fun, creative opening issue that all readers should get a kick out of. There are a few similarities to other work that brings it down some, but it’s still worth a buy and I’m going to be adding this one to my pull list.