Jim Doom: “I haven’t read any Iron Fist before this, even though I’ve been a fairly big fan of Ed Brubaker lately, so I came into this issue with only a basic understanding of the character.
I found the first summary page to be very confusing, and nothing really sunk in except for this one guy is bad and he’s kidnapped Danny Rand’s partner.
So with my confusion and ignorance firmly in place, I then found out that I had a pretty easy time following this issue and I rather liked it. I unfortunately don’t have the issue in front of me, so I can’t cite specific things that I liked, but I enjoy the characterization of The Immortal Iron Fist as more “normal guy who has taken on this role” when contrasted with the fighting machines chosen to represent the other cities of heaven.
I also really enjoyed the art. It seems to be in that same post-Alex Maleev vein that the artists on Captain America and Daredevil fit into, and that’s a style I very much enjoy.
Unfortunately, the specifics I can remember are the things I didn’t like. I hated the art on the “flashback” story. I think that might be the same artist who did the “Son of M” miniseries.
Heaven seems like a really horrible place, if the seven cities of Heaven are so preoccupied with fighting, honor and glory. Seems quite un-Heaven-like, especially when one of the champions of one of the cities is the major villain!
Maybe the crappiness of Heaven has been covered in earlier issues, but man, no wonder the previous Iron Fist was like “Screw you, assholes, I’m not fighting in your stupid tournament.”
We get to see how these fighting techniques are not about fighting – they’re about meditation and spirituality, yet what one would assume is the pinnacle of spirituality – Heaven itself – is all about fighting for something as shallow as glory!
Brubaker’s a talented enough writer that I’m assuming there’s more to what would appear to be a disgusting case of hypocrisy, but it sure makes victory seem rather unappealing.
I’m definitely going to stick with this, though. I’ve been trimming back what I purchase lately, so Iron Fist will be a nice new addition to the regular selections.”
Much like Jim, I don’t really know anything about Iron Fist. Besides the arc where he was masquerading in Daredevil in that book, I don’t ever remember reading anything of substance featuring the character. Martial arts characters are a dime a dozen I comics: Daredevil, Elektra, Batman & family, even Wolverine and Spider-Man to some extent. Danny Rand just never came off to me as special enough to really be interesting. But with Ed Brubaker on board, anything’s bound to be a little more interesting, right?
I’ve been reading the Immortal Iron Fist since the series began, and it’s been a fun little journey discovering what makes this character unique. It seems as though this Tournament of Champions arc is going to do that even more, not only by showing how different Iron Fist’s world is from our own, but by showing how different he is from others who have grown in very much the same circumstances.
While I’m not a big fan of the “Iron Fist’s friend was kidnapped” subplot in this issue, I did very much enjoy that it’s actually the major plot going on in Iron Fist’s mind right now, and this epic tournament is just a big distraction to him. I like it when character’s lives are thrust in directions they have no control over and have to put everything on hold for a while to deal with the more immediate threat, but most of the time, those characters don’t seem to acknowledge that they’ve got other pressing matters they need to attend to. It’s refreshing to see a writer not only recognize but reinforce that idea.
I’m also very pleased that Brubaker and Fraction laid out right from the start who is facing who in this tournament. Often simple rules and logic are thrown out the window in fiction and the story suffers drastically as a result (see: TNA Wrestling). Knowing that things have been well thought out in advance gives me great optimism that the ending will not only make sense, but be pretty fracking satisfying to boot. I’m really looking forward to the seeing it all play out.