Archive for the ‘Iron Fist’ Category

Fear Itself: Captain America #7.1

November 12, 2015

Fear Itself 7.1 Captain AmericaEd Brubaker // Jackson Guice
January 2012
****

EB got to conclude Civil War in his mag, & here’s the trade-off: another event mini, Fear Itself, hosts the fatal confrontation btw his creations Bucky & Sin. Fair? Maybe, but it’s bad storytelling. So Bru plays a trump: a dose of SHIELD’s secret serum revives Buck (again).

continued from Fear Itself #7 of 7
continued in Winter Soldier #1

also indexed for Jan. ’12
Annihilators: Earthfall #3 of 4
Captain America #4
Captain America & Bucky #624
Fantastic Four #600
FF #12

Captain America #26

August 20, 2015

Captain America 26Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting & Mike Perkins
May 2007
****

Everyone at Captain America’s wake commends Sam Wilson on his eulogy (much better than hearing it). The Falcon’s cool is a balance to Bucky, who starts a bar brawl. Meanwhile the bad guys gloat & toy w/ their Doom-built time machine. A great scene—it’s a shame Epting couldn’t draw the whole ish.

last issue: Captain America #25
next issue: Captain America #27

also indexed for May ’07
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #2 of 2
Astonishing X-Men #21
Daredevil #95
Thunderbolts #112

Dr. Strange: The Oath #1 of 5

July 19, 2015

Dr. Strange The Oath 1 of 5Brian K. Vaughan // Marcos Martin
December 2006
*****

“Oath” cleverly refers not to a hoary host but to Hippocrates. It’s how Vaughan grounds his mini in the Doc’s medical past. He also builds the conflict around servant Wong’s inoperable cancer, & even casts Night Nurse (romance heroine/vigilante medic). Martin echoes Dragotta’s recent Doc work.

next issue: Dr. Strange: The Oath #2 of 5

also indexed for Dec. ’06
Annihilation #3 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #18
Civil War #6 of 7
Daredevil #90
The Immortal Iron Fist #2
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #9
Runaways #21

Daredevil #115

November 22, 2014

Daredevil 115Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark & Tonci Zonjic
March 2009
*****

Easily this mag’s best arc since Murdock in Paris. Not every writer can handle the Hand, but Brubaker comes up w/ a new twist: they want Daredevil to lead them! S. Gaudiano inks w/ such vigor, he erases the difference btw lead pen & a back-up. In this, he’s as key to Lark as Janson was to Miller.

last issue: Daredevil #114
next issue: Daredevil #116

also indexed for Mar. ’09
Guardians of the Galaxy #9
Nova #21
Secret Invasion: War of Kings #1 of 1

Daredevil #114

November 21, 2014

Daredevil 114Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
February 2009
****

Suddenly, melodrama! As part of Lady B’s vendetta against Murdock, she exposes his affair to his wife’s parents, who sue for divorce! In the stronger parts of #114, Iron Fist listens to the mag’s new Zen master, a legendary bad-ass who’s forgotten his own home and who mentored Murdock’s own guru.

last issue: Daredevil #113
next issue: Daredevil #115

also indexed for Feb. ’09
Guardians of the Galaxy #8
Nova #20

Daredevil #113

November 20, 2014

Daredevil 113Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
January 2009
****

Brubaker seems more jazzed than ever as he adds to his chop-socky cast. But they’re in danger of remaining colorful types (not to say stereotypes): female psycho assassin &, in #113, a centuries-old, gnomic, alcoholic Zen monk. Lark stages their combat with DD & ninjas—a draw—in a gloomy rainstorm.

last issue: Daredevil #112
next issue: Daredevil #114

also indexed for Jan.’09
Guardians of the Galaxy #7
Nova #19

Daredevil #112

November 19, 2014

Daredevil 112Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
December 2008
*****

A rare intrusion of other books’ plotlines into DD. The first pivots off an Avengers reveal of an alien impostor among this mag’s evil ninja clan. The second has the writer bring back his mellow Iron Fist, as a target of the arc’s new character: Lady Bullseye, another crazy ninja w/ a rep to make.

