The Immortal Iron Fist: The Origin of Danny Rand 1 (October 2008)

Thank goodness Marvel felt the need to recolor the first two appearances of Iron Fist with some terrible glossy digital coloring from Andrew Crossley. Someone with time on his or her hands should do a comparison between Crossley’s “modern” colors here and the originals from Marvel Premiere. Oddly, there’s a classy opening from Fraction and Kano–I think that opening must be Fraction’s last work on Iron Fist–and Kano does his own, non-glossy colors. The origin issues hold up pretty well. Both Thomas and Wein write in the second person, which makes the whole experience–learning about K’un-L’un, Iron Fist’s origin, Danny … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist: The Origin of Danny Rand 1 (October 2008)

Immortal Weapons 5 (January 2010)

You know who David Lapham can’t write? Danny Rand. You know who he has as his de facto protagonist? Danny Rand. John Aman—the Prince of Orphans—is secondary to his own issue. Lapham even writes an adventure for Danny and Luke with a wacky miniature villain. I guess Aman gets the opening scene but…. Worse, it’s like Lapham never even read Brubaker and Fraction’s Immortal Iron Fist issues with Aman and Danny to get the relationship down. He just makes Danny a pest—it’s like he’s writing Spider-Man as Danny Rand. I guess it’s an okay story for not being any good … Continue reading Immortal Weapons 5 (January 2010)

Immortal Weapons 4 (January 2010)

There’s the Swierczynski I was expecting… turning in a completely useless issue. Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter gets the feature. Swierczynski’s so wrapped up in his Amazon warrior women story he neglects to mention a) the name of the Heavenly City and b) how they could possibly have an Immortal Weapon. It’s nonsensical, but also bad. Swierczynski tries real hard not to be sexist, but fails miserably. I also like how he borrows the reasoning for some Muslim women taking the veil (so their features aren’t their defining factor) as the warrior women putting on face guards. However, these warrior women are … Continue reading Immortal Weapons 4 (January 2010)

Immortal Weapons 3 (November 2009)

Who’s this Rick Spears guy and why have I never heard of him before? His origin of Dog Brother #1 is fantastic. He opens it in late nineteenth century Hong Kong, where Dog Brother is something of a myth. Spears’s protagonists are these two orphans, trying to navigate the gangs, the British and the poverty. It’s sort of incredible how subtle Spears’s writing manages to be, given everything going on in the story. Eventually, whether or not Dog Brother #1 has anything to do with the story doesn’t matter anymore. Spears gives his protagonists this tragic arc. He never pushes … Continue reading Immortal Weapons 3 (November 2009)

Immortal Weapons 2 (October 2009)

What a stinker. The whole thing plays like a bad Marvel horror comic from the seventies, with a team of mercenaries (they have matching outfits, of course) out to retrieve a spider. It’s not any spider, it’s one of the Bride of Nine Spiders’s spiders. There’s a bit of a continuity break, showing the Bride to always be beautiful, when in Immortal Iron Fist flashbacks she wasn’t shown as such. So, it’s an action horror comic instead of a kung fu horror comic. Bunn’s writing is occasionally okay—his dialogue is fine—but he’s establishing all these characters in a single issue. … Continue reading Immortal Weapons 2 (October 2009)

Immortal Weapons 1 (September 2009)

Could this story be more depressing? Aaron does a decent job on Fat Cobra’s backstory—though he doesn’t go enough into defining Fat Cobra’s Heavenly City. He buys his way back into it at one point and buying one’s way back into a Heavenly City seems a little common. Then there’s all the retconning of Fat Cobra into Marvel Comics history. He was almost an Invader, he was Ulysses Bloodstone’s sidekick and so on and so forth. Aaron’s trying to hard to be cute. When we get to the end of the story and find out the salient feature of Fat … Continue reading Immortal Weapons 1 (September 2009)

The Immortal Iron Fist 27 (August 2009)

Swierczynski’s Iron Fist goes out with a whimper. He mimics Fraction’s last issue on the title. I’m not sure Swierczynski should have gotten to close, since he was just following Brubaker and Fraction–not to say his writing wasn’t occasionally quite good, it was just never original. Foreman goes back to inking himself (I think) and it looks a little better than usual. It’s a dark, emotive style. Until the Lapham pages. They look out of place and, worse, lazy. Swierczynski is more concerned getting Danny to the last page–expecting a baby, financially ruined–than doing it in any realistic manner. One … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 27 (August 2009)

The Immortal Iron Fist 26 (July 2009)

