Or – “Round One… FIGHT!”


I’m gonna say it now and get it out of the way:


There… I feel better now. Last time around, Iron Fist’s lawyer, Jeryn Hogarth, was kidnapped by the Steel Serpent (aka Davos, failed Iron Fist candidate.) Before Daniel could respond, his former teacher Lei Kung The Thunderer and the August Personage in Jade, the leader of the city of K’un Lun showed up to draft him into a legendary fighting competition… To the amazement of his friends, Iron Fist went with his old mentor, leaving Jeryn out in the cold. More secrets of the Book of Iron Fist are revealed, and a pretty awesome new character arrives, when you hit the link…

IF1.jpgPreviously, on Immortal Iron Fist: Daniel Rand had thought for his entire career that he was unique, that he was the only bearer of the power of the Iron Fist. To his surprise, his immediate predecessor, Orson Randall, arrived in New York carrying a mysterious book which carries the secrets of the Iron Fist powers, lost for decades. Fighting alongside Orson, Iron Fist learned that even the uses that he has found for the power of Shou Lao pale before what it can actually DO. In battle with the forces of Hydra, Orson finally gives up his life in heroic fashion, just before Danny’s old mentors arrive to take him back to K’un Lun to participate in the inter-dimensional tournament of ultimate doom. Since returning home, Daniel has immersed himself in the book of the Fist, as we learn the story of his father, Wendell. The elder Rand literally climbed a mountain to find the lost city of legend, a city where his son now rests…


Healing has always left Fist drained in the past, but now, thanks to the wisdom of the book, it’s an effortless process. Lei-Kung arrives to take him to the August Personage, and Danny marvels at the techniques in the book. Lei-Kung tells him that only those with the power of the Iron Fist can even read the book, and they cross the city together. The locals can’t help but stare at Danny, knowing that he has returned to represent them. Once in the presence of Yu-Ti, Danny is told how the tournament will go. “In each city resides an immortal weapon, like yourself, with their own icon and fighting style. Each as unique as you, Iron Fist.”


With that question, we flash back to Wendell, awakening in a bed in K’un Lun. Lei-Kung tells him that he’s been asleep for four days, and when he attempts to touch the boy, finds that Wendell isn’t untrained, as the lad blocks his blow with skills that betray who his teacher was. Taken under the wing of the Thunderer, Wendell is invited to spar with Lei Kung, mostly to prove what he already knows to be true…


“…a book that the Thunderer himself had written.” Wendell is surprised to find how easily he is bested by his teacher’s teacher, and joins the acolytes of Lei-Kung. “Karate is a thing of the spirit. Kung fu, Tae kwon do, jujitsu, judo… These are not physical practices, but spiritual pursuits. This is not a school. It is a temple.” When he splits them into pairs to spar, Wendell pairs up with one particular student… a young man named Davos. Whatever happened to him, you ask? He’s a particularly spectacular breed of asshat, these days…


“…time waits for no man. Especially in the K’un Lun mountains.” We see that Davos has forced them to build some sort of bridge, or structure, for whatever evil aims the Steel Serpent has in mind. Meanwhile, not far away, Danny channels his chi into a scrying vessel, to see where his lost friend is located, and can’t believe when it tells him “about twenty yards thataway.” He can’t believe that Jeryn is actually IN K’un Lun, but before he can check into it, Lei Kung shows up to take him to the big hoedown.


“No one ever does.” Heh. On the way to the castle that serves as the battleground, Yu Ti finally lets the other shoe drop: failure in this tournament will lock K’un Lun out of the celestial rotation, keeping them in limbo for half a century rather than the customary decade. As they enter the temple, Daniel gets the lay of the land, surveying his potential opponents, while Scorpion hides nearby ready to strike, and the mysterious Khameleon peeks in a window. The other six cities are represented by…


Looks like K’un Zi is “Raiden” the other cities’ talent. Heh. See what I did there? Anyways, Iron Fist leaps up at the sight of Steel Serpent, but is held back by a mortified Yu-Ti. The Crane Mother of K’un Zi mocks him about controlling his man, but he shoots back with “Says one who has to purchase [their warrior.]My warrior’s anger is JUST, if inappropriate at this time.” I.F. is quickly calmed, and the tiles are thrown to decide who will show off, fighting 100 “Shaolin Terror Priests” as an appetizer. The winner? The awesomely named Fat Cobra. If I had my way, that would be my nickname, but as Isaac Jaffee once so wisely noted, you can’t give yourself a nickname. Either way, the big man steps up to the plate, and even Daniel Rand has to take a breath.