last issue: Daredevil #111
next issue: Daredevil #113

also indexed for Dec. ’08
Guardians of the Galaxy #6
Nova #18

Daredevil #111

November 18, 2014

Daredevil 111Ed Brubaker // Clay Mann
November 2008
***

Some v.g. runs of serial storytelling (like this one) merely consolidate. Bru adds to his lurid noir vibe w/ PG-13 sex btw the married hero & the gal-shamus. There’s also time to give a lady ninja assassin a crazy-hooker backstory. Note that Mann fills in for Lark, cuz you’ll forget while reading.

last issue: Daredevil #110
next issue: Daredevil #113

also indexed for Nov. ’08
Guardians of the Galaxy #5
Nova #17

Daredevil #87

October 23, 2014

Daredevil 087Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
September 2006
*****

A prison break (as the Punisher’s “hostage”) allows Murdock to track down (a) the man impersonating him and (b) the man who killed Foggy Nelson. Two well-played twists: the first case is fellow martial artist/vigilante Iron Fist; the second is that Nelson’s alive and in FBI Witness Protection!

last issue: Daredevil #86
next issue: Daredevil #88

also indexed for Sept. ’06
Annihilation: Nova #4 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #4 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #4 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #4 of 4
Civil War #3 of 7
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #7

Daredevil #85

October 21, 2014

Daredevil 085Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
July 2006
****

Will prison break Murdock? Of course not, but watching the Kingpin & the Punisher (also incarcerated) test his convictions is great fun! EB’s work competes w/ his concurrent Cap, while his partner ML exceeds Epting. In fact, Lark’s lines & layouts may outdo his cohort in the realistic ’00s mode.

last issue: Daredevil #84
next issue: Daredevil #86

also indexed for Jul. ’06
Annihilation: Nova #2 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #2 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #2 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #2 of 4
Civil War #1 of 7
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #5

Daredevil #83

October 19, 2014

Daredevil 083Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
May 2006
****

After Foggy’s funeral (note: no one saw a corpse), a court puts Murdock into the prison gen-pop—a case of the Watchmen line, “I’m not in here w/ you….” Brubaker’s style instantly contrasts w/ Bendis’, his violent action supplanting the dialogue-driven approach, & propelling the mag’s momentum.

last issue: Daredevil #82
next issue: Daredevil #84

also indexed for May ’06
Annihilation: Prologue #1 of 1
Iron Man #6
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #3
The Pulse #14
Young Avengers #11

Daredevil #82

October 18, 2014

Daredevil 082Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
April 2006
*****

Two former creators of the noir-ish Gotham Central build upon the superlative climax of Bendis’ DD run, with pulpy Miller-like narration & scratchy Mazzucchelli-influenced art, and a pair of great hooks. Someone’s impersonating DD in Hell’s K, while on Rikers I, Matt can’t protect Foggy from a hit!

last issue: Daredevil #81
next issue: Daredevil #83

also indexed for Apr. ’06
Astonishing X-Men #13
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #2

Daredevil #80

October 16, 2014

Daredevil 080Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
February 2006
****

Part 2 of the big action finale, #80 features a streetfight btw ninjas & Feds! Maleev’s work on DD has possessed great physicality & expressive bodies. Mostly that’s added levels to his writer’s dialogue, but it’s also helped him to stage great scenes of hand-to-hand combat. Then… Matt surrenders!

last issue: Daredevil #79
next issue: Daredevil #81

also indexed for Feb. ’06
Drax the Destroyer #4 of 4

Daredevil #78

October 14, 2014

Daredevil 078Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
December 2005
*****

This mag’s innate contradiction—a lawyer with an extra-legal identity—gets put to the test. W/ the feds about to acquire proof of his double-life, the protag must choose to fight as Murdock or Daredevil. It’s thrilling & dangerous: mishandling the denouement could break the character irrevocably.