Oh, come on. I think Foreman’s the bigger problem, but Swierczynski really does completely fail when it comes to a good conclusion. He has a dramatic cliffhanger, but it’s a confusing one (one the previous page implies is unlikely). But worse, he fails to deal with K’un-L’un. He changes the status quo again and abandons it. He really has no idea how to pace an issue. He goes for dramatic effect with brief, intense moments… then leaves them hanging. He doesn’t follow through to make them solid. But, like I said before, the real problem is Foreman. Even with someone … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 26 (July 2009)

The Immortal Iron Fist 25 (June 2009)

As usual, Swierczynski manages to pull the story around after a weak move. Here, he reveals the old impostor to be nothing but a temporary ruse, something to distract Danny (and the reader). Then we get the full story. Then the Immortal Weapons start kicking butt. Swierczynski is best when he utilizes the Immortal Weapons, so it makes little sense why he keeps them on the back burner for most of his issues. Danny’s a strong protagonist, but Swierczynski can do only so much with him. He’s still resolving old plot threads, he can’t go forward. So giving him people … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 25 (June 2009)

The Immortal Iron Fist 24 (May 2009)

What a cheat. Swierczynski can write the fill in issues–with the past Iron Fist adventures–just fine. So how does he follow up one of his lamer issues? With a charming fill in issue with Kano art. Genocide aside, it’s delightful. This Iron Fist is a pacifist–whose pacifism eventually costs the lives of millions, so I guess we know where Swierczynski stands on that issue–and it provides a different kind of Iron Fist story. The majority of the issue is spent preparing the Iron Fist. He only gets the job, basically, because everyone else is sick. Swierczynski also does a little … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 24 (May 2009)

The Immortal Iron Fist 23 (April 2009)

I think I’ll start with Foreman. He usually does an all right job, but he ends this issue on a terrible full-page panel of the (supposedly) first Iron Fist. He’s got this old guy warped to fit in the panel, his body proportions and perspective a complete mess. It’s terrible finish to the issue because it’s supposed to be scary. Instead it’s weak. The issue opens with the revelation Davos is untrustworthy. It’s not clear if it’s just him or if it’s the Thunderer too. Swierczynski has a very strange storytelling method for Iron Fist. He contracts things Brubaker and … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 23 (April 2009)

The Immortal Iron Fist 22 (March 2009)

This issue features the second time Swierczynski has taken some leftover Brubaker and Fraction thread and determined everyone knew about it except Danny. The Eighth City? The Thunderer knew about it all the time–he could have told Danny about it, back when Danny told him what he was about to do. This issue Davos shows up to send Danny and the Immortal Weapons to the Eighth City on a mission from the Thunderer. As the Thunderer forgot as well he and Danny had already talked about this quest. But there’s a bit of a problem with the Eighth City, even … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 22 (March 2009)

The Immortal Iron Fist 21 (February 2009)

This issue might be Swierczynski’s best. It’s one of the done in one other Iron Fist issues and Swierczynski does something a little different. He does a future story. It really nicely fits the mythology Brubaker and Fraction established, while some descendant of Danny’s becoming the youngest Iron Fist. But the Iron Fist of the future isn’t the protagonist, it’s a young girl growing up on a really lousy planet, apparently colonized by the Chinese (they know to call K’un-L’un for help). It’s an all action issue, with a lot of tension, and Swierczynski does a fantastic job with it … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 21 (February 2009)

The Immortal Iron Fist 20 (January 2009)

Okay, Swierczynski is finally back on track. Forgetting the special, he’s now written more good issues of The Immortal Iron Fist than mediocre or bad. This issue resolves—maybe a little too conveniently (it should have taken eight)—Danny’s possible death at thirty-three. It also gets the search for the Eighth City back underway and brings in the Immortal Weapons to a more central role. Not sure how much of it is Swierczynski’s fault for not plotting the arc right or if Fraction just left him with too much to do. Swierczynski puts a solid bow on the whole thing, but all … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 20 (January 2009)

The Immortal Iron Fist 19 (December 2008)

Oh, there are other Immortal Weapons? Wonder if their appearance has anything to do with the issue working. Just as Swierczynski gets out of his writing rut—well, I’m not sure if that’s an accurate description—he returns to a decent approximation of Brubaker and Fraction’s run on the title, Foreman just plummets. He goes through maybe four different styles here, but the unifying factor is his people look different from panel to panel. Not like he forgot a facial characteristic, more like in one panel he draws one as a toad and in the next as a butterfly. It’s awful looking. … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 19 (December 2008)

