Comic Book Review: Iron Fist #6

Iron Fist has been a wonderful title and has definitely exceeded The Revolution’s expectations. Brubaker and Fraction make a great team. The quality of story on Iron Fist is so much better than the poor writing on Punisher: War Journal that it makes me believe that Brubaker manages to elevate Fraction’s game on Iron Fist. I am sure that Immortal Iron Fist #6 will be another wild read. Let’s do this review.

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

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

Synopsis: We begin with a flashback scene in Nepal where Orson is playing a game with the last Lightning Lord where Orson has to guess which of the three cups the Lightning Lord poisoned and pick one for Orson to drink and one for the Lightning Lord to drink. Wendell Rand, as a very young boy, tells Orson which cup the Lightning Lord poisoned.

The bartender of the bar who appears white then calls Wendell a “white boy” and tells him to get back to work. Orson has the Lightning Lord drink that cup while Orson drinks another. The Lightning Lord then dies from the poison.

Orson then calls Wendell “white boy” and thanks him for his help. Orson offers to buy Wendell a meal. Wendell shows off his feisty side, but agrees to Orson’s offer.

We cut back to the present with Danny and Orson brawling with Davos, the Crane women and the Hydra soldiers. We shift to a couple of floors above in the Rand building where Colleen Wing, Misty Knight (Who is kicking it like it is 1972, baby!) and Luke Cage are protecting Jeryn from a bunch of Hydra soldiers.

Misty comments for Jeryn to relax and that they are going to save his “lily white ass.” During the brawl, two Hydra soldiers grab Jeryn and get into the elevator. Colleen dives down the elevator shaft after them. Misty comments how she loves that “crazy white girl.”

We shift back to Orson and Danny fighting the Hydra soldiers, Crane women and Davos. Davos then absorbs the chi from the Crane women and powers himself up to an insane level. Davos then unleashes a furious blast of energy. Danny thinks how Davos wants to use his power in order to attain eternal life while an Iron Fist wants to use their power to attain honor in death.

We then see Davos attacking Orson. Orson smiles and then lets Davos strike the killing blow. Suddenly, the elevator doors open and we see Jeryn along with Luke, Misty and Colleen. Luke starts brawling with Davos.

Danny then goes to Orson’s side. Orson tells Danny to take his chi. That he will need it to stop Davos in the tournament. That Danny must touch Orson’s heart before he dies. Danny says that Orson can’t die yet. That Danny has too many questions, like is Orson his grandfather. Orson retorts for Danny to not be an idiot.

Orson’s chest explodes with energy. Danny reaches inside and touches Orson’s heart and absorbs his entire chi. Like you see in any quality Japanese manga, Iron Fist now has a serious power upgrade and faces off against Davos.

We flashback to Nepal with Wendell telling Orson that Wendell is going to go searching for K’un L’un. That Wendell is going to become the Iron Fist. Orson tells Wendell that the Iron Fist is a cures and K’un L’un will be the death of Wendell. Wendell retorts that he is a great fighter and he is meant for more than this.

We zip back to Iron Fist and Davos squaring off against each other. They attack and there is a massive explosion of energy that blasts out the windows of the Rand building. Davos comments that Danny is a cheat. Davos says that Orson Randall is dead and that Davos will meet Danny again in the arena where Danny cannot bend the rules. Davos then transports himself away.

At this point, Luke Cage notices that Jeryn is missing. During the commotion, the Hydra soldiers must have gotten away with Jeryn. Danny takes Colleen’s sword and asks one of the remaining Hydra soldiers where they took Jeryn. The Hydra soldier won’t answer. Before Danny can kill him, Lei Kung, the Thunderer and August Personage in Jade, lord of K’un L’un suddenly appear in the room.

Lei Kung tells Danny that the Seven Capitals move toward unison once again and the immortal Iron Fist shall fight for the honor of K’un-L’un in the Tournament of Heavenly Cities. Danny says he can’t go since Jeryn is missing. Lei Kung responds that those Danny seeks vengeance on will be found when the heavenly planes intersect and not before then. Therefore, Danny’s path lies nowhere but with them.

Danny then grabs the Book of the Iron Fist that Orson gave him and tells Luke that he has to do this on his own. That Orson was right. This was the fight Danny was born for. Danny then transports away from the scene along with Lei Kung and the lord of K’un L’un. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Iron Fist #6 was an awesome read! Brubaker and Fraction delivered a wonderfully paced issue. We got tons of action and this issue moved along at a fast pace. It was certainly a gripping read from start to finish.

Iron Fist #6 was also well plotted. Brubaker and Fraction have had a clear vision and direction from the first issue of this title. Brubaker and Fraction have done an excellent job constructing the storyline on this title. By the end of this issue, we neatly resolve the opening story arc and transition into the second story arc that builds nicely off the foundation of the first story arc.

What was so incredible about this issue was how Brubaker and Fraction have been able to deliver adrenaline pumping kung-fu action, but still give the reader strong dialogue and quality character work. Iron Fist is one of those rarities in the comic book market that is the combination of excellent writing and great action.

Brubaker and Fraction serve up plenty of fine dialogue. Each character has a distinctive voice, with the exception of Misty who comes off terribly stereotypical and straight out of a bad 1970’s movie. Brubaker and Fraction give us nice character work as most of the characters are well developed.