last issue: Daredevil #77
next issue: Daredevil #79

also indexed for Dec. ’05
Drax the Destroyer #2 of 4
Secret War #5 of 5
Young Avengers #9

Daredevil #60

September 26, 2014

Daredevil 060Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
July 2004
****

DD & his pals toss a Yakuza club & run it out of town. The pulpy violent core of this arc proves this superb run is less interested in subverting the trope of vigilantism than in pushing its envelope. For that, see the subplot: the hero’s wife leaves him, a personal loss given a noirish pathos.

last issue: Daredevil #59
next issue: Daredevil #61

also indexed for Jul. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #1
The Pulse #3
Secret War #2 of 5
Thanos #10

Daredevil #59

September 25, 2014

Daredevil 059Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
June 2004
*****

The G-man gets taken out by Yakuza right on Center Street! Meanwhile, Ben Urich joins the growing chorus who say that Karen Page’s death has driven DD to self-destructive behavior. Breaking a character’s psyche = a brilliant take on the difficulty of superhero writers to alter a mag’s status quo.

last issue: Daredevil #58
next issue: Daredevil #60

also indexed for Jun. ’04
Thanos #9

Daredevil #40

September 6, 2014

Daredevil 040Brian Michael Bendis // Terry Dodson
February 2003
**

The White Tiger arc feels appendictal to Bendis’ run, but it’s actually a key to his Ditko-esque view of superheroism. A D-list vigilante gets found guilty; his confused death is a scapegoat sacrifice by the press & legal system—those “democratic” structures that hold the gifted individual back!

last issue: Daredevil #39
next issue: Daredevil #41

also indexed for Feb. ’03
Alias #17
New X-Men #135

Daredevil #39

September 5, 2014

Daredevil 039Brian Michael Bendis // Manuel Gutierrez
January 2003
****

TV’s influence on Bendis has never been more obvious. #39 is a courtroom drama—w/ guest stars, witness-stand confessionals, a prosecutor out for blood, & preposterous legalities—but it’s executed superbly. Gutierrez’s style & colorful tone makes this ish a precurser to Waid’s run w/ Samnee et al.

last issue: Daredevil #38
next issue: Daredevil #40

also indexed for Jan. ’03
Alias #16
New X-Men #134

Daredevil #38

September 4, 2014

Daredevil 038Brian Michael Bendis // Manuel Gutierrez
December 2002
***

Pawn shop, dead cop, a Latino superhero arrested in the Bronx. Bendis exploits Marvel’s kung fu catalog for a more diverse, street-savvy cast. Maleev takes five, w/ an unknown on pencils & a much lighter tone. It’s not a great fit, since Bendis is aiming for realism rather than tights & fights.

last issue: Daredevil #38
next issue: Daredevil #40

also indexed for Dec. ’02
Alias #15
New X-Men #133

Thunderbolts #8

June 25, 2014

Thunderbolts 008Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Mark Bagley
November 1997
****

The first T-bolts story to last more than one ish ends w/ the mag’s best since #1. The team fends off a set of monsters menacing NYC, winning adulation & SHIELD access. But what’s esp great is how it delves into the psyche of Songbird, codependent & unconfident till now, when she must act alone.

last issue: Thunderbolts #7
next issue: Thunderbolts #9

The Fantastic Four #600

December 11, 2013

Fantastic Four 600A-story: Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
B-story: Jonathan Hickman // Carmine Di Giandomenico
C-story: Jonathan Hickman // Ming Doyle
D-story: Jonathan Hickman // Leinil Yu
E-story: Jonathan Hickman // Farel Dalrymple
January 2012
A-story: **** // B-story: ***** // C-story: *****
D-story: **** // E-story: *****

A king-size #600. The A-story picks up the threads of FF, pitting every NYC superhero against a pair of alien invasions; a surprise twist has the late Johnny Storm break the Annihilation Wave! Then Hickman shows that Torch did die in #587, only to be resurrected in a gladiator scenario. That piece has a Euro look that meshes w/ the bug-‘verse setting; like all the back-up pencilers, it puts Epting to shame. Much of the art is “ugly” yet lovely, accentuating how creative JH’s whole run is.

