Over the past few years, Danny Rand has popped up here and there in various comics in a supporting role as an Avenger or a Defender or a Hero for Hire, but now Iron Fist is making a big comeback to all things Marvel. A few months after it was announced that Danny Rand would be starring in his own Netflix show, we learned that Luke Cage’s associate would also be headlining his first solo comic book series since the early 2000s. Written and drawn by Kaare Kyle Andrews, ‘Iron Fist: The Living Weapon’ finds the Young Dragon returning to the mystical land of K’un-Lun, the place where he trained in the martial arts and became the man he is today.
In the first issue, we got to see a side of Iron Fist that we haven’t gotten to see in a while. Danny stepped out from the background and into the spotlight as Andrews reintroduced us to the dangerous side of the kung-fu fighter. After briefly touching on his origin story, we found our hero in the heat of battle with some ninjas who were sent to keep Rand from getting an urgent message to return to K’un-Lun.
One of the most unique things about this book is that the writer is also the artist. I can’t even name any other mainstream ongoing comic where that’s the case. And understandably so because it’s a lot of work, but Andrews definitely pulls it off. However, because of the amount of work involved, I wonder if this title will end up having some delays down the line. I hope not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened.
Prior to returning for this All-New Marvel NOW title, Andrews spent some time in Hollywood and it really shows in this book. This issue has such a cinematic feel in both the writing and the artwork. Going through the panels very much feels like watching a show on HBO or Showtime. Danny Rand even nearly resembles like Dexter Morgan, especially in the panels where he has the same facial expression as he goes through the motions of his regular life while still dealing with his extraordinary gifts. This version of the character almost has a Michael C. Hall meets Robert Downey Jr. attitude because he’s definitely dangerous, but also has a funny side too. For example, he keeps forgetting his one night stand’s name, but he pulls off some awesome ninja moves to protect her. If this first issue is any indication, I’m definitely going to like the action in this book.
As for the art, the first thing that came to mind when I looked at the art style was a mix of the comic and the movie versions of Frank Miller’s ‘Sin City’. The reds and yellows really stand out against the blacks to highlight the events taking place. But then a few times Andrews keeps things back and white to show the dichotomy of Danny Rand’s life. All together the art has a cool grittiness about it that fits the tone of the story very well.
Basically, I’m glad that the trend of martial arts comics is making a comeback. I love Shang-Chi’s expanded role in the Marvel Universe, but to go and give Iron Fist a solo series is definitely a step in the right direction. And as much as the themes may be a throwback, ‘Iron Fist: The Living Weapon’ has a very modern feel to it. In addition to the great art, our main character isn’t shown in the best light, but that’s what makes him interesting. You’ll definitely want to check this out to follow Danny’s journey to see if he brings himself to be unbroken once again. (Also, ninjas. Because who doesn’t love ninjas?)
IRON FIST: THE LIVING WEAPON #1
Written by Kaare Kyle Andrews
Art by Kaare Kyle Andrews
Cover by Kaare Kyle Andrews