Iron Fist is one of those characters who has a great story every decade or so, but not one that is known for a long ongoing series. Created in 1974 by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, the character has had some incredible moments and collections and there’s a new one to add to the pile out this week in comic book shops. The latest is by comics legends Larry Hama and Dave Wachter, and it blends the mystical arts, the incredible fight choreography, and the sorts of high stakes you don’t normally see with Danny Rand.
The first thing you’ll notice with this book is that it has everything you want in an Iron Fist story. Luke Cage is prominent but never steals the show from Iron Fist. There are also dragons, zombies, cool portals, and mystical realms that serve as Heaven and Hell. Hama smartly weaves in familiar faces like Taskmaster so as to keep things familiar, especially when new locations and far-out ideas are introduced.
Wachter’s art is incredible, with a great sense of mood and scale. The detail is high, and while it trails off a bit by the end it’s a testament to the creator to draw all six issues. The very first page of this collection features Iron Fist in full garb standing in front of a giant window at his Rand skyscraper. Behind him are the many windows and city buildings that makeup New York. There’s a lot to soak in, from Iron Fist’s mask to the architecture outside, and it’s a good example of what you’re in store for as far as attention to detail.
The characters are also wonderfully written and drawn. Luke Cage is like a warm uncle as he watches over Pei. He’s tough later on too, of course, but there’s a complexity that’s evident immediately. Meanwhile, Fooh is practically a Pixar character here right down to some kooky behavior and funny sight gags. As the story unfolds, characters like Dog Brother, Fat Cobra, and Bride of Nine Spiders are naturally added as the stakes get higher. Each adds a little something and Hama keeps them entertaining.
As even more characters are introduced — I haven’t even named half of them! — more locations are added too. With handy portals, Hama has this story take place around the globe with Wakanda, Tokyo, and the Philippines all factoring into the narrative. Over these six issues, the book feels like an event. As stakes keep rising and more characters are added, it’s also quite good at keeping your attention without getting confusing.
One could argue the necessity of all these characters and locations might suggest Iron Fist can’t sustain his own title, but given the sacrifice he makes by the end, it’s certainly his book. In fact, that sacrifice adds a little something to this book not every Marvel event can boast: real change takes place. For that reason, you need to read this book to keep up with Iron Fist and his incredible adventures.
Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon is a solid series that packs a lot of characters into an exciting action-adventure story. If you skipped this in single issues do yourself a favor and grab the trade paperback as it might just be Marvel’s best event of the year.
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