continued from FF #11
continued in FF #12
next issue: The Fantastic Four #601

also indexed for Jan’ 12
FF #12

FF #11

December 10, 2013

FF 11Jonathan Hickman // Barry Kitson
late December 2011
****

Two alt-Reeds serve as biomass for a rebooted Kree Intelligence, who mounts an invasion of Earth—concurrent w/ an incursion from the Negative Zone! Luckily, the real Mr F calls his pals, incl. the Avengers, to prep for battle. Kitson only pencils breakdowns; the loose art keeps #11 from *****.

continued in The Fantastic Four #600
last issue: FF #10
next issue: FF #12

also indexed for Dec. ’11
FF #10

The Fantastic Four #588

November 29, 2013

Fantastic Four 588A-story: Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
B-story: Jonathan Hickman // Mark Brooks
April 2011
A-story: ***** // B-story: ****

Hick finally gets a partner who matches his calibre: Dragotta, who apes Kirby’s dynamic grunts but draws a Sturm-like indie line. Silence signifies mourning as Johnny Storm’s family & friends grieve. It sells the moment w/o sentiment—unlike the B-plot, where Spidey helps Franklin mourn his uncle.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #587
continued in FF #1

The Fantastic Four #584

November 25, 2013

Fantastic Four 584Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
December 2010
****

For over a year, Hickman has been writing one- & two-issue arcs, which makes this multi-plot storyline all the more portentous. Reed parleys w/ Galactus while Sue escorts Namor to Old Atlantis. But the soul is Ben, who swigs his cure & clobbers the gentrified Yancy Gang, now hedge-fund financiers!

last issue: The Fantastic Four #583
next issue: The Fantastic Four #585

Avengers #30

August 28, 2013

Avengers 30Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
July 2000
***

The Claremontian homage concludes with the evil sorcerer failing in his apotheosis. Tidy writing as usual, w/ Triathlon standing out by bearing the writer’s liberal guilt. But the arc’s drive comes from the pencils of Pérez, whose imagination & sense of setting prove him Kirby’s true & great heir.

last issue: Avengers #29
next issue: Avengers #31

also indexed for July ’00
Avengers Annual 2000

Secret Wars II #9 of 9

February 22, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
March 1986
*
The series takes a truly weird twist as its protag invents a Kirbytech “birthing module” that allows him to be reborn as an omnipotent mortal (the turn echoes Shooter’s similar, infamous “Rape of Ms. Marvel” plotline). Every superhero in Marvel Comics wants to stop the cosmic being, leading some to propose infanticide! Instead, the nebbishy Molecule Man & his homely g’friend save the universe.
[continued from The Fantastic Four #288]
[continued in The Avengers #266]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #8 of 9]

Secret Wars II #2 of 9

February 15, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
August 1985
*
The Beyonder, a universe incarnate, wanders NYC. In one low point, Peter Parker must toilet-train the omnipotent being! SW2 is a true crossover: you gotta read other titles to follow the plot & vice-versa. An FF arc gets scrambled in with this mag, as an evil super-empath corrupts Sue Richards.
[continued from Captain America #308]
[see also The Uncanny X-Men #196]
[see also Fantastic Four #281]
[continued in Web of Spider-Man #6]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #1 of 9]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #3 of 9]

Civil War #7 of 7

June 12, 2011

Mark Millar // Steve McNiven
January 2007
*
Ugh. An ADD switcheroo moves the fight to midtown. All these superpowers are used to bludgeon (‘cept teleporting). With anticlimactic irony, Cap realizes that there’s no point to the entire conflict! The only sensible outcome is Tony Stark, Director of SHIELD. Thus ends the ’00s Secret Wars.
[last issue: Civil War #6 of 7]

