When we last saw Danny, a creepy cannibal man-rat who doesn’t believe in cutting his fingernails was using his lack of personal hygiene to defeat K’un-Lun’s champion. Will Danny survive The Rat of 12 plagues? Will he regain his chi and find purpose again? Most importantly, is it good? Let’s find out.
Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Mike Perkins
Publisher: Marvel Comics
“THE GAME OF DEATH! Danny continues to travel the hazardous martial arts gauntlet, but will he have restored enough of his mojo to survive the skills of THE SERPENT?? The true motivations of the mysterious Council are revealed. An ally appears, but can anyone in the gauntlet be trusted?”
What’s the skinny?
Things pick up right where they left off in issue two: Danny is facing off against the second of the seven masters of Liu-Shi, The Rat of 12 Plagues. A notable difference between this fight and his first fight–his opponent appears intent on not just defeating Danny, but devouring his flesh as well.
Needless to say, the tone of this book is drastically different from the first two issues. I was wondering how far into the arc Brisson would take us before the set up transitioned into the meat and potatoes; I wonder no more. It’s not just the opponent that’s taken a different tone either. Last issue the mysterious facilitators of this event became slightly less mysterious as some of their cards were laid on the table. Unsurprisingly the rabbit hole goes deeper for the council of seven masters, as they take further nefarious steps toward realizing their ultimate goal.
What’s good here?
Mike Perkins is so awesomely consistent with his delivery of high quality work. I look forward to the fight scenes in this book because I love kung fu and I love watching Iron Fist kick ass. But I especially look forward to those scenes because of how masterfully Perkins brings them to life. The panels that show an array of kung fu moves being played out in a sequence are my favorites. There’s a panel on page 20 where Danny is going up against his third master–The Resourceful Snake, a guy with no arms (seriously)–that perfectly displays why Perkins is so good at what he does.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the color work of Andy Troy. The artwork is already impressive on its own, but Troy’s contributions somehow brings it to an even higher level. The tone for Iron Fist’s first and second fights in this issue are dramatically different. If you removed the dialogue entirely you’d still be able to understand that and it’s a credit to Troy’s skill that I can confidently make that statement.
Brisson does a great job in providing Iron Fist with unique and interesting opponents in the form of The Rat of 12 Plagues and The Resourceful Snake. My enjoyment of each character was mainly derived from the backstory they were given. The characters couldn’t have been more different than each other but regardless of that, they were both still compelling.
The dynamic between Danny and his guide Hark provided several laugh out loud moments. More importantly though, it touches on a subject that has been controversial with some fans of Iron Fist, especially since the release of the