Comic Book Review: Iron Fist #5

Iron Fist continues to be a consistently good read. Brubaker and Fraction are weaving a gripping tale on this title. There is no doubt in my mind that Iron Fist #5 is going to be another excellent read. Let’s hit 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 in 1933 at the sacred ground where the lords of the seven capital cities of Heaven convene and celebrate that which is their most holy duty. Crane Mother demands recompense for the actions of the Iron Fist.

Yu-Ti refuses to turn the Iron Fist over to the Crane Mother. That the Iron Fist has left K’un-Lun and has immersed himself in one of man’s bloodier conflicts. That it changed the Iron Fist. That the Iron Fist refuses to fight to defend the honor of his city.

Crane Mother states that Yu-Ti has allowed the Iron Fist to sully millennia of tradition and that he must pay. The council agrees with the Crane Mother.

We cut back to present day with Danny Rand and Orson kicking ass on a bunch of Hydra soldiers. During the fight, Orson finds a glowing book that he had hidden in his father’s underground station. Orson comments that he may have failed Wendell Rand, but that Orson won’t fail Wendell’s son. That the book is the history of the Iron Fist.

Orson then fires up one of his father’s trains and smashes into the rest of the equipment in the underground station causing the entire underground station to blow up. The two Iron Fists manage to escape while the Hydra soldiers get blown up in the explosion.

We shift to the two Iron Fists crawling out of a manhole onto the streets of New York. Orson hands Danny the glowing book. Orson says that the book is the history of the Iron Fist and that it is made from the scales of Shou-Lao. That is why it glows when an Iron Fist touches it. That they all draw their power from the same source.

Orson says that the book has the secrets of their Kung Fu from the very first Iron Fist all the way up to the present. Orson tells Danny to read the book because he will need it for what’s coming next. That they will come after Danny just as they came after Orson.

We flashback to Orson meditating in front of the glowing book. The other six of the seven immortal weapons attack him and hold Orson down on the ground. The female immortal weapon says that Orson’s transgression means that he shall be stripped of his station.

To Orson, his station was his life. Orson snapped like he was having a WW I flashback and killed the female immortal weapon with one strike. Orson took the book and fled K’un Lun. Orson has been on the run ever since.

We sip back to the present with Davos at the airport greeting all the women sent by the Crane Mother to power Davos’ abilities. One of the women tells Davos that if he fails the Crane Mother then they will consume his soul. Davos loads all the women up in several large limos and tells the drivers to head to Rand Corporate Headquarters.

We cut to Orson telling Danny that there are seven immortal weapons. That Danny will be asked to fight them one day soon. Orson says that he hoped that without the book of the Iron Fist that the line of Iron Fists would have ended with Orson.

Orson says that the Crane Mother and the city of K’un-Zi have been planning this for decades. The Iron Fist destroyed her immortal weapon and she only gives birth to one immortal weapon ever three hundred years.

Orson reminds Danny that Danny’s lord and master is Yu-Ti whether Danny likes it or not. That this bloodshed and surviving the chaos that comes with it is what it really means to be an Iron Fist. That all of these are their sins. That Orson gave Danny the instruction book on how to survive it.

We cut to Hogarth meeting with Luke Cage, Misty Knight and Colleen Wing. Hogarth tells them that Wai-Go has Hogarth’s mom kidnapped and that they sent him one of her fingers. Hogarth asks them to help him. Luke tells Hogarth not to worry and that they are on the case. We then see a bunch of Hydra soldiers appear outside the window of where Hogarth is meeting with Luke, Misty and Colleen.

We shift to Danny and Orson entering an abandoned building. Danny mentions how Rand Corp. owns more buildings in Manhattan than anybody else in the world. That they are all connected and lead to home in one way or the other. That Danny is a super hero and he needs to get from point A to point B fast and since he can’t fly, he has all of these buildings.

The two Iron Fists get into an elevator that takes them back to Rand Corp.’s headquarters. When the elevator doors open, Davos, the crane women and a bunch of Hydra soldiers are all waiting for them. Davos tells Iron Fist that his destiny has arrived. End of issue.

