Power Man And Iron Fist #15 Review: Two The Hard Way


After over a year of alliances and fall outs, it’s the end of the road for Power Man and Iron Fist. Yet can they win one last battle for the soul of Harlem?

Power Man And Iron Fist #15

Writer: David Walker

Artist: Sanford Greene

Colorist: Lee Loughridge

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When the inability for Marvel Comics to keep many titles afloat reaches even the New York Times‘ attention, things have gotten bad. Chalk up Power Man and Iron Fist as a casualty of this. Sales on the last few arcs dwindled to below 15k per issue, and made an untimely end inevitable. Yet David Walker was able to bring things to an organic conclusion alongside launch artist Sanford Greene. His long-term urban drama involving superhuman crime in Harlem comes to a dramatic finale.

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Harlem’s underworld had been cut into three. The racket run by Black Cat and Cottonmouth were broken up. Yet Tombstone led the old crew, while Alex Wilder’s “New Pride” represented an up and coming gang. Feeling his power slip, Tombstone took to deadlier courses of action, even paying to resurrect his ally Mr. Fish, who Wilder had slain. At the same time, Alex had sold his soul to a dead mobster named Chadoe to help bind a demon to him to become a “grandmaster of street magic.”

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Due to Magic, It’s Another Royal Rumble in Harlem!

Black Mariah has supported Alex Wilder’s increasingly dangerous mystical plan to rule Harlem. Her best friend Jennie Royce, however, has been less than enthused. Despite having betrayed Luke Cage and Iron Fist in the first arc, she fled to them with Alex’s demonic box. With it, he creates the drug “Redemption” which will eventually steal the souls of its addicts. After barely surviving against the demon, Cage, Rand, Jennie, and their pal the Mangler get some unexpected visitors.

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Wilder and Mariah are there to reclaim the box and settle the score with the “heroes for hire.” Yet Tombstone and Mr. Fish also turn up to get their own revenge on everyone present. Not even street wizard Senor Magico can keep up with all of the chaos that ensues. Alex eventually loses control of himself to Chadoe, as the demon from the box seems eager to suck in anyone near. Tombstone and Mr. Fish try to blow everyone up. Power Man and Iron Fist are stuck in the middle.

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As with every issue, David Walker develops a finale which lives up to its hype. He mixes modern urban flare with an eye towards the more outrageous stuff from the 70s era of Marvel. Walker even mixes in some history of Chadoe which involves very real 1930s mobsters like “Queenie” St. Clair and “Bumpy” Johnson. It gives the conflict which follows more edge as there is a dash of reality within the wonky world of Marvel Comics. Mixing magic with street legends is also brilliant.

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In Addition, Not Just the Stars Shine!

Many other characters see shining moments besides the title stars. Shadrick Daniels, formerly the criminal known as Mangler, proves critical to helping save everyone. Jennie Royce ends up siding with her old friends, and Black Mariah ultimately sides with her. Luke Cage himself lives up to his “Power Man” nickname by surviving a bazooka blast and taking on most of the villains himself. And, finally, Alex Wilder’s attempt to be the John Constantine of organized crime ultimately fails.

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Sanford Greene and Lee Loughridge deliver a great piece of work for this last issue. Most of the tale is an action sequence, and they do a great job with pace. From double-page panels to various creative layouts, the pair keep the story flowing in innovative ways. They manage to draw the entire cast of heroes and villains in combat, complete with demonic tentacles flailing about. It is a lot to keep together, yet they do with a combination of kung fu and street art styles.

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Neither Luke Cage or Iron Fist have always been respected within Marvel Comics. Cage especially was nearly a forgotten C-Lister until he joined the New Avengers in 2005. Walker acknowledges the crazy history between the pair while treating it realistically. At times the two are like oil and water, but when push comes to shove they have the same values and goals. Chance and editorial reality made them partners, but great writing and shared history keeps them the best of friends.

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In Conclusion, a Combination of Street Values!

Furthermore, Walker and Greene have crafted one of the best “street crime” sagas at Marvel Comics. Dramatic stories involving organized crime are old hat in media, even mainstream comics. Yet the world of street gangs or cartels of color is usually touched less often, and usually as stereotype. Walker used timeless themes such as respect or honor, even if twisted, to make his villains like Tombstone, Mariah, and Alex Wilder seem more multi dimensional and thus effective.

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Next: Alex Wilder sells Redemption in #14!

As a result, this is a fitting end to the series. It saw the masterful use of Tombstone outside of the Amazing Spider-Man title, as he fit in well pitted against Power Man and Iron Fist. The pair find themselves at square one with a wrecked headquarters, believing it is over. Yet their effect on the neighborhood, and each other, proves that they ultimately won the war of the streets. No matter race or creed, true friendship is forever, and that is something Power Man and Iron Fist embodied.