Civil War #6 of 7

June 11, 2011

Mark Millar // Steve McNiven
December 2006
*
Millar & McNiven move their action figures into place for the next issue’s battle royale. It’ll be set at a secret super-prison, which means to comment on Guantanamo but doesn’t. These pre-finale plot twists only highlight how stiff the characterization, dialogue, & art are. Is this what fans want?
[last issue: Civil War #5 of 7]
[next issue: Civil War #7 of 7]

Civil War #5 of 7

June 10, 2011

Mark Millar // Steve McNiven
November 2006
*
Plot holes are starting to gape as Stark supplements SHIELD agents w/ super-convicts. Even worse are the book’s politics. Truth is, Millar comes at the Bush Admin from the Right, composing a libertarian nightmare where criminals are paroled to round up true Americans like Cap & a reformed Spidey.
[last issue: Civil War #4 of 7]
[next issue: Civil War #6 of 7]

Civil War #4 of 7

June 8, 2011

Mark Millar // Steve McNiven
October 2006
**
The commentary on PATRIOT Act America has become paper-thin & confused, esp. since Millar doesn’t care about civil rights & govt. regulations. He just wants to blow shit up & he has his ideas about how to do that—like a rogue cyber-clone of Thor! But would Mr F create such a Frankenstein’s monster?
[last issue: Civil War #3 of 7]
[next issue: Civil War #5 of 7]

Civil War #3 of 7

June 7, 2011

Mark Millar // Steve McNiven
**
September 2006
Finally, CW reaches its reason for being: heroes v. heroes, a classic Marvel trope since Amazing S-M #1. Iron Man turns a sneak-attack into a parlay, which Cptn. America violates w/ his own sucker punch. The problem is, each twist violates its actor’s character. It’s action stripped of motivation.
[last issue: Civil War #2 of 7]
[next issue: Civil War #4 of 7]

Civil War #2 of 7

June 6, 2011

Mark Millar // Steve McNiven
August 2006
*

The big story: Spidey unmasks on nat’l TV. It’s both true to the character & a violation (Peter has always been a principled private citizen). The fact is, the irreconcilable contradiction emphasizes Millar’s failure: he can’t dramatize Pete’s moral quandry, which is the very heart of that character!

last issue: Civil War #1 of 7
next issue: Civil War #3 of 7

also indexed for Aug. ’06
Astonishing X-Men #15
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #6
Young Avengers #12

Secret War #3 of 5

May 20, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Gabriele Dell’Otto
October 2004
**

If you’re writing a 5-part quarterly, you really need shouldn’t indulge in so much action & so little plot—you kill the momentum. Peter Parker’s unconscious mind begins to recall the cover op that last issue set up. But mostly, it’s Dell’Otto drawing glowy red-eyed tech in an homage to The Matrix.

last issue: Secret War #2 of 5
next issue: Secret War #4 of 5

also indexed for Oct. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #4
Daredevil #63
Fantastic Four #517

Secret War #2 of 5

May 19, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Gabriele Dell’Otto
July 2004
***

Marvel’s spymaster recruits a dream-team of supers (& a wild card, played by Angie Jolie) to overthrow the Latvarian govt. The mag aims at fun cloak-&-dagger realism. But the glossy, dead art, facile dialogue, & a cast that’s way too A-list for the plot all imply a slick Hollywood emptiness.

last issue: Secret War #1 of 5
next issue: Secret War #3 of 5

also indexed for Jul. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #1
The Pulse #3
Thanos #10

Secret War #1 of 5

May 18, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Gabriele Dell’Otto
April 2004
***

Nick Fury has evidence that supercriminals are funded by a post-Doom Latverian proxy—but he’s muzzled by the State Dept because Latv’s our ally! Bendis brings his hard-boiled espionage to the greater Marvel U but he may not be able to pull off the moral ambiguity. Jury’s out on D’O’s painted art.

next issue: Secret War #2 of 5

also indexed for Apr. ’04
Daredevil #57
Fantastic Four #510
New X-Men #153
The Pulse #1

