Packs Quite A Punch
♦Tripwire Contributing Writer Olly MacNamee takes a look at Marvel’s Iron Fist#1 out now…
Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Mike Perkins
Colours: Andy Troy
I have to confess that I’ve not caught up with the exploits of Danny Rand, the Immortal Iron Fist, for quite some time, but the pull of Mike Perkins on art dragged me back in. That’s right. The artist made me want to pick up the comic. Let that sink in for a moment, as recent reports suggesting that the writers are the most important element in the success of a story. I’m having none of it. But, when an artist and writer, colourists and editor work in unity, then success on all levels can be achieved. As is the case with this debut issue.
Now, there may very well be a lack of the familiar costume in this first issue – but a promise of more in issue 2 – but, there is no scaling back on the kick-ass action, as Rand wanders aimlessly and automatically from one underground fight club to another, finding absolutely no-one anywhere near on-par with him on his exotic travels. After all, this is a comic soaked in the martial arts. If Danny didn’t kick, punch and smash it, it wouldn’t be the Iron Fist that we know and love, now would it. He may be looking down the wrong end of a bottle of scotch, but his fighting prowess is unparalleled.
And, while the Iron Fist’s costume has always skirted on the edge of being all disco, the shadows and black spaces employed by Perkins, from an Ed Brisson script, create a moody, foreboding shadowy world of illegal bare-knuckle fighting and secretive, criminal dealings. The employment of a rather strict panel grid on many pages allows the looser, more angular panels of the fight scenes to explode on the page with action that is barely contained within each frame. The colouring, provided deftly by Andy Troy – all murky blues, greys and blood-red – only adds flesh and depth to the overall mise-en-scene. This is a world where only an immortal Iron Fist can walk confidently and survive.
And, it’s a pacey first issue too, which we can thank Brisson for; establishing for the new or lapsed reader like me the destruction of K’un-lun as the reason for Dandy’s wanderlust, presented as sepia tinted panels by Troy giving these few memories a dream-like quality and visually separating them from the main action. Rand never stays still for long, but he can never run away from his demons. Whether he finds a purpose, or even an inner peace, will be explored in subsequent issues, but as a debut issue it does well on filling in the gaps and leaving readers like me with few questions about his recent past, allowing for consideration of the new people he meets and what that could mean for him.
As for anyone walking in on this, having been peeked by the recent Netflix show, it’s a great jumping on point and there is enough familiarity for new fans to sink their teeth into. Maybe it was a good reason to leave him defrocked, so to speak, as in the show. As promised in the back, by Mike Perkins himself, “the second issue more than makes up for that.”
I’ll just have to centre my chi to maintain an inner peace until that time.
Iron Fist#1 is out now from Marvel Comics.