Comic Book Review: Immortal Iron Fist #8

Last issue of Iron Fist was a boring read that was just a filler issue to burn time between the first story arc on this young title and this new story arc that we get with Immortal Iron Fist #8. Brubaker and Fraction have done an amazing job on this title and there is no doubt in my mind that Immortal Iron Fist #8 is going to be a blast to read. Let’s go ahead and 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 a flashback scene of Wendell Rand searching through the snowy mountains for the mystical city of K’un L’un. Wendell arrives at the gates of the city and then collapses.

We zip back to the present with Danny studying the Book of The Iron Fist and using his chi powers is ways never imagined. For example, Danny uses his chi powers to heal himself of all his wounds from the last story arc.

Lei-Kung the Thunderer comes and gets Danny as they go to meet with Yu-Ti. They appear before Yu-Ti who proceeds to tell Danny that every eighty-eight years the seven heavenly cities align in a heavenly convergence and hold a mighty tournament. That sections of each city join together creating the Heart of the Heaven, a palace where their contests take place. That each heavenly city has their own immortal weapon with their own icon and fighting style.

Yu-Ti says that during the last tournament, the Iron Fist (Orson) decided not to fight and killed another city’s champion and then fled. This ended the tournament in disgrace for K’un L’un. Yu-Ti then asks Danny if he has any questions. Danny then asks Yu-Ti why Danny’s father didn’t become the iron Fist.

We flashback to Wendell waking up in a bed. Lie-Kung stands before him and tells Wendell that he made it to K’un-L’un. Lie-Kung asks Wendell to spar with him. Lie-Kung immediately recognizes Orson’s fighting style in how Wendell fights. Lie-Kung tells Wendell to hide deep inside his mind his thoughts of Orson. That Yu-Ti would be outraged to find out that Orson was not long dead. Lie-Kung takes Wendell before Yu-Ti who welcomes Wendell to K’un L’un.

We see Wendell begin his training under Lie-Kung. Wendell finds a new home in K’un-L’un and a new teacher in Lie-Kung the Thunderer. And Wendell finds a new friend in fellow student, Davos.

We cut back to the present and see Jeryn Hogarth and Mr. Xao in the mountains of K’un L’un. Davos contacts them via a video screen. Davos tells Hogarth that he wants an update. Hogarth hold up four fingers and says they have four problems. The first being Hogarth having to supervise construction of a theoretical project. The second is that they are in the Himalayas, the third is that the crew is inexperienced, the fourth is that the crew doesn’t speak English. Davos reminds Hogarth what else has four fingers: Hogarth’s mother. Davos then signs off.

Hogarth tells Xao that Davos is asking for the impossible. We see the giant bridge construction site. Hogarth tells Xao that Danny will save him. Xao replies that Danny won’t be able to this time since he is indisposed.

We shift to Danny meditating in front of a small pond. Danny thinks how Yu-Ti told him that now was not the time to discuss Danny’s father, Wendell. Danny then concentrates and asks where is the location of Hogarth. A small drop of water levitates from the pond and Danny sees the mountains of K’un L’un in the water drop.

Lei-Kung then silently appears and tells Danny that it is time for them to go. The two men then meet up with Yu-Ti who tells Danny that he will be fighting for K’un L’un’s place on the Earthly realm. That the tournament decides the order of the cities of heaven in the Celestial Clockwork and failure will lock them away from Earth for half a century, not a decade.

Danny, Lie-Kung and Yu-Ti then enter the Heart of Heaven Palace. We see the other heavenly cities leaders and their immortal weapons. You have Fat Cobra, The Bride of Nine Spiders, Dog Brother #1, Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter, The Prince of Orphans and the Steel Serpent (Davos).

Danny immediately gets up in Davos’ face and demands to know where Jeryn Hogarth is located. The Crane Mother tells Yu-Ti to control his Iron Fist. Yu-Ti responds that his Iron Fist’s anger is just even if it is inappropriate at this time.

The Crane Mother then says it is time to select one of the champions to entertain everyone in combat with one hundred of the best Shaolin Terror Priests. The champion selected is Fat Cobra.

Fat Cobra kicks all sorts of ass on the Shaolin Terror Priests. During the fight, Danny is distracted by one of the female servants. Lie-Kung tells Danny to concentrate on Fat Cobra and not girls. Danny realizes that Fat Cobra knows fighting forms that Danny has never seen before. Danny thinks how he has no idea how he would defeat Fat Cobra.

Fat Cobra finishes his exhibition. The Crane Mother then tells Fat Cobra to choose who his first opponent shall be. Fat Cobra says that since Iron Fist’s blood is clearly hot and eager for combat then he chooses the Iron Fist as his first opponent.

We then get the a bracket for the tournament listing the other matchups. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Iron Fist #8 was a fantastic read! Brubaker and Fraction continue to do an excellent job on this title. Iron Fist #8 was well paced and plotted. You can Brubaker’s influence on this title in the pacing and plotting. The story on Iron Fist is complex with several different detailed plotlines. The story is moving at a steady and measured pace while slowly but surely building tension in the reader. That is vintage Brubaker for you.