The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Death Queen of California 1 (November 2008)

So Swierczynski’s take on Orson Randall is basically to take a big steamy crap all over the work Brubaker and Fraction did on the character. Either Swierczynski didn’t read their comics or he just didn’t understand them. I’m sort of leaning toward the latter, just because it’s a meaner sentiment and this comic put me in a foul mood. Swierczynski is a crime writer, so I guess the lame, anachronism-filled “hard boiled” narration of Orson in late twenties Los Angeles (in a James Ellroy thriller, actually) is intentional. Again, Swierczynski doesn’t get the character or how to narrate his adventures … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Death Queen of California 1 (November 2008)

The Immortal Iron Fist 18 (October 2008)

Okay, either Swierczynski is covering for Foreman or Foreman is covering for Swierczynski here. There simply is not enough story this issue. It’s not so much a pacing question, it’s just… almost no story. Luke, Colleen and Misty rescue Danny from the guy who’s out to get him (a demon, I think), Danny recuperates, cliffhanger at Danny’s kung fu school for kids. Some scenes in K’un-L’un, establishing everyone but Danny knows about the Iron Fist-killing demon. Oh, and that new hire at Rand, the one I said was a bad guy? He’s a bad guy. I’m not quite given up … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 18 (October 2008)

The Immortal Iron Fist 17 (September 2008)

Swierczynski’s approach to Iron Fist is to continue the Brubaker and Fraction format. We even get Heath doing the flashback art. There’s one big difference. First is how Swierczynski structures the villain in the issue. He’s not mysterious. We get his story right away. And his motivation is pretty straightforward. He’s the guy who kills the Iron Fists at thirty-three–it’s kind of like Halloween: H20, but on a thirty-three year cycle. Also strange is the way Swierczynski continues from the previous issue. He does a direct sequel (though a few pages are prologue to it). So the last issue has … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 17 (September 2008)

The Immortal Iron Fist 16 (August 2008)

So as Fraction departs–he leaves the next team with a lovely pickle. All the work he and Brubaker did leading up to this issue, the establishing of the Iron Fist history and all… it equals all Iron Fists dying at thirty-three? Did I mention this issue is a birthday issue? Aja’s back and he does a lovely job as we catch up with Danny in the weeks following the last issue. He’s rearranging his business, getting even more Jedi with his Iron Fist readings, giving Misty romantic ultimatums, setting up community outreach with Luke…. It’s a great epilogue issue (one … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 16 (August 2008)

The Immortal Iron Fist 15 (July 2008)

Fraction does another of those untold tales of a previous Iron Fist stories this issue and it works pretty well. He’s got a lot to get in here–he has to establish the Iron Fist (this one uses the power to expand his tactical thinking), set the ground situation (he’s fighting the British in China in the 1700s or thereabouts) and then come up with a plot. The plot’s unexpected–it’s a lot more DC than Marvel, with an impotent Iron Fist teaming with a similarly afflicted Indian hero as they quest for freedom and glory. Well, maybe not glory, they’re off … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 15 (July 2008)

The Immortal Iron Fist 14 (June 2008)

This issue basically brings Brubaker and Fraction’s story to its finish (Brubaker leaves after this one, Fraction hangs around for a little coda then is off). It’s an outstanding issue, both fantastic on its own and as a conclusion to the story arc. Brubaker and Fraction have more pages here and the issue shows they probably should have had this kind of room the entire time. Aja is gone at this point, so it’s up to Kano and Zonjic (I didn’t even notice Mann’s pages) and they do a great job. As Wendell Rand’s story comes to an end quietly … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 14 (June 2008)

The Immortal Iron Fist 13 (May 2008)

It’s not the deepest issue, it’s probably not the best written, but it’s completely awesome. Everything comes together here (with the promise of a big fight next issue). Unfortunately, Aja’s not along for the ride. Instead, it’s Zonjic doing most of the art. He’s a lot like Javier Pulido. He’s fine, but I was used to Aja on the title. Brubaker and Fraction get in a lot more about K’un-L’un here, stuff they probably should have made clear a lot earlier. The book moves real fast–this issue’s fight sequence is between Davos and the Thunderer, but otherwise it’s mostly talking … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 13 (May 2008)

The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death 1 (April 2008)