Danny is stunned to see that the servant girl has ice blue eyes, but before he can say anything, Lei-Kung tells him to focus on his potential opponent. One super “SUMO THUNDER STOMP!” later, and the priests go flying. Fat Cobra may be gravitationally enhanced, but he’s faster than a greased stripper in a trailer park on Saturday night. When the hundred foes have fallen, the tournament begins in earnest, and Fat Cobra is allowed to choose his opponent.


Why does the Prince of Orphans get a bye in the first round? Doesn’t hardly seem fair, does it? Either way, the brackets are locked, and even though I suspect it won’t be an easy fight, we can guarantee that Iron Fist will face Steel Serpent again, and THEN have to take on the winner of the other round, assuming he can even deal with the power of the sumo. This oughta be good.

For everything bad I might have said about Fraction’s writing on The Order, I can take it all back and fire it the other direction at high speed. Matt and Ed Brubaker’s writing on this issue is note-perfect, from the flashbacks to the combat sequences to the awe-inspiring introduction of the other warriors (what, no Johnny Cage?) and the art by David Aja is awesome as always. (Roy Allan Martinez handled the flashback sequences with Wendell, and they’re just as well done…) It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around what’s cool here, a synthesis of superhero comics, Enter The Dragon, the good parts of Mortal Kombat, with a more realistic historical context than we sometimes get from big dumb chop socky fights. Once again, Iron Fist #8 wows me. Seamlessly integrating its various influences, Iron Fist #8 is even better than the last, scoring a mighty impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars. If you’re not reading this one, I can’t help you.



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.


  1. I had no idea that Iron fist was a member of the Arashikage Ninja clan…..does Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow know? Lei Kung must have been the one ninja we never saw in the G I Joe Marvel run.

  2. C’mon, the Prince of Orphans is SO obviously the Goddamn Batman.

    Fat Cobra is a pretty sweet name. Dog Brother #1 isn’t bad either. I think that’s what Michael Vick used to call Marcus, actually…

  3. I had no idea that Iron fist was a member of the Arashikage Ninja clan…..does Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow know? Lei Kung must have been the one ninja we never saw in the G I Joe Marvel run.

    Lei Kung wears Hexagram 30 of the I Ching, ‘Radiance.’ (According to the wiki, some of it’s variant transactions include “the clinging, fire” and “the net”. Its inner trigram is ☲ (離 li2) radiance = (火) fire, and its outer trigram is identical. The origin of the character has its roots in symbols of long-tailed birds such as the peacock or the legendary phoenix.) The I Ching is a system of cosmology designed to understand and interpret the phenomena of the universe.

    It’s really no surprise that Lei Kung would be into it, sharing, as he does a name with a legendary figure of Chinese mythology.


  4. I love you for reviewing this title. Iron Fist is like in the top 5 books Marvel is putting out right now in terms of quality. I think Fraction’s Punisher’s War Journal is pretty good too. So what’s up with The Order? Well, 2 out of 3 isn’t that bad….

  5. Iron Fist is easily the Marvel Highlight of the Month for me. I’m totally drawn into the amalgam of mysticism, martial arts, and superhero-ness. I told my brother about this title and he shrugged it off, 8 issues later he too is in love.

  6. I guess the Prince of Orphans gets lucky, since there are only seven combatants, so there has to be one odd-man out.

  7. Everytime Iron Fist beats someone in the tournament, he should yell “Fatality” and rip their spines out. For entertainment value.

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