Comic Book Review: Iron Fist #2

The Revolution really enjoyed Iron Fist #1. I dig the writing combination of Brubaker and Fraction. Their styles compliment each other and they mesh well together. Aja’s artwork fits this title like a glove. Brubaker and Fraction have wasted no time getting this story arc off to a fast start. I’m confident that Iron Fist #2 is going to be another good read. Let’s hit the review.

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

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

Synopsis: We begin with a flashback scene to 1545 A.D. and see Wu Ao-Shi, the Iron Fist of this era, defending the port of Pinghai Bay from a fleet of pirates. We then shift to the present and see Iron Fist falling to the ground after being taken down by the Hydra robot. Iron Fist passes out and then wakes up a couple of hours later at Luke Cage’s apartment. The Night Nurse tells Luke that Danny is all right and should make a quick recovery. Suddenly, Danny passes back out again.

Danny wakes up again and says he blacked out for a second while his chi realigned itself. Luke tells Danny he was out for three hours. Danny says that is impossible. It never takes that long.

Danny and Luke then eat some cheap Chinese take out food. Danny says this reminds him of their old times together. Luke then asks Danny if he heard about Misty Knight. Danny says no. Luke gives Danny a flier advertising the services of the new Heroes for Hire. Luke tells Danny that Misty is working for the pro-registration side. We then get treated to your standard issue Civil War dialogue. Misty is working for “the man.” Misty is a Narc. Misty is a Nazi. Blah blah blah.

We then cut away from the dull Civil War dialogue and see Randall arriving at an airport in America. Randall uses his chi to pull of a Jedi mind trick on the customs officer and does the whole “These aren’t the droids you are looking for” shtick. The customs guard is “persuaded” that everything is in order and lets Randall into the country. Suddenly, Randall is approached by some cops who tell him that they saw what he just did. That he can come with them or go back to Thailand and whatever waits for him there.

Randall gets into a police car with the police officers who are nothing more than thugs working for Davos. One of the thugs contacts Davos to tell him that they have Randall. The thugs talk in Chinese. Randall then busts one of the thugs in the face and causes the police car to crash. Randall then breaks out of the police car and makes a run for it.

We cut to Danny practicing using his Iron Fist to destroy his two Wing Chun wooden dummies. Jeryn walks in the room and informs Danny that Wai-Go is attempting a hostile takeover by buying up tons of Rand Corp via various shell companies and subsidiaries. Danny realizes that the hostile takeover is really being done by Hydra who own Wai-Go. Suddenly Danny falls to the floor and grabs his right hand in pain.

We cut to Randall summoning his Iron Fist into his right hand. One of Davos’ thugs grabs an old lady and threatens to kill her if Randall doesn’t surrender himself. That her blood stain will be on his hands if he doesn’t surrender. Randall thinks how no matter ho far and fast you run, you can’t outrun the blood.

Randall then has a flashback to June 23, 1916 in Fort Souville, France. Randall is in his Iron Fist costume and is helping the French soldiers battle the German forces. We then shift back to the present time with Randall standing in the middle of the street with a vacant look on his face and the bloodied body of one of the thugs at his feet and several overturned cars around him.

Another one of the thugs does a flying kick at Randall and Randall uses his Iron Fist to tear the thug in half with one punch. Randall thinks how the sound of the thugs heart bursting hi his chest brings him back out of the tidal wave of blood that is his past and into the moment where there is nothing but the blood and him. The immortal Iron Fist.

We then cut to Danny lying on the floor of his gym holding his twitching right hand. Danny thinks that this doesn’t make sense. That someone else is using the Iron Fist.

The Good: Iron Fist #2 was another fine read. I’m really impressed with Brubaker and Fraction’s strong start to this title. They have wasted no time kicking off this story arc and laying the foundation for several interesting plotlines.

I dig the Wai-Go hostile takeover of Rand Corp. Having Hydra being the true owner of Wai-Go only makes this plotline even juicier. It should be interesting to see how Daniel manages to fend off the hostile takeover at the same time with trying to foil whatever nefarious plan Hydra is plotting.

I also love the plotline involving the older Iron Fist in Randall. First off, Randall is just a cool character. Randall has that eerie haunting quality to him that many soldiers who face ferociously bloody combat have. I love the concept of a shell shocked, tormented and broken down Iron Fist who is running from some horrible act in his past. The life of continual violence has clearly made Randall a mere shell of a man. I can’t wait to learn more about Randall’s character.

