Having learned the sinister truth behind the council of seven masters and defeated six of their seven champions, the Iron Fist Daniel Rand moves to confront the council and their last champion!
THE EPIC CONCLUSION OF THE TRIAL OF THE SEVEN MASTERS! Danny has reached the end of the gauntlet, but is this also the end of the Iron Fist? It’s Danny versus Liu-Shi’s most deadly master…THE WOLF!
What’s the skinny?
Despite Choushin’s treachery in his attempt to frame Danny for murder and discredit him, the Iron Fist has managed to defeat six of the seven champions of the council of seven masters. Along the way his strength of character and honor has gained him an ally in the form of an opponent, the Rabbit of the Holy flame. Through his newfound ally Danny learned the history of Liu-Shi and that the council lured him to the island under false pretenses. Through his newfound rage and focus, Danny quickly made short work of the remaining two champions and moved to confront the council.
Fueled by the chi of the six defeated champions left in his wake, a fearsome Iron Fist finally confronts Chousin and the rest of the council over Hark’s murder and their lies that brought him to the island. Danny quickly finds himself in a fight for this life against the deadliest master of the council, The Wolf. Through their confrontation he’ll learn more of his heritage as a citizen of K’un-Lun and as the Iron Fist. Danny will have to prove to himself and the council of Liu-Shi that he’s worthy of the title and not just an outsider that stole the honor and duty that is the Iron Fist. Choushin isn’t through with his plotting either, while Danny fights for his life and heritage, the scheming council member continues to works to destroy Danny.
What’s the catch?
As the leading antagonist I expected a final confrontation between Choushin and Danny, or at least some justice delivered for the murder of Hark. Color me surprised due to the notable absence of the sizable comeuppance Choushin very much has coming to him.
Is it good?
From the start of this story arc to the end, Mike Perkins has been thorough, consistent and utterly fantastic. There were several moments in this issue where his artwork really grabbed hold of my attention and commanded the page–the first being Iron Fist’s first approach to the council chamber, a member of the guard tries to stop him and his sword literally melts upon coming in contact with Danny. This is a relatively small image that takes up a fourth of the page, yet there’s so much badass squeezed into such a small space and nothing else on the page matters once you see it. As usual, Perkins handles the martial arts panels with ease, allowing the reader to easily imagine the action as if it were really happening in front of them. Lastly I loved the combination of light pencil and color use by Mike Troy and Perkins during the flashbacks. They allowed the reader to easily differentiate what was current and what was past and didn’t slip in quality.
Ed Brisson did such a great job slowly building Choushin into a great villain. All the best elements were gathered: kung fu, deception, murder and nefarious plotting. So I found myself pretty disappointed with how things closed out with Choushin. Yes, the council wasn’t without responsibility for luring Iron Fist to Liu-Shi, but it was Choushin that orchestrated the murder of an innocent and nearly Danny as well. I have a feeling Chousin will rear his head again, as so many comic villains do. Hopefully next time Danny encounters him, there’s a different outcome.
The conclusion of the trail of the seven masters story arc is very similar to the beginning in that it’s draped in kung fu. At its core, this story has been about Danny Rand’s struggle to rediscover his purpose in life, while externally he’s had to struggle with surviving the island of Liu-Shi. The point of convergence for these two points of struggle is kung fu. That’s probably my favorite part about what Brisson has put together here, a classic kung fu story with a touch of mystery and a badass twist. Brisson builds upon the existing Iron Fist mythos with his own unique ideas that add to the rich history of the character. I wasn’t familiar with Brisson’s or Perkins’ work prior to this story, but I’m happy to report that they’ve both secured a fan and promoter.
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