The Good: Iron Fist #5 was another excellent read. I am surprised at not only how good Iron Fist has been, but how incredibly consistent this title has been with the first five issues. Brubaker and Fraction are doing an amazing job with the story on Iron Fist. I don’t know which man is more responsible for the success of this title. What I do know is that Brubaker and Fraction are a great team and they compliment each other rather well.

Iron Fist #5 is a well paced issue. Brubaker and Fraction manage to blend in plenty of action along with tons of dialogue heavy dramatic scenes. Brubaker and Fraction certainly are giving us a well plotted story. The writers have a clear long term vision for Iron Fist and are moving forward in a measured pace with a definite purpose.

We also get plenty of solid dialogue in Iron Fist #5. The dialogue has an excellent natural flow and makes reading the issue enjoyable. Each character has their own fully developed external voice. The good dialogue continues to lend to some nice chemistry between Orson and Danny.

Of course, if Brubaker is involved with a comic book, you know that you can count on some phenomenal character work. Brubaker has always been committed to the principle that strong character development is the foundation in which to construct a storyline around. Other writers will rely on witty repartee or non-stop action. Not Brubaker.

Every character is fully developed and very intriguing. I absolutely love Orson’s character. I totally dig his “bitter broken down warrior” shtick. Orson is a total bad-ass and his violent and traumatic past only adds even more depth to his character. I liked that we finally got even more insight into Orson’s past in this issue. Orson has a serious set of balls to steal the Book of the Iron Fist.

It is a shame that Orson is probably slated to be killed off in this story arc. After all, I don’t think that Marvel wants more than one Iron Fist running around the 616 universe at the same time. That is too bad, because Orson has a haunting quality to him that makes him a very engaging character. Plus, Orson would make a great mentor to Danny who can move in and out of the story in order to provide sage advise to Danny.

I really dig Danny’s character. I have always liked Iron Fist, but thought that Danny had a rather generic and vanilla personality. Brubaker and Fraction are remedying that by making a concerted effort to flesh out Danny’s character and give Danny a more distinctive personality. Danny becomes more fully developed and interesting with each issue.

I love the idea of Danny owning more buildings in Manhattan than anyone else so that he can get back to Rand Corps’ building no matter what part of the city he is located. It is a cool concept that Danny uses his secret underground system in order to get from various parts of the city quickly. It certainly compensates for the fact that Iron Fist can’t fly.

I love how Brubaker and Fraction are fleshing out the Iron Fist mythos into something complex, textured and intriguing. I have become completely fascinated with the entire history and mythos of the Iron Fist. Brubaker and Fraction certainly have captured my undivided attention. This also makes Iron Fist an even more mesmerizing character.

The Lords of the seven capital cities of Heaven are a neat concept. I like all the drama and intrigue between the various Lords. I also dig that there are seven immortal weapons, one from each of the seven capital cities of Heaven. This should lend for some interesting future story arcs as Brubaker and Fraction can have Iron Fist cross paths with the other various immortal weapons.

The Book of the Iron Fist is an awesome concept. This is another cool move to make the Iron Fist mythos even more detailed and interesting. Plus, this book is the perfect literary device to give Danny a power boost as he will be able to increase his powers. I like it when characters increase their power levels as they learn and master new abilities.

The majority of Japanese fighting manga are all centered on the main character constantly receiving power upgrades and attaining new levels of abilities and strength. Iron Fist, being a King Fu based character, is the perfect title for employing this style of character growth. It will be fun seeing all the new things that Danny learns from this book.

Of course, even though Brubaker and Fraction put forth a concerted effort on strong plotting, good character work and quality dialogue; don’t be mislead that they don’t know that Iron Fist is still a Kung Fu title. And that means Action. Lots of ass-kicking action. Brubaker and Fraction make sure that Iron Fist #5 has plenty of action to keep the reader entertained.

The Bad: I have no complaints about this issue.

Overall: Iron Fist #5 is another incredible read. I am shocked at how much of an Iron Fist fan I have turned into. Brubaker and Fraction deserve plenty of praise for their wonderful work on this title. I wholeheartedly recommend giving Iron Fist a try. It is certainly worth the cover price.