Fraction takes on the writing chores here solo but since it’s an Orson Randall story set in the thirties and forties, it’s kind of hard to tell what not having Brubaker around does to it. The majority of the story feels like it takes place in Germany, when Orson shows up at Frankenstein’s castle. I haven’t seen Marvel use the Monster of Frankenstein in a while; Fraction does a great job with the cameo. The art on that section is from LaRosa and Gaudiano and is the best in the issue. The art’s all pretty good, except Breitweiser. Even he … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death 1 (April 2008)

The Immortal Iron Fist 12 (February 2008)

Is there even a fight this issue? Wait, yes. Davos gets beat up for being a tool last issue. The art chores are apparently getting to be too much for Aja, as Javier Pulido fills in on some of the pages. Pulido covers the stuff with Luke, Misty and Colleen, but also some of the K’un-L’un stuff… so it’s not like there’s any rhyme or reason to it. In fact, at the beginning I just thought it was Aja trying a new style. Pulido’s great… so great one might wish he was doing the whole book. Kano does the flashbacks, … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 12 (February 2008)

The Immortal Iron Fist 11 (January 2008)

I feel like I’m missing something. It seems like Yu-Ti (the “mayor” of K’un-L’un) is secretly bad, but I’m not sure if it’s in the comic or if I’m just remembering it. I mean, he seems really bad. But he could just be a sexist jerk too. Some more great Kano art for the flashback, this time concentrating on Davos. The flashbacks work differently here, with them being intercut a lot less organically. It’s jarring–it comes in the middle of a tournament fight–but effective. Danny briefly teams up with Luke, Misty and Colleen to fight some Hydra agents. It’s barely … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 11 (January 2008)

The Immortal Iron Fist 10 (December 2007)

It’s nice Danny gets the cover, because he’s not in the issue at all. The intrigue really starts coming together here, with the Thunderer revealed to be in some secret society with Orson’s daughter, terror priests (guessing priest has a different connotation in K’un-L’un) sent out into the world to hunt for Danny, the Hydra bad guy getting busy with his attack, the Thunderer and Davos’s unspoken family problems… the list goes on and on. Not to mention Misty’s GPS doesn’t work! Plus there’s a tournament match, which shows off the nastiness of one of Danny’s (presumed) future opponents. The … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 10 (December 2007)

The Immortal Iron Fist Annual 1 (November 2007)

Are there really enough Howard Chaykin fans out there to make getting him to fill in desirable? His work has gotten so shoddy over the last ten years, it’s stunning. But even with Chaykin on the modern stuff, this issue is just fantastic. It’s very hopeful and glorious–Brubaker and Fraction reveal Orson Randall had a whole gang of adventurers with him and they had adventure after adventure. Iron Fist as a pulp hero, with a good measure of Indiana Jones thrown in. Brereton and Djurdjevic do the flashback material; they work well, the painted finishes giving the adventures a nostalgic … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist Annual 1 (November 2007)

The Immortal Iron Fist 9 (November 2007)

Koblish’s flashback pages start all right, but in the second set, he draws Wendall Rand rapidly punching and it looks like he’s got eight arms. It really drags one out of the narrative. The principal story, with Danny losing his match in the competition so he can go out and save the world, moves a little fast. We find out the blue-eyed K’un-L’un girl is really Orson’s daughter (or she says she is… Danny sort of just accepts it). There’s almost nothing with anyone else in K’un-L’un, though there are some hints of personality coming through. It’s hard to tell … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 9 (November 2007)

The Immortal Iron Fist 8 (October 2007)

The big Enter the Dragon fight competition starts off here… only there’s not a matched fight. Instead, we get to see Danny in K’un-L’un. It’s interesting, sort of, to see Danny trying to acclimate. But he’s mostly trying to figure out what’s happened to Jeryn (his mix of Alfred and Lucius Fox). Turns out Jeryn’s building a thing for Steel Serpent–I kind of remember this arc and they’re definitely up to no good, like bringing a capital city of heaven down to earth. The flashback art (to Danny’s father) is from Martinez and he does a good job. He does … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 8 (October 2007)

The Immortal Iron Fist 7 (August 2007)

Fraction and Brubaker take a break here to focus on one of the previous Iron Fists. They present the story like a fable and get really cute with it. I don’t think the cuteness necessarily has to do with the Iron Fist in question being female, but because she’s got a goofy, sweet but stupid boyfriend. He’s funny. Actually, there’s a lot of humor in it. Even narrative humor, with a joke in a text box. Probably because dealing with the tale of pirates isn’t going to be fun unless you get in some jokes. It works as an issue–I … Continue reading The Immortal Iron Fist 7 (August 2007)