The Pulse #14

May 17, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
May 2006
*****

Bendis returns to Alias-style storytelling to conclude this too-brief bi-monthly mag, cancelled just as it found its rhythm. Jess Jones talks to her newborn daughter about her one week as a grim-n-gritty vigilante (“The Knightress”), when she met the Heroes for Hire. A smart, sweet bit of closure.

last issue: The Pulse #13

also indexed for May ’06
Annihilation: Prologue #1 of 1
Iron Man #6
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #3
Young Avengers #11

The Pulse #9

May 12, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Lark
July 2005
****

Lark nails the seedy, cynical tone that Bendis aims for—no surprise, considering how akin this mag is to Lark’s previous gig, Gotham Central. Jess & her Bugle colleagues are pawns in a superspy intelligence leak. But she only cares about Luke Cage, whom she finds w/ his kung fu pals in a safehouse.

last issue: The Pulse #8
next issue: The Pulse #10

also indexed for Jul. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #11
Young Avengers #4

The Pulse #6

May 9, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Brent Anderson
January 2005
***

As if to underscore the Astro City inspiration, editors have assigned Anderson to an arc of Pulse. His grit fits the reporters-in-Marvel-NYC concept better than Bagley’s light. But this arc crosses over (via Luke Cage, injured by a suicide bomber) into the chaos of Secret War, a delayed & murky mini.

last issue: The Pulse #5
next issue: The Pulse #7

also indexed for Jan. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #7
Iron Man #1

The Immortal Iron Fist #16

December 8, 2010

Matt Fraction // David Aja
August 2008
*****

Few comic book runs open up character like Immortal has—& in under 20 issues! Fraction calls Aja back for a superb final issue. On one page, IF simply meditates! More generally, Rand turns his financial empire into a charitable trust. It generally points a way forward, not just for IF but for the creative collab.

last issue: The Immortal Iron Fist #15
next issue: The Immortal Iron Fist #17

also indexed for Aug. ’08

The Immortal Iron Fist #15

December 3, 2010

Matt Fraction // Khari Evans
July 2008
****

Sadly, the IF creative team’s disbanding. A solo Fraction gives an encore to the Fist of the British Empire. This brush with post-colonial ideas sees the imprisoned hero team up w/ his Hindu counterpart—even at the end of the abbreviated run, he’s adding to the IF mythos! Evans’ work is scratchy tho’.

last issue: The Immortal Iron Fist #14
next issue: The Immortal Iron Fist #16

also indexed for Jul. ’08
Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 of 1

The Immortal Iron Fist #14

December 2, 2010

Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction // Kano, Clay Mann, & Tonci Zonjic
June 2008
*****

Aja is missed, but Zonjic’s capable & the tale’s so good, it doesn’t matter. Bru & Frac harmonize their actors in a grand finale of kung fu: the Heroes for Hire, the Immortal Weapons, the women’s revolution, even Steel Serpent redeems himself. A satisfying conclusion to a superb 13-issue epic arc.

last issue: The Immortal Iron Fist #13
next issue: The Immortal Iron Fist #15

also indexed for Jun. ’08

The Immortal Iron Fist #13

December 1, 2010

Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction // David Aja, Kano, & Tonci Zonjic
May 2008
****

Bru & Frac pull a superb bait-&-switch: this arc isn’t about a kung fu tourney at all, it’s about a revolution! The warriors join IF & help to defend heaven from terrorists! Craziest stake: will Fist archfoe Steel Serpent fight with them or against them? Aja, sadly, is nearly MIA & sadly missed.

continued from The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall & the Green Mist of Death #1 of 1
last issue: The Immortal Iron Fist #12
next issue: The Immortal Iron Fist #14

The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall & the Green Mist of Death #1 of 1

November 29, 2010

Matt Fraction // Nick Dragotta, Russ Heath, Lewis LaRosa, & Mitch Breitweiser
April 2008
***

