Iron Fist the Living Weapon

Kaare, Kyle, Andrews

SPOILER ALERT!

I will most certainly be SPOILING!

When offered life, he chose death.

For fans of Daniel Rand and his more playful side, especially as depicted in Heroes for Hire or the Immortal Iron Fist you may be shocked at this new and darker champion from Kun Lun. From the first page, we see a Daniel Rand that feels burnt out. Everything from his narration to his shadowy portrait suggests that he is struggling.

For readers who are new to the martial arts part of the Marvel universe, specifically Iron Fist, the origin is provided, although with a more zealot-like, desperate attitude coming from the senior Rand.

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Through the vapid dialogue from the blond that is interviewing our hero, and his still postured silence, the mood is one of going through the motions. Add to that the skewed angles and one particularly gruesome faced driver, the world begins to take on a dirty feel, such as the world of Jhonen Vasquez’ Squee and Johnny the Homocidal Maniac series. Some of the art is also ominous and beautiful, adding a kind of sinister bend to the already detached mood being cultivated by the writer.

 

 

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The reveal of Danny’s realization about his father’s madness explains the mood being developed, and it hits home in a big way. The reader is now aware that they are viewing a man struggling against his own madness. During katas that are meant to make him feel normal, Rand notices a threat and leaps unexpectedly through the window.

It is noteworthy that the only time his thoughts take on any kind of humor, meaning he seems more like his original loveable self, is when he is in the throes of combat. There is something epic about a hero falling with no way to stop him save improvisation. He is being attacked by some kind of modern ninja and is thinking about them as if they are an inconvenience more than anything.

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The next close up offers a familiar look of madness in his face, and he immerses himself in the combat. Iron Fist’s solution to the ninja’s is both eloquent and witty, including the wit of the poetic turn of phrase that followed. The lull in the action is short lived as a more frightening ninja, undead and robotic according to Daniel Rand. This fight is more about illustrating the issues with his Iron Fist and comedy more than showcasing his dueling prowess.

The final event in the comic is simply a child from Kun Lun delivering a message to their absent champion;

“Mister Fist.  I find you.  Tell you important…big time…big time message.  Get back.  Get back to Kun Lun.”

…before succumbing to the wounds of several arrows in the back. It is hard to imagine what would be more chilling than that child’s final message, but the comic ends with exactly that.

Daniel Rand decides to go home. The word home is the only word on a page depicting his father falling to his death amidst a blizzard.

The stark depressing feel of this new Iron Fist series was startling, even if the art was incredibly beautiful. His detachment and complete focus on violence is a dark turn for the character, despite his lethal and combative history. There is poetry amidst the narration that enhances and underscores the art, be it the loneliness of repetition or the violence of kicking a robot zombie ninja’s head off, in true martial arts epic tradition.

My rating 5 /5