To take full advantage of the fact that Marvel Unlimited is only 99 cents for the first month if you sign up by March 14 — which, sadly, is now in the past — Nick is trying to see how much use of the service he can get for just under a dollar. Every day, he’ll share what he read. See the previous day here.
I’ll admit, I’m flunking Marvel numerology. I was so anxious to re-read The Immortal Iron Fist that I jumped the gun. Seven Cities of Heaven. Seven! This clearly should have been tomorrow’s reading.
It does fall into my overall plan though, which is to alternate between stuff I’ve never read and storylines I’d like to revisit. The Iron Fist run falls into the latter category, a book I picked up solely because it sounded interesting in the advance solicitations. It ended up becoming one of my favorite comics of that time (2006-07), one of those series you try to convince your friends to start reading because it’s that good.
I’ve been picking at the warts of the Marvel Unlimited app quite a bit, so I figured I’d say something nice about it today. I discovered to my delight that I could stream music from another app (Spotify, in my case) while using Marvel Unlimited at the same time. It’s not quite the same as using Adaptive Audio, but my personal view is that everything goes better with some 90s rap/hip hop.
Let’s get to some kung fu action!
The Immortal Iron Fist #1-16
Why I read it: This series has a place of honor in my “most pleasant surprises of all time” file. Iron Fist was a character I always thought was cool, but I hadn’t read any series in which he starred prior to this one. I was familiar with Ed Brubaker’s work but only knew Matt Fraction by name, and I had never even heard of artist David Aja. I’m sure I don’t have these issues together in one longbox, so Marvel Unlimited it is.
What I thought: Quite simply, one of my favorite examples of writers adding some depth to a character’s history without trampling on what had come before or relying on excessive retcons. The revelation that Danny Rand was only the most recent of a long line of people to wield the Iron Fist is a great way to expand a concept in a logical direction, similar to the way Geoff Johns built up the other portions of the emotional spectrum in Green Lantern (coincidentally, happening around the same time).
Brubaker and Fraction also make Rand a lot more powerful thanks to Orson Randall dropping some knowledge on him. Not only do we get to see previous Iron Fists channel their energy into arrows and bullets, Danny gets to absorb Orson’s power. That comes in handy when he pulls the “human bullet” stunt on the train, something other writers have incorporated into later work.
There’s a great dynamic between the concerns Danny has for his life on Earth and his duty to K’un L’un, and those worlds collide in numerous ways: Davos and Hydra, the tournament between the Immortal Weapons, Luke, Misty and Colleen lending a hand, and of course, poor Jeryn. The Immortal Weapons are cool characters in their own right, both in design and sheer badass-ness.
Aja’s art is a drawing card too — one of the reasons I was all-in on the current Hawkeye series as soon as it was announced — as he kills it on both the covers and the interior art. He’s definitely not the fastest penciller around, but the gimmick of having other artists illustrate the sequences with the various Iron Fists of the past helped decrease his workload. His action sequences are especially awesome, and when you add in some creative descriptions, you get stuff like this:
That’s Iron Fist as he should be, meaning pretty damn cool. I remember at the time, I was bummed that this series was relatively short-lived after Brubaker and Fraction moved on (making it less than a year after they left, if I recall correctly), but it really was their baby. Limited runs for series that are supposedly ongoing have become even more common in recent years, and while it’s easy to take the cynical view and say it’s always about the money comic book companies can make with new #1 issues, sometimes it is better to have a clean break and wait until some other creators have a really compelling story to tell.
Another positive from this series is that it helped ensure Rand would be a fixture in the Marvel universe moving forward. That’s a good thing.
(Epilogue: I had forgotten that Civil War was going on at the same time as this series, but the writers even manage to work in references to the status quo of super heroes at that point, with Danny worrying about how much harder his job is since he’s unregistered. Bravo.)
Day 6 issues read: 16
Total issues read to date: 103