Since there is only supposed to be one Iron Fist at a time, I think it is pretty clear that Randall is slated to be killed off during this story arc. That sucks, but I think it is inevitable. Having said that, it is going to be fun to watch Danny come face to face with another Iron Fist. This has the makings of a very exciting plotline.

I think that the fact that whenever Randall uses the Iron Fist that it has an adverse affect on Danny. The first time Danny passes out when Randall uses his chi to play mind tricks on the customs officer. The second time, Danny experiences pain in his hand when Randall uses the Iron Fist in his hand. This is a pretty cool twist on the Iron Fist powers. And it makes perfect sense. If there is only supposed to be one Iron Fist at a time then it is logical that when one Iron Fist uses the chi powers that the other Iron Fist would feel drained.

This leads me to my next point. I love how Brubaker and Fraction are amping up Iron Fist’s chi powers. I always thought it was weird that Danny could only use his chi to make his fist like iron. I figured that he should be able to us his chi in numerous ways just like a Jedi can use the force in numerous ways.

Well, Brubaker and Fraction evidently agree. I thought it was wicked cool seeing Randall use his chi to play a Jedi mind trick on the customs agent to get him to approve Randall’s entry into America with no questions asked. I also like that the Iron Fist power has been seriously increased in destructive ability. No longer is Iron Fist’s hand like iron. Randall is able to literally blow apart that one thug with his Iron Fist. That was just sick. Brubaker and Fraction are making Iron Fist’s powers not only more powerful but also more creative and interesting.

It was cool to see Danny and Luke together again. As a fan of the old Heroes for Hire, Danny and Luke go together like peanut butter and jelly. And Brubaker and Fraction quickly created some good chemistry between these two characters. Having said that, I think that sometimes you can’t go home again. I hope that Iron Fist stays just Danny’s title. Both Danny and Luke have grown up and formed their own independent identities from the old Heroes for Hire. Some occasional team-ups would be cool, but I would leave it at that.

I am enjoying all the completely unrelated flashback scenes of the various Iron Fists through out the ages. I think it is a cool way to give the reader a nice sense of the long and proud history of the Iron Fists. We also get a chance to check out some pretty cool Iron Fists who each have their own distinctive styles.

Brubaker and Fraction craft some fantastic dialogue. The dialogue has a pleasant natural flow to it. Brubaker and Fraction are doing a nice job developing Danny his own unique and multi-layered personality. I think that Iron Fist has always suffered from a lack of his own well developed personality while Luke Cage benefited from a lot more character development since their old Heroes for Hire title. Brubaker and Fraction are doing a good job of finally giving Danny some much needed character development so that he can grow into his own distinctive personality.

Brubaker and Fraction delivered a well plotted issue that was an enjoyable mix of action and dialogue. This should be of no surprise as Brubaker is a master of delivering very balanced issues. The inner dialogue, especially with Randall, is just beautifully written and is almost poetic in its rhythm.

The pacing is deliberate and it gives a nice feeling of tension to the story arc like something is just about to explode. It is also nice to see a story arc that is clearly focused and is progressing in a nice steady fashion.

Aja provides more solid artwork. His style is a great match for the mood of this title. I also like that they switch artists for the flashback scenes. It is a nice tool to help the reader shift from the current story arc that has a gritty realistic modern feel to it and the scenes set in the past.

The Bad: When the story stuck with non-Civil War dialogue it was great. However, the bit of Civil War related dialogue concerning Misty Knight and the new Heroes for Hire was boring. We got treated to the same standard issue generic crap that we get in every other Civil War tie-in issue. Pro-registration side is the “man.” They are narcs. Nazis. Yadda yadda yadda. It was uncreative, dull and uninteresting. This was the only part where the dialogue seemed tired and mind numbingly predictable.

Overall: Iron Fist #2 was a great read. Brubaker and Fraction have quickly hooked me on this title and made it one of my favorite Marvel titles to read. I definitely recommend giving Iron Fist a try. It doesn’t matter if you never liked this character before or not. If you dig what Brubaker has done over on Daredevil and Captain America, then you will certainly enjoy Iron Fist.