Ed Brisson and Mike Perkins' Iron Fist is a fantastic palate-cleanser after the misfire that was Marvel's Iron Fist Netflix series — while I don't think it's as bad as many say, I do feel that the series could have been a lot better.
In Iron Fist #4, Brisson shows a great comprehension of what this character is about, with a book that looks back at many of the great kung fu flicks and gives them a bit of the Marvel and Iron Fist touch. Perkins' artwork is incredible and makes for a stunning tableau of martial arts action.
Still reeling from his fight with the Rat of 12 Plagues and being blamed for the death of his guide through Liu-Shi, Danny is under the care of a mysterious stranger while the council of the island plot his death. Upon waking up and recovering, Iron Fist discovers that his caretaker is his next challenge, the Rabbit of the Holy Flame. He is also being pursued by the next two challengers of Liu-Shi, Mountain-Slaying Bear and Long-Armed Bull (I love these names). Danny Rand must defeat all of these foes if he is to survive his stay on this island.
Iron Fist #4 is so very good. As stated above, it is a master of using the tropes of old martial arts movies to lay out its plot and details. However, it still feels original enough to have its own identity. It understands Danny Rand, his anger, his doubts, and his baggage. He doesn't know who he is without the Iron Fist, and he is trying to maintain that identity through this challenge.
(The above art is from #2, by the way; I couldn't find a scan from this issue.)
The one thing that has me a bit wary is that the Rabbit of the Holy Flame informs Danny that he must return to K'un L'un if he is to regain the Iron Fist completely, as the chi he is absorbing from the warriors of Liu-Shi is temporary.
We're returning to K'un L'un again? This city is supposed to appear once every decade, and, yet, nearly every Iron Fist series has him returning there for a part of the story. From as recent as Avengers vs. X-Men and Iron Fist: The Living Weapon, to the few '90s series and even before that, Danny Rand is always going back to K'un L'un to rediscover himself, regain the Iron Fist, or some such thing like that. I have faith in Ed Brisson and Mike Perkins to keep it interesting, but damn — this an overdone plot point for Iron Fist.
Perkins' artwork remains phenomenal in Iron Fist #4. The fight scenes look great and are plotted out near-perfectly. The man knows how to make the full use of a panel.
Get this book. It is a great series that knows exactly what it wants to do and accomplishes it, concern for the future of the series aside. It is a martial arts epic, and you should definitely give it a read.
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