Comic Book Review: The Immortal Iron Fist #4

Iron Fist has really impressed The Revolution. Brubaker and Fraction make an excellent team and then are cranking out a wonderful read. This title has gotten off to a hot start and has quickly become one of my favorite reads. I’m sure that Iron Fist #4 is going to be another quality read. Let’s do this review.

Creative Team
Writers: Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction
Artist: David Aja

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Orson Randall telling Danny Rand how Orson’s father accidentally crashed his revolutionary flying ship into K’un-Lun. Orson’s mother was pregnant with him at the time and birthed him a few weeks later in K’un-Lun.

Orson was accepted as a native born and was taught by Yu-Ti and trained by Lei Kung the Thunderer who also trained Danny. We see Orson and Danny getting suited up in their Iron Fist costumes. Danny questions why Orson has two pistols with him. Orson comments that Danny knows nothing about the history of Iron Fist. That Wu Ao-Shi could power her bow and arrows with her chi and create a rain of fire.

Orson comments that the chi of Shou-Lao isn’t a river that happens to flow into you, you are a river that flows into it and it is an ocean. That Danny has no idea how deep he can go.

We see Orson and Danny in The Underworld beneath the city. They are making their way to Orson’s father’s pneumatic subway station.

We cut to Wai-Go headquarters. We see Davos taking down a bunch of Hydra soldiers in a training exercise.

We cut back to Orson and Danny. Danny comments how he has mastered the hypnotic fist technique that Orson showed him. Orson asks if Danny knows where his family’s fortune came from. Danny responds that his father made his money in the markets.

We flashback to Orson’s origin. We see him becoming Iron Fist and gaining the power of Shou-Lao. Orson then understood what it meant to be Iron Fist. That being their champion would bring only death. Orson was now a living weapon. Orson left K’un-Lun and experienced death in the scores during World War I. Orson returned to K’un-Lun and was changed. That his adopted home didn’t understand what Orson had become until he fled the city.

We cut back to the present. Danny says that he has no idea how many Iron Fists came before him. Orson says that there have been sixty-six men and women who have carried the mantle of Iron Fist. Orson asks if Danny ever wonder’s why his father wasn’t one of them. The two Iron Fists then arrive at Orson’s father’s Five Points Station. It is the crown jewel of his father’s empire of hypothetical science.

We cut back to Davos, the Steel Serpent, kicking ass on more Hydra soldiers. Davis is the son of Lei Kung the Thunderer. That Davos was defeated by Wendell Rand. Still Davos dared to face Shao-Lao the Undying. Davos was then cast out of K’un Lun forever. Davos fought Danny Rand and tried to steal Danny’s chi. The attempt failed and it was thought that Davos had died. However, Davos returned to life.

We see Davos absorb the two women who can turn into cranes and use them as energy to take out the rest of the Hydra soldiers and then call out to his mother that he is ready.

We cut to Wai-Go President, Mr. Xao talking on the phone to Hogarth. Hogarth says that Rand Corp. will agree to build the maglev trains in return for Wai-Go calling off the hostile takeover maneuvers of Rand Corp. Mr. Xao says that it was just the maglev technology that was out of their reach. That the rest of Rand Corp. is useless to them. Therefore, Xao agrees to call off the hostile takeover maneuvers.

Hogarth says that he has the construction plans for the ultramagnetic track cutting across the K’un-Lun Mountains. Hogarth then asks to speak to “her.” Xao responds that Hogarth may not speak to “her.”

We cut back to Orson and Danny at Five Points Station. Suddenly, a bunch of Hydra soldiers attack. Danny says it is time for him to see Orson’s “Gun-Fu.” Orson responds that his Gun-Fu is lightning from God. We then see the two Iron Fists opening up a huge can of whup-ass on the Hydra soldiers.

We shift back to Davos calling for his adopted mother. Davos says that he will require at least a dozen more of her daughters since he is functioning at his peak and will require as much fuel as his mother will be willing to provide.

We see the Crane Mother appear in the room. The Crane Mother says that the price they paid to bring Davos back to life was worth it. That Davos is their champion, their living weapon and their defender of the ancient and venerated city of K’un-Zi.

Davos vows to kill Orson Randall and Danny Rand.

The Good: Brubaker and Fraction do it again. Iron Fist #4 was another excellent read. I am so impressed at what a wonderful job Brubaker and Fraction have done on this title. I was never a huge Iron Fist fan growing up. I mean, I thought he was neat because I loved Kung Fu and watched Kung Fu Theater ever Saturday. But, I never really went nuts for Iron Fist. I could take him or leave him.