With the monthly IF delayed, Fraction fills in with this Orson Randall backstory one-shot. He & a round-robin of artists pay homage to various styles of pop narrative (incl. mid-century horror & cowgirl sexploitation), making for an awfully episodic tale. While Green Mist clarifies the motivations of Prince of Orphans (currently a mystical enigma in the parent mag), it’s finally superfluous.

continued from The Immortal Iron Fist #12
continued in The Immortal Iron Fist #13

The Immortal Iron Fist #12

November 28, 2010

Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction // David Aja, Kano, & Javier Pulido
February 2008
*****

Bru & Frac transform pulp fiction into meaningful drama. The kung fu contest is a screen for a feminist, anti-royalist celestial revolution! Rand’s father, like his adopted father Randall, wins by refusing to fight. Even a substitute artist can’t detract from this brilliant issue.

continued in The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall & the Green Mist of Death #1 of 1
last issue: The Immortal Iron Fist #11
next issue: The Immortal Iron Fist #13

The Immortal Iron Fist #11

November 27, 2010

Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction // David Aja & Kano
January 2008
****

Immortal‘s long, strong second arc just keeps building! Its fifth issue sees the villains triumphant. Davos, arch-foe to both Danny Rand & his father, wins a round in the kung fu tourney & earns a flashback. And the Heroes for Hire can’t stop HYDRA & their supersonic transdimensional train!

last issue: The Immortal Iron Fist #10
next issue: The Immortal Iron Fist #12

also indexed for Jan. ’08
Astonishing X-Men #23

The Immortal Iron Fist Annual #1

November 24, 2010

Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction // Howard Chaykin, Dan Brereton, & Jelena Djurdjevic
November 2007
***

Fist is hot enough & good enough to merit its first annual in its 3+ decades. The tale feels more Brubaker than Fraction, & a little self-indulgent: a set of two-fisted flashbacks to the pulpy career of the Jazz Age Iron Fist. These include a fight set on a dirigible above Harlem, malefic Asians & a team of sidekicks (a la Doc Savage). The square-jawed heroism gets a boost from Chaykin’s brawny style.

continued from The Immortal Iron Fist #9
continued in The Immortal Iron Fist #10

also indexed for Nov. ’07
The Immortal Iron Fist #9

The Immortal Iron Fist #9

November 23, 2010

Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction // David Aja & Scott Koblish
November 2007
****

In a twist, the whole kung fu tourney is a red herring! Danny Rand’s a pawn in a conspiracy set up by his mentor, the late Orson Randall, & Danny’s father. Thus, a tertiary plot flashes back to Rand Sr.’s training while the present sees Dan exit thru a steampunk portal, bound for Paris.

continued in The Immortal Iron Fist Annual #1
last issue: The Immortal Iron Fist #8
next issue: The Immortal Iron Fist #10

also indexed for Nov. ’07
The Immortal Iron Fist Annual #1

The Immortal Iron Fist #8

November 21, 2010

Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction // David Aja & Roy Allan Martinez
October 2007
*****

In just 1 year, Bru & Frac have enough new ideas for a long run. The Shangri La home of the Iron Fist is merely 1 of 7 interlocking cities, & the stars have aligned for a kung fu tournament btw. immortal weapons! But Rand’s old foe Davos schemes on Earth as well as heaven.

last issue: The Immortal Iron Fist #7
next issue: The Immortal Iron Fist #9

also indexed for Oct. ’07
Astonishing X-Men #22

The Immortal Iron Fist #7

November 20, 2010

Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction // Khari Evans, Leandro Fernandez, & Travel Foreman
August 2007
****

Interlude: an encore for the 16th c. IF, AKA the Pirate Queen of Pinghai Bay! The tale strikes an awed yet irreverent tone as it relates a lovely romance btw. the only female Iron Fist & a humble fisherman. As good as a comic can conceivably be when drawn by 3 artists w/ wildly differing styles.

last issue: The Immortal Iron Fist #6
next issue: The Immortal Iron Fist #8