The Immortal Iron Fist 14 (June 2008)

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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 with him finding Orson, Danny gets to do these awesome stunts. It’s all very Star Wars, something Fraction hasn’t been able to do in a while and it’s fantastic. There’s just tons of spectacle and humor.

The writing makes this issue mainstream perfection.

Even Davos’s redemption works.

It’s simply fantastic.

CREDITS

The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven, Conclusion; writers, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction; pencillers, Kano, Tonci Zonjic and Clay Mann; inkers, Kano and Stefano Gaudiano; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Artmonkeys Studios; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Immortal Iron Fist 13 (May 2008)

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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 heads as everyone prepares for next issue.

It’s interesting how this story arc has had an annual and a special published alongside it, both essential reading to keep up. It suggests something big. I wish there’d been more specials, actually, for the supporting cast.

It’s a great issue.

CREDITS

The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven, Part 6; writers, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction; artists, Kano, Tonci Zonjic and David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Artmonkeys Studios; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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

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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 gets a little bit better as his pages progress, but he’s nothing compared to the earlier artists.

The issue balances exploring Orson’s adventures while still offering new information for readers of the regular title. Turns out the Thunderer’s revolution had been long planned.

There are plot holes, but who cares.

CREDITS

The Golden Age Iron Fist!; writer, Matt Fraction; pencillers, Nick Dragotta, Russ Heath, Lewis LaRosa and Mitch Breitweiser; inkers, Mike Allred, Heath, Stefano Gaudiano and Breitweiser; colorists, Laura Allred, Heath and Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Artmonkeys Studios; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Immortal Iron Fist 12 (February 2008)

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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, which feature Danny’s father fleeing K’un-L’un.

Brubaker and Fraction give the background on the revolution here. The Thunderer is going up against the ruler, Yu-Ti, who is revealed to be a tyrant. Shame they couldn’t foreshadowed it.

It’s good–there’s some great dialogue–but it’s real jumbled.

CREDITS

The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven, Part 5; writers, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction; artists, Kano, Javier Pulido and David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Artmonkeys Studios; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Immortal Iron Fist 11 (January 2008)

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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 a fight scene, so it’s not clear why he was worried about it. We also get to see the big Hydra plan–to attack K’un-L’un–and apparently Danny’s figured this out too.

It’s a faster read than usual, with Brubaker and Fraction experimenting with tone.

CREDITS

The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven, Part 4; writers, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction; artists, David Aja and Kano; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Artmonkeys Studios; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Immortal Iron Fist 10 (December 2007)

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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 flashback art is great this time–it’s Kano showing Wendell Rand in his pursuit of the Iron Fist mantle. It’s a shame Kano doesn’t get more work.

Brubaker and Fraction fill the issue; it’s a bridging issue for the arc–introducing the intrigue and drama–but it works great.

CREDITS

The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven, Part 3; writers, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction; artists, David Aja and Kano; colorists, Matt Hollingsworth, Aja and Kano; letterer, Artmonkeys Studios; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Immortal Iron Fist Annual 1 (November 2007)

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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 feel.

There’s very little about Danny Rand here, even though the story follows him to Orson’s now aged sidekicks at their retreat. He does have one action sequence–Chaykin manages to get some energy into that scene at least–but really he’s just listening to Orson’s adventures.

Lovely issue.

CREDITS

Men of a Certain Deadly Persuasion; writers, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction; artists and colorists, Howard Chaykin, Dan Brereton and Jelena Kevic Djurdjevic; letterer, Artmonkeys Studios; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Immortal Iron Fist 9 (November 2007)

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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 if Brubaker and Fraction just didn’t have space or if they wanted to be so abbreviated. When Luke, Misty and Colleen show up at the end (I’ll bet their paths cross with Danny’s eventually), it’s a welcome breather. The writers savor the scene.

It’s solid as ever.

CREDITS

The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven, Part 2; writers, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction; pencillers, David Aja and Scott Koblish; inkers, Aja, Raul Allen and Roy Allan Martinez; colorists, Matt Hollingsworth and June Chung; letterer, Artmonkeys Studios; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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