I have recently read Immortal Iron Fist Vol. 1: The Last Iron Fist Story and lo, it was good. I love the martial arts, and therefore have a natural soft spot for ninjas, samurai, and general ass-kickers. Iron Fist has always been one of my favorite characters (his formerly ludicrous outfit notwithstanding).
His kung-fu was strong, and he was always ready to hang out with his super-best pal Luke Cage. In addition to the allure of the martial arts angle, I like the street-level heroes. Maybe the Moon Knights and Daredevils of the world don’t get quite the attention that their more galactically-oriented colleagues do, but I sure like ’em. True, Batman gets to play with the Justice League but he always strikes me as out of his element. This isn’t true of Iron Fist. He Keeps it Real. Which is no mean feat for a billionaire. Matt Fraction keeps it real, too. In the latest adventure, we get snippets of the exploits of past men and women who wore the green and gold of Iron Fist creating a sense of legacy for Danny Rand. He may have grown up in a mystical Shangri-la called Kun Lun and mastered mad skills, but he wasn’t the first. Over the course of this story he finds out about his immediate predecessor and has to learn quick even as he goes up against the hordes of Hydra and prepares to enter a mystical Mortal Kombat. This comic felt like a cool eighties movies. Ninjas, terrorists, pulp heroes, opium, kung-fu and even a touch of boardroom intrigue await the reader. It doesn’t feel too rushed, and the art by David Aja really sells the look and feel of the world Iron Fist inhabits. The fight scenes are fluid and retain a sense of the improbably awesome while still holding a veneer of realism. When Iron Fist kicks a hydra ninja in the head, it looks as though it hurts like a kick to the head should hurt. And he gave the character a much-needed redesign:
My only real complaint about the collection is that it is only the first six issues and seems like it didn’t need the hardcover treatment.