Brubaker and Fraction have done a fine job growing and cultivating Danny’s character into a well developed and interesting character. With the passing of Orson, we are about to see Danny take the next step in his character evolution. I’m glad that Brubaker and Fraction have taken this opportunity to really advance Danny’s character with this title. Many writers fail to do this when starting a new title for an already established minor character. Ghost Rider is a good example of that.

I’m also digging that Brubaker and Fraction have taken the approach of seriously bumping up Iron Fist’s power level. It makes Iron Fist a much more stimulating and impressive character. There are tons of superb hand-to-hand fighters in the 616 Universe. It was necessary to clearly distinguish Iron Fist from the rest of the hand-to-hand fighters.

Plus, watching a character work, train and fight in order to receive power upgrades is very reminiscent of Japanese manga. Being a big fan of Japanese manga, I dig seeing this style of character development being used on Iron Fist. It was definitely bad-assed when Iron Fist assumed Orson’s chi and got a powered up with his new power upgrade.

One of the best parts of Iron Fist is that Brubaker and Fraction have put plenty of effort into further fleshing out the Iron Fist mythos into something that is really compelling and captivating. I love all the intricacies, the different heavenly cities and their rituals and how they interact with each other.

I liked the flashback scenes that gave the reader some more insight into Orson’s relationship with Danny’s father. I’m very curious to learn more about Danny’s father and what happened with him at K’un L’un.

I definitely love the idea of a tournament between the heavenly cities. Again, being a fan of Japanese manga, I definitely love storylines that are framed around a fighting tournament. This tournament story arc should add more depth to the Iron Fist mythos and make for one action packed and fun story.

Plus, I’m glad that Brubaker and Fraction are taking Iron Fist out of the traditional role of yet another street based costumed super hero. The 616 Universe has tons of those types of characters. Instead, by placing Iron Fist in the mystical world of Kung-Fu and spiritual powers, Brubaker and Fraction have given Iron Fist his own distinctive feel. This helps separate and distinguish Iron Fist from all the other street based heroes in the 616 Universe. It also gives this title a unique feel that you don’t get on any other super hero title from Marvel or DC.

I was sad to see Orson die in this issue. I loved his character and thought him to be a great addition to the story. Of course, Orson’s death was painfully obvious and predictable. From the start, Orson was a necessary tool to give Danny a source of further knowledge about the history of the Iron Fist and a source for a serious power upgrade.

It was also great to see Danny’s old running mates appear in this issue and get involved in all the action. It just isn’t Iron Fist if Luke Cage, Misty Knight and Colleen Wing don’t make occasional appearances. And occasional appearance is the key. Iron Fist is going in a new direction and I don’t want to see just a re-hash of the old 1970’s Heroes for Hire.

Of course, what may have been the best part of this issue was the kick-ass action. It was some nicely choreographed fighting. The brawl between Davos and Orson and Danny was just sick. It was incredible when Davos powered up and unleashed his chi. And then when Danny countered with his power up and the two finally clashed, wow! My hairs on the back of my neck stood up.

We get a pretty good hook ending to this issue. Jeryn is abducted by Hydra and taken to an unknown location. Meanwhile, Danny is forced to leave his friends and go enter into some mystical tournament. I’m certainly excited for the next issue of Iron Fist.

David Aja cranked out some of the best artwork that I have seen from him. Aja simply draws Iron Fist and his chi powers better than any artist I have ever seen. Aja’s art creates plenty of kinetic energy and makes the story practically leap off the page at the reader.

The Bad: The repeated use of referencing the white skin of the white characters was just odd. The two white boy comments seemed very strange since the characters saying that term were also white. I don’t think I would ever refer to a fellow Hispanic boy as “Hey, Hispanic boy.” I’d just call him a boy.

And then you get Misty talking about saving Jeryn’s lily white ass and calling Colleen a crazy white girl. Would Brubaker and Fraction have made a white character say the reverse about a minority character? Probably not. And if that is the case then it is probably best not to do it at all.

It also made Misty seem ghetto and uneducated. And that isn’t the case. We know Misty is smart and certainly isn’t racist toward white people since she is Danny’s old lover. I guess Brubaker and Fraction were just trying to make Misty seem “street” and “keep it real.” Instead, the dialogue just came across as uneducated and stereotypical.

Overall: Iron Fist #6 was simply an excellent read. This title is a wonderful balance of action and drama. It also boasts equally talented writers and artist on the creative team. Iron Fist is one of the most balanced titles you will read. If you still haven’t given this title a try then definitely do so. I think that most readers will find that Iron Fist satisfies action freaks as well as fans of character and dialogue driven storylines.

2 Comments

  1. “The Bad: The repeated use of referencing the white skin of the white characters was just odd”

    If there wasn;t some honkey hating, how would you know that
    Matt Fraction actully worked on the book?

  2. Calling Colleen Wing (Jeryn Hogarth aside) a “crazy white girl” wasn’t only arguably racist, it was very inaccurate. Colleen has long been established as having a Japanese mother. And her father Lee Wing was probably at least half Chinese (nothing definitive but the Marvel reference I’ve seen on it said both Colleen and Lee “of mixed ancestry”). That would make her 3/4 or so Asian (which Misty Knight being her best friend would know), hardly a “white girl” crazy or otherwise. Like calling Barack Obama a “crazy white boy” because he had a mother of mostly Anglo-American background.

    Bad writing on the part of Brubaker and Fraction.

Comments are closed.