Brubaker and Fraction serve up plenty of well crafted dialogue. All of the characters are wonderfully developed. Brubaker’s trademark commitment to character development is certainly showing through on this title. Brubaker and Fraction are doing a nice job cultivating the personalities of Lie-Kung and Yu-Ti in order to establish them as important supporting characters for Danny. And I am definitely liking Lie-Kung the Thunderer more and more. He is one seriously bad-assed character.

I absolutely love the new ways that Danny is learning to use his chi powers. It is a brilliant move by Brubaker and Fraction to expand and grow Danny’s powers that have practically limitless potential to be used in so many different and creative ways. I dig that literary device of the Book of the Iron Fist in order to allow Danny to gain knowledge of new and original ways to use his chi powers.

This is very similar to how fighting mangas have characters study and progress in learning how to use their powers in different ways and receiving various power upgrades as the story progresses. Since I love fighting mangas, I obviously like how Iron Fist feels to be inspired by fighting mangas.

Brubaker and Fraction have certainly placed Jeryn Hogarth in a real pickle. The poor guy is stuck on in the Himalayas with what seems to be an impossible task to achieve while his mother is being held captive and having her fingers chopped off one by one. I’m interested to see what Wai-Go and Davos are up to with this project and how this plays into the bigger picture.

And what is up with the servant girl who got Iron Fist’s attention? Brubaker never does anything without a purpose. I’m sure we will see more of this plot as the story unfolds.

The entire storyline surrounding the tournament of the immortal weapons is fantastic. I love the fighting manga feel that this tournament has. I totally dig the concept of the seven cities and the tournament for position in the celestial clockwork. The location for the tournament being a palace made up of a piece of each of the seven cities is a pretty
cool setting.

Each one of the immortal weapons seem to step right out of a Japanese fighting manga or a Wuxia movie. This is one fascinating collection of characters. Each one has a neat distinctive look and theme. It should be fun watching each immortal weapon in combat and displaying their own unique fighting styles.

The tournament bracket at the end of this issue was classic! That is a trademark move that all fighting mangas employ. The beloved bracket shows up in so many mangas like my personal all time favorite manga, Kinnikuman. The bracket at the end of this issue was a nice touch. Watching Iron Fist work his way through these phenomenal fighters is going to be a blast to read.

I’m enjoying the flashback scenes about Danny’s father, Wendell. See connection to Davos. Excited to learn more about what happened with Wendell.

What is so amazing is the phenomenal job that Brubaker and Fraction have done each and every issue of fleshing out the Iron Fist mythos. Each issue further develops the Iron Fist mythos through a combination of the flashback scenes, further examining the world of K’un L’un, evolving Danny’s powers and developing Danny’s supporting cast. Brubaker and Fraction have managed to take a rather one-dimensional and cheesy Kung Fu character from the 1970’s and mold him into a rather intriguing character.

Brubaker and Fraction were wise to make a strong effort to expand upon the Iron Fist mythos and making it much more rich and complex. The world of K’un L’un and the legacy of the Iron Fist is becoming a more important and fascinating part of the 616 Universe.

Aja provides for plenty more of his usual excellent artwork. Aja’s style of art is the perfect match for the dark and otherworldly mood that Brubaker and Fraction are creating on this title. Aja is capable of cranking out some panels that are truly beautiful.

The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.

Overall: I have said it over and over and I’ll keep on saying it. Iron Fist is one of the best titles that Marvel is currently publishing. It is sad that the June, 2007 sales numbers had Immortal Iron Fist #6 only at the 58th place with 36,708 copies sold. That puts Iron Fist with lower sales numbers than so many grossly inferior titles. Immortal Iron Fist is a phenomenal read and is absolutely worth the cover price. I definitely recommend giving the Immortal Iron Fist a try.

3 Comments

  1. Great in-depth review. I’m not entirely certain last issue was simply “boring filler,” however. It really does look like they’re spinning a vast and grand involve tale where these between-arc stories will become vital later on…or maybe that’s wishful thinking; it’s still early in the series.

    I’m guessing I’d like it to be like Starman where most everything, even yesteryear flashback issues, come to be part of the main tapestry. But we’ll just haveta wait and see on that.

  2. Yo Rokk, I been coming to see your reviews for the longest time. Im new to comics but i never miss one of your reviews. I been hearing alot about Immortal Iron Fist and Im really looking forward to picking this one up, can ya give me a few pointers for a beginner to the Iron Fist comic. also im not a big fan of any of the marvel universe, i was hoping this title is all its own and doesnt features needless tie-ins and team ups.

    Thanks
    Joe

  3. I never got into manga in general and so I don’t really get the whole turnment thing. You already know it’s going to end up with Iron Fist and Steel Serphant, so the rest is just build. I don’t know, mmy friend tried last week to get me into it, but I keep going back to the Pokemon and the various turments they had there. (I had a girlfirend at the time who was in love with them and so I had to watch every episode) It’s all like “Pikachoo, I chosse you. Pie in the face attack, NOW! GO!” Michale Vic tried that and it did’nt end up very well for him.

    And Yugi, thats another one with the turemnets that I never got. They are fighting over cards.

    Anyway, the whole genere is lost on me. But it’s still a good read.

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