Iron Fist did not have the best mainstream debut with his Netflix series being a big disappointment. Luckily that hasn’t been the case with the latest comic book adventures for Danny Rand. Quietly, Iron Fist has quickly become one of the more enjoyable ongoings that Marvel is producing. Ed Brisson, who I wasn’t familiar with before this series, has delivered an intriguing story around a martial arts tournament Iron Fist has found himself in the middle of. Now Iron Fist is ready to end things as the tournament he has taken part of is coming to a close in a very dangerous way. Will Danny survive this tournament? Let’s find out with Iron Fist #5.
Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Mike Perkins
Colorist: Andy Troy
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Iron Fist is led to a tower where he is being accused of killing Hark. Iron Fist tells the council that Choshin killed Hark but the council does not believe him.
Rabbit backs Iron Fist up on claiming Choshin killed Hark. The council still don’t believe him. Iron Fist gets frustrated and is tired of what the council are trying to do by stealing his chi to return to K’Un-Lun.
The Wolf speaks up and says that he and Iron Fist will go through one last trial to the death.
A little later The Wolf and Iron Fist are placed in an arena with a giant crowd gathered to watch their fight.
The Wolf goes over his history and why he believes Danny is a false Champion of the Iron Fist. He talks about how Quan Yaozu became the first Iron Fist while he was given a title that meant he would never become the Iron Fist. Eventually Yi-Ti got seduced by the outside world and decided to intentionally lose to Orson Randall and make him the next Iron Fist. The Wolf did not accept this and was replaced by someone who would help create the next Iron Fist.
The Wolf says that the title of Iron Fist was never meant for outworlders and Danny is not worthy of carrying the title. Danny says he earned the Iron Fist title and will show the Wolf that right now.
Iron Fist and Wolf begin their fight with Wolf easily countering Iron Fist’s attacks and lands his own strong strikes in the process. After some time Iron Fist is able to finally land a blow on Wolf.
Just as Iron Fist starts getting some momentum Choshin has his men shoot Iron Fist with several arrows to the chest. Before Choshin can have his men kill Iron Fist, Wolf steps up and takes Choshin down. Wolf tells Choshin he has tainted the name of Iron Fist and labels him as a traitor to be locked away.
Iron Fist tells Wolf he still wants to finish their fight so he can prove that he is worthy of the title. Wolf agrees and they begin their fight again. Iron Fist catches Wolf’s first strike and begins landing blow after blow on Wolf until he is knocked down. Even though he is down, Wolf refuses to yield.
Rabbit stops the fight after Iron Fist pounds Wolf unconscious. Rabbit claims Danny proved himself the true Iron Fist.
Sometime later, at the pier Danny admits that K’Un-Lun is probably in bad shape and he wants to get back before it causes damage to their world. Rabbit tells Danny that the “Book Of The Iron Fist” will have the answers Danny is looking for to return to K’Un-Lun.
Danny then sails back home proud that he proved he is worthy of the Iron Fist title. End of issue.
The Good: “The Trial Of The Seven Masters” closed out strong with Ed Brisson and Mike Perkins finding a way to elevate Iron Fist as a character alongside building a world for readers to get invested in. The world building of “The Trial Of The Seven Masters” was at it’s best with Iron Fist #5. That world building is not completed as Brisson and Perkins leave the door open for many more stories centered around the mysteries of K’un-Lun.
The way Brisson concluded “The Trial Of The Seven Masters” was extremely well executed. As I mentioned earlier, Brisson left the door open for a lot more stories to be told. From the Divine Wolf not yielding when Danny defeated him to Choshin being left alive and sent to prison, there is plenty of things to be followed up on. Gaining the Rabbit of Holy Flame as an ally helped strengthen what Brisson is doing to add to Danny’s world beyond the universe filled with superheroes he exist in.
Leaving things in a grey area during the tournament helped create an environment around the final fight between Danny and Divine Wolf that everyone was against Danny. It made this final trial have a big fight feel, especially with Divine Wolf towering over Danny. The fight, as with the others Danny has taken part in during this arc, was given time to show how strong both fighters are. Allowing the fight to have a conclusion with Danny coming out on top drove home the fact that Danny did earn the title of Iron Fist.
The fight also help build Divine Wolf as an intriguing character to show up at a later point. Though portrayed as antagonist it was good to see that he wasn’t made to be a villain. Instead Divine Wolf was given ample time to be a powerful wall that Danny Rand had to overcome before he could move on from this tournament. The honor that Divine Wolf showed as he explained his own backstory helped frame why he has been so antagonistic against Danny and the Iron Fist title.
Through all of this Mike Perkins once again shines with his artwork. Iron Fist #5 is a big showcase for Perkins as he flexed his muscle, delivering some great choreographed fights. Perkins does an excellent job fitting a plenty of action in a short amount of time. Even though the fight between Iron Fist and Divine Wolf took place over the course of several pages it felt like a full issue worth of fighting with how brutal their strikes were. At the same time, Perkins did well in elevating the dialogue heavy scenes as Brisson has characters explaining things to Danny Rand.
The Bad: The way Choshin was so easily discovered after how he covered things up and framed Danny for killing Hark felt like Brisson ran out of time. There should’ve been more to everyone discovering Choshin was the man responsible for Hark’s murder. And the way it went down with Divine Wolf taking Choshin down and taken into custody did not have the impact it should have. With how many interesting characters that “The Trial Of The Seven Masters” developed Choshin turned out to not be one of them.
Overall: Iron Fist #5 delivered a strong end to “The Trial Of The Seven Masters.” Ed Brisson and Mike Perkins put Danny Rand through hell to make him prove that he has earned the title of the Iron Fist. Now moving forward, Brisson leaves the door open to further explore what it means for Danny to carry the mantle of the Iron Fist and what it means within the Marvel Universe.