Iron Fist (2017) #1 Review

Written by Ed Brisson
Art by Mike Perkins
Colours by Andy Troy
Published by Marvel
Cover price: $3.99 USD

With the mixed reception to his portrayal in David Walker’s Power Man and Iron Fist and a bigger spotlight due to Netflix’s Iron Fist series, Ed Brisson was probably under a lot of pressure to get Iron Fist right, which isn’t exactly an easy task. The last time the character was really relevant was Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction’s amazing Immortal Iron Fist run, which had a darker approach to the character while also embracing the martial arts and mysticism elements and building his world in interesting ways. Brisson is seemingly trying to recapture that spirit, and his first issue does a good job setting up something hopefully great, but can’t help but feel a bit generic.

Brisson’s story features a wayward Danny Rand wandering the globe. Danny has lost his access to the chi of Shou-Lao the Undying, K’un-Lun has been destroyed, and Danny is lacking a purpose. While it’s written well enough, it just feels very standard for reinvigorating a character, and Danny’s wider history isn’t touched upon. None of his philanthropy is mentioned, nor is his relationship with Luke Cage. If it weren’t for the name, this could be any other comic featuring a washed up superhero. And the story itself feels a bit too reminiscent of Immortal Iron Fist, with Danny, once again, discovering a new world of martial arts.

ironfist1a
A wayward, self-destructive former hero? Leave some originality for the rest of us, Brisson!

That’s not to say the issue isn’t good, because it is. Brisson does a good job framing the otherwise generic story through what Danny does best: fighting. The focus on underworld fighting is a nice touch, and there is some good setup for Danny to delve back into the realms of martial arts and mysticism. And Brisson’s dialogue is very strong, and it definitely adds to the world-building without leaning too far into stereotypes.

Mike Perkins’ art is good, with a darkness evocative of David Aja’s work on Immortal Iron Fist. The fight scenes standout well, with Perkins really conveying the energy and power of each blow. Perkins also has fun with the magical elements, and when he’s allowed to break out the colours, he’s great at it. The art is generally dark, as is this series, but it’s expressive and does a very good job conveying the anger in Danny’s life. It’s just that that’s the only emotion it seems to convey, and everyone is cowling and pissed off. It works in this issue, but I’m concerned with Perkins’ range.

ironfist1b
I dig the colours.

Iron Fist #1 tries to capture the spirit of Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction’s Immortal Iron Fist, but doesn’t quite measure up due to some generic plotting. However, just like its protagonist, the potential is on full display, with setup, dialogue and art that hints at this series’ potential for greatness. Hopefully the series lives up to its potential, but even on its own, Iron Fist #1 is a good read.

4/5 – Very good

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