IRON FIST #6
Writer: Ed Brisson
Penciller: Mike Perkins
Colorist: Andy Troy
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Release Date: 8/2/17
The fifth issue of Ed Brisson’s Iron Fist did not bring about the end of the Trial of the Seven Masters as I had originally opined last week. What seemed like it was wrapping up was just getting started. These books continue to work off the Immortal Iron Fist created by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction. In fact, the new series has actually been hailed as better than the Netflix series by some. Whether it is or isn’t better than the Netflix is immaterial to the fact that the books are damn good and this was just another example.
Plot: As Daniel Rand is flying back to K’un-Lun to regain his sense of self, his plans are derailed when the plane he’s traveling on is attacked by shadowy figures. Iron Fist finds himself fighting two wars: trying to keep the passengers safe and trying to stop the attack. Just as he is overwhelmed by the attackers, he is saved by Shang Chi, who informs Rand that the figures are known as the Sight and are controlled by the Seer. With the score a little more even, Shang and Rand defeat all but one attacker, who flees. Upon chasing after him, they realize they’ve been led into a trap. The Seer tells Danny the hit was put out by Choshin from the Seven Trials of the Seven Masters and after easily defeating Shang Chi, he tells Danny that Choshin’s plan is to retake K’un-Lun and erase Daniel Rand from history. Just as Seer is about to carry out the work of Choshin, Chang stops him, and asks for the honor of killing Iron Fist instead.
Story: Brisson continues his fantastic job with Iron Fist. Shang-Chi is a character we don’t get to see often enough and he fits in really nicely with the Iron Fist legend and lore. His inclusion in this book was a pleasant one, and the character brought with him much of honor and ideals that Danny usually espouses, but was willing to overlook to protect the plane passengers. Shang and Rand are long overdue for an epic Kung-Fu throwdown and it’s very much looking like that’s what we will get in the next book. Should Shang be pulling a rope-a-dope on the Seer by pretending to be infected with his powers, that would actually be a small let down.
The other big reveal in this book is that Choshin is a lot more powerful and resourceful than we were led to believe. Even though Choshin tried to win the tournament by randomly attacking Rand-Kai after a lengthy battle, he was eventually discovered and his treasonous acts saw the rest of the Seven Masters turn on him. Now he’s back, has aligned himself with powerful warriors, and is clearly making a play for K’un-Lun. The very thought that K’un-Lun could fall to such a despot makes me wonder if we’re going to see the return of the Immortal Weapons. If they were ever going to return, this run of Iron Fist and the Seven Trials of the Seven Masters will be the impetus.
Art: Mike Perkins and Andy Troy did a great job in this book of mixing up the look, tone, and feel of each book. This book was meant to be grittier and darker than some of the other stories. In a way, it’s very much reminiscent of his battle with Zhou Cheng, with the Seer looking just as ominous as the beast inside Cheng. Iron Fist has always had a tough road to travel, but there’s a feeling when reading this book that things are going to get much, much worse for Danny Rand, and the duo’s artwork is a huge reason for that. Even the way they lettered the Seer’s voice and drew up his face was downright terrifying.
As they set the stage for the two Kung-Fu masters to do battle next month, readers across the nation will be looking forward to seeing how Perkins and Troy handle this battle from an artistic sense. The duo have already shown in the Seven Trials that they know how to blend outstanding stories with even better art. Iron Fist is one of the better drawn books on the market. The creative team handling Danny Rand hasn’t been this good since Immortal Iron Fist. If we’re being straight forward, Perkins and Troy could’ve done the art for that series and it would have been just as excellent.
Verdict: This book felt like more of a filler story between arcs, but it carried with it some important aspects. Simple, two-issue runs are a staple in comics, but they also can be perfectly good without being great. This is an example of that practice in action. The story wasn’t the most interesting, but the reveals made from the story written made up for a lack of a moving storyline. We also just came off an arc that was one of the best Iron Fist stories we’ve had since Brubaker and Fraction, so I’m willing to give them a pass, especially when they’re dangling the Danny Rand vs. Shang Chi carrot for next month. — JW
Rating: 4/5 Stars