The Immortal Iron Fist 7 (August 2007)

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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 wish they’d done one for every Iron Fist, instead of just this one (shocking how good Marvel books never seem to last).

The art’s a bit problematic. Foreman doesn’t flow naturally into Fernandez who doesn’t flow naturally into Evans. It’s not bad, it just always seems a little off.

CREDITS

The Story of the Iron Fist Wu Ao-Shi, The Pirate Queen of Pinghai Bay; writers, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction; pencillers, Travel Foreman, Leandro Fernandez and Khari Evans; inkers, Derek Fridolfs, Francisco Paronzini, Leo Fernandez and Victor Olazaba; colorist, Dan Brown; letterer, Dave Lanphear; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Immortal Iron Fist 5 (June 2007)

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The Travel Foreman back up art really does not work here. Well, some of it does, but when he flashes back to Orson’s origin… it’s awful. Ed McGuinness proportions. Yucky. It’s such an awkward flashback, it tears the reader out of the book.

The book needs the flashback to work not just for Orson’s emotional state or expository purposes, but also to keep up the action pace. Brubaker and Fraction open on a big action scene, then slow down to a talking heads book. The flashback needs to bridge. Instead it jars.

But the weak art isn’t just Foreman. Aja has a particular bad page with Luke and Misty and the girl with the sword whose name I don’t know. It’s far more rushed than the rest of Aja’s art, which is usually sublime.

There’s some good stuff (the Iron Fist mythology) this issue, but not without some definite problems.

CREDITS

The Last Iron Fist Story, Part 5; writers, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction; pencillers, David Aja and Travel Foreman; inkers, Aja and Derek Fridolfs; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Dave Lanphear; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Immortal Iron Fist 4 (May 2007)

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I expected more from the Buscema and Palmer pages. The art feels like they were supposed to be going retro instead of bringing a specific style.

It’s sort of strange how much Brubaker and Fraction skip here. The issue starts with Orson and Danny being big buddies. Orson’s been showing him tricks, which we also don’t get to see.

In some ways it works–it suggests time passing between the issues, so even if they read fast, it’s not like there isn’t more going on. A downside is missing important scenes. Not Orson showing off the Jedi mind tricks, but just some character development.

Brubaker and Fraction split the issue between the bad guy–I can’t remember his name after just one mention, Steel Something or Silver Something–and the two Iron Fists. The Iron Fist stuff is a lot better.

Aja’s visualization of Orson in costume is exceptional; Danny looks left out.

CREDITS

The Last Iron Fist Story, Part 4; writers, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction; pencillers, David Aja, Travel Foreman and Sal Buscema; inkers, Aja, Derek Fridolfs and Tom Palmer; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Dave Lanphear; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Immortal Iron Fist 3 (March 2007)

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I’m a little unclear on what actually happens this issue. Things do happen, it’s a good issue, but not many things happen. But Fraction–not Brubaker, because Brubaker’s Marvel work never makes an issue feel fuller than it is–manages to make it feel like a real experience, even though the only really important thing is when Danny meets Orson Randall at the end.

The rest of the issue is filled mostly with villain stuff. It’s not clear (to me anyway) whether Hydra is run by this bad guy who’s after the Iron Fist or if he’s just running some of Hydra. It’s also not clear if it’s important (isn’t Hydra just an easy villain organization to use, like SPECTRE?).

Brubaker and Fraction hint at Danny making a decision to be a businessman–they get distracted with the great conclusion of him meeting Randall.

A fantastic issue (where nothing happens).

CREDITS

The Last Iron Fist Story, Part 3; writers, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction; pencillers, David Aja, Travel Foreman and Russ Heath; inkers, Aja, Derek Fridolfs and Heath; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Dave Lanphear; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Immortal Iron Fist 2 (February 2007)

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Lots this issue. Well, kind of lots. It seems like lots.

But as it turns out, the titular Iron Fist isn’t Danny Rand this issue, it’s Orson Randall. Danny spends some of the issue being funny, then having a really great scene with Luke Cage–the way Brubaker and Fraction characterize the two of them, it feels perfect. Even if the reader only vaguely knows about the Power Man and Iron Fist days, it’s enough.

The issue is really all Randall, though. It’s like if Obi-Wan Kenobi were a badass in Star Wars, the way Randall Jedi mind tricks his way through security, then has his big fight scene. It’s just fantastic–the John Severin illustrated flashback is a little jarring, but it works beautifully.

Aja has some beautiful panels–Randall’s fight scene shows a great mix of art and design.

Interesting how Fraction’s Star Wars influences appear here.

CREDITS

The Last Iron Fist Story, Part 2; writers, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction; pencillers, David Aja, Travel Foreman and John Severin; inkers, Aja, Derek Fridolfs and Severin; colorists, Matt Hollingsworth and Dean White; letterer, Dave Lanphear; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Immortal Iron Fist 1 (January 2007)

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Fraction and Brubaker do a nice double cliffhanger here. The first one isn’t really a cliffhanger because it’s just Danny Rand falling off a roof. We know he’s not going to die. Well, presumably, he’s not going to (he doesn’t).

But it provides a nice close to his part of the issue, while being able to tie it in to the opening of the issue. Brubaker and Fraction do this origin in motion of Danny–and the Iron Fist in general (which is important for the second cliffhanger)–to catch the reader up.

The present action of the issue is pretty small; the writers try to conceal it with flashbacks and flash forwards. Basically, Danny objects to something during a meeting, investigates it as Iron Fist, gets in a fight. They do a great job establishing Danny in the meeting and the fight’s fun.

And Aja’s art is a delight.

CREDITS

The Last Iron Fist Story, Part 1; writers, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction; pencillers, David Aja and Travel Foreman; inkers, Aja and Derek Fridolfs; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Dave Lanphear; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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