Therefore, when I first heard about this new Iron Fist title I didn’t really expect much from it. Iron Fist was a minor character that had a failed 15 issue solo title run and then an average run on Power Man & Iron Fist. And since that title was cancelled, Iron Fist has pretty much languished in ambiguity. I figured that this new version of Iron Fist would probably meet the same fate as his earlier solo title.

I certainly wasn’t expecting anything great with this title. Damn it if Brubaker and Fraction haven’t proven me wrong. And curse Brubaker from taking another character that I had mild interest in and making me a huge fan of that character. Brubaker did that to me over on Captain America and now he is doing it again with Iron Fist. Well done

Iron Fist #4 was a well paced issue. Brubaker and Fraction do an excellent job blending action scenes with heavy dialogue scenes. The result is a nicely balanced issue that has a great flow and moves at a steady pace.

Iron Fist #4 is also well plotted. And that should be a surprise to anyone who has read Brubaker’s other titles. Brubaker is a master plotter who knows how to carefully and patiently construct a delightfully detailed and complex story arc with a clear direction and purpose.

Fraction and Brubaker’s styles are similar since they are both crime drama writers who work best when operating at street level. This allows the two writers to create a well designed and unified mood and style on Iron Fist.

Brubaker and Fraction deliver some fantastic character development. All of the characters on this title are nicely fleshed out and fully three dimensional characters. Brubaker and Fraction have done a nice job giving Danny Rand more personality in these first four issues than he has had in a very long time. I always thought that Danny had a rather one-dimensional personality. Not any more.

Brubaker and Fraction have also done an excellent job with Orson Randall. I absolutely love Orson’s character. I dig any kind of broken down, burned out, battle scarred and bitter hero. And Orson delivers that in spades. Brubaker and Fraction present such an intriguing character in Orson. He is weighed down by the heavy mantle of the Iron Fist. Brubaker and Fraction wisely use Orson as a literary tool to get across to the reader the power and responsibility of being an Iron Fist.

And you can’t have a good comic book without a strong and appealing villain. Brubaker and Fraction have certainly given us that in the form of Davos, the Steel Serpent. Davos is a wickedly cool villain.

I dig this new Crane Mother. She is a pretty interesting character. Having her from a rival city of K’un-Zi certainly adds a whole new dimension to this story arc. This is classic Brubaker. Constantly cranking up the tension.

Each character has their own personal external voice that enables that furthers the development of each character. Brubaker and Fraction both are capable of crafting strong dialogue and Iron Fist #4 is no exception. The dialogue is well done and has an excellent flow.

Brubaker and Fraction have done a fantastic job fleshing out the mythos of the Iron Fist. I love the concept of various men and women assuming the mantle of Iron Fist. We learn in Iron Fist #4 that there have been sixty-six Iron Fists in all through out history.

Brubaker and Fraction also do a cool job increasing the power of the Iron Fist. That the power of Shou-Lao is not a river that flows through an Iron Fist. That the Iron Fist is a river that runs into Shou-Lao that is an ocean. And that Danny only knows a small fraction of the true power of Shou-Lao.

We see Danny mastering the Hypno Fist and see how Orson uses his chi to power his guns. I dig that Brubaker and Fraction are seriously boosting the power of the Iron Fist. It helps to distinguish and elevate Iron Fist’s character from the rest of the street based fighting/martial arts themed characters. I’m interested to see what other cool tricks Danny can do with his Iron Fist power.

We get more information about Orson’s past as well as some teasers about Danny Rand’s father. Evidently, Danny Rand’s father got his money from some other source other than the market. Or at least by some other means. Orson also delivers the cryptic question of why Danny’s father was never an Iron Fist. These are two very interesting plotlines that have piqued my interest. I’m interested to see where Brubaker and Fraction go with these two plotlines.

Brubaker and Fraction also tease the reader with another plotline that involves Hogarth and a mysterious female. Hogarth begs to ask to talk to a “she.” Just who does Mr. Xao have captive that would have a connection to Hogarth? This is a cool little plotline and I’m excited to see where it leads.

Aja provides plenty of strong artwork for this issue. Aja’s style is an excellent match for this title. I dig the dark and eerie look he gives this title. Plus, Aja does a great job drawing the physical manifestation of the Iron Fist power.

The Bad: No complaints at all with this issue.

Overall: Iron Fist #4 was another quality read. Brubaker and Fraction continue to deliver a well written story that is boosted by Aja’s artwork. Iron Fist has quickly become one of Marvel’s best titles currently on the market. I highly recommend giving Iron Fist a try. It is such a well done comic book.