Modern Classics: Iron Fist

Danny Rand is Iron Fist.

But up until Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction, being Iron Fist was pretty lame. 

And though the switch from dojo slippers to regular boots was a big boost, it was the fact that Iron Fist for the first time felt tangible. He was real. He was finally realized in the Marvel way.

For as long as I can remember Iron Fist felt like he should be cool. The elements were there – he was halfway between Daredevil and Tony Stark, a great supporting cast and the potential was there. But his characterization was essentially halfway between a 70’s Kung Fu movie and the depth of Burt Reynolds. It wasn’t much to work with. After a relatively successful run in the 70’s with Power Man (Luke Cage), he was burnt toast and essentially faded into obscurity, save an appearance once a year or so in Daredevil, Web of Spider-Man, or… that’s about it. He even died. Did you know that? I didn’t – and as a 9 year old I treated it like my job to know that kind of thing!!

As it turns out Iron Fist’s peak wouldn’t come in the 1970’s, so Greg Brady, Peter Frampton, and Led Zeppelin can keep that seat warm for someone else. Someone finally put a soul into that shell courtesy of the aforementioned writing team of Brubaker and Fraction. Not just to Danny Rand, though that is done in spades throughout, but also to the “iron fist” as a mythos. K’un L’un meant absolutely nothing compared to what it is now. 

In this, the most recent incarnation of an Iron Fist ongoing series, the risks and rewards of comics come to full fruition. New characters, new stories, and a completely stripped down, refreshing look at a character who had been rotting on the tree for the better part of 25 years. Kudos. You MUST check out the initial three trade collections, and for your convenient consumption they are all posted here: Volume 1 (The Last Iron Fist Story), Volume 2 ( Seven Capital Cities of Heaven), Volume 3 (The Book of Iron Fist).

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