Comic Book Review: Immortal Iron Fist #7

Iron Fist continues to totally blow away The Revolution. Brubaker, Fraction and Aja have been nothing short of spectacular on this young title. Iron Fist has quickly risen all the way to the top as one of my favorite Marvel titles that I’m currently reading. Unfortunately, it appears that Iron Fist #7 is a filler issue sporting tons of guest artists. That doesn’t bode well for the chances of me enjoying this issue. Let’s hit this review for Iron Fist #7.

Creative Team
Writers: Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction
Pencilers: Travel Foreman, Leandro Fernandez & Khari Evans
Inkers: Derek Fridolfs, Francisco Paronzini, Leandro Fernandez & Victor Olazaba

Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Wu Ao-Shi being tied up and punished by a shopkeeper for stealing some of his food. Wu Ao-Shi then takes out the shopkeeper with one kick. Lei Kung the Thunderer notices something special in Wu and decides to train her to be the next Immortal Iron Fist.

We see Wu undergoing brutal training. One day, while she is eating a bowl of rise, a young fisherman offers her some of his fish since she seems hungry. The two end up falling in love with each other. One day the fisherman finds two silver rings inside of a fish he caught. The fisherman and Wu exchange the rings and vow to be married.

We cut to Wu undergoing the ritual of battling Shou-Lao the Undying. Wu wins the power and becomes the next Iron Fist. We shift to Wu and her fisherman husband in bed. Wu charges their rings with her chi so that as long as it glows, he knows that she is alive.

The fisherman realizes that he is a simple man and that Wu is going to be the Immortal Iron Fist. That their lives are too different and that he wouldn’t ask her not to be the Iron Fist, but that he can’t live with watching her risk her life time and time again. So the fisherman leaves late in the night while Wu sleeps.

The fisherman leaves K’un-Lun. Wu then tells Yu-Ti that she is also going to leave K’un-Lun and go to man’s world. Yu-Ti is highly annoyed at Wu and exclaims that women are infuriating. Wu enters the world of man and searches for her fisherman lover, but can’t find him. In the mean time, Wu uses her abilities to beat people up for money.

We then see the fisherman living Pinghai Bay where bloodthirsty pirates attack and terrorize the locals. Word reaches Wu that pirates had taken over Pinghai. Wu decides she must protect the innocent and pays a visit to the Pirate King in Pinghai. Wu fights the Pirate King’s harem and then gets overwhelmed by the Pirate King’s pirate soldiers.

We cut to Iron Fist tied to a cross and left to die. The fisherman arrives and frees her. Wu then leads another attack on the Pirate King. Wu unleashes chi energy arrows from her energy bow and succeeds in defeating the pirates and liberating Pinghai Bay.

Wu is then reunited with the fisherman who decides they cannot prevent themselves from being how they are and should at least live each day happily. Wu and the fisherman end up having four children. Unfortunately, Wu did not live for a long time. And when Wu died she became the last woman to hold the title of the Iron Fist. The reason for that is a story for another time. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Brubaker and Fraction certainly served up plenty of action in Immortal Iron Fist #7. I loved Wu’s chi powered energy bow and arrows. That was just sick. I am really digging how Brubaker and Fraction have seriously expanded the power of the Iron Fist. Back when Iron Fist’s only ability was to turn his fist to iron, I was pretty unimpressed with his character. But, now, the incredibly creative ways that Brubaker and Fraction have devised for an Iron Fist to use their power has made Iron Fist a much more intriguing character.

I’m rather curious as to why exactly Wu is the first and the last female Iron Fist. I hope that Brubaker and Fraction take the time at some point down the road to address this dangling plotline.

The Bad: Despite the nice action, the fact is that Iron Fist #7 was nothing but pure filler. This was a pointless and wasted issue. This issue was nothing more than an opportunity for Aja to take a rest and get his art done for the upcoming story arc.

I disliked the cheesy and annoying narrator that tells the reader the story in this issue. I kept expecting to see Jiminy Cricket appear at any moment. I understand what Brubaker and Fraction were trying to achieve by using this style of deliver, but it just didn’t work for me.

I found Wu to be a rather one-dimensional and shallow character. There was nothing about her character that was intriguing. At no point did I care if she lived or died. I also thought that the love story was generic and dull. At no point did I even remotely care about Wu and the fisherman and if they would stay together or not.

The entire story in Iron Fist #7 was fairly predictable and unoriginal. I felt that I was watching one of those cheesy Kung-Fu movies from the 1970’s and that I had seen this story a million times before.

The artwork was average. I don’t like art by committee (with the obvious exception of Epting and Perkins on Captain America) and none of the artists that worked on this issue have a style of art that appeals to me. The one good thing is that at least the different artists didn’t have styles that were jarringly different.

Overall: Immortal Iron Fist #7 was exactly what I expected it to be: a dull one-shot issue that was nothing but filler. The good thing is that the next issue kicks off the new story arc about the big tournament that Danny has to fight in. It should be a fantastic story arc and next issue is the perfect time for new readers to jump aboard this title. You won’t be disappointed. Immortal Iron Fist is definitely one of Marvel’s strongest titles.

2 Comments

  1. This strikes me as a very Fables approach to filler issues; you don’t read Fables, so I’ll explain that: every now and then, whenever the regular artist needs to take an issue off, writer Willingham throws in a completely irrelevant story (albeit that occasionally introduces relevant information) set in some part of the history of Fabletown. So, we get an issue about the history of Fabletown’s Smalltown (where all the Lilliputians from “Gulliver’s Travels” live), an issue about Cinderella’s career as an assassin/secret agent (relevant to later issues), a whole issue dedicated to answering minor questions from fans in a collection of one- or two-page stories, etc.). In this case, the approach seems to be to tell the stories of past Iron Fists; it’s a neat concept, I think, and opens the door to a lot of interesting time periods. If you think of it only in terms of the larger picture, then, yes, it is filler, but I think it can be enjoyed as history-building (and on its own terms).

  2. On Fables, my advice would be to read the trades first, because it’s really the kind of series that needs to be read from the start to be fully enjoyed (if you’re looking to get an idea of whether or not you like the series, the second trade “Animal Farm” is a better starting place than the first one, “Legends in Exile”, which is a decent introduction, but doesn’t really give you a full idea of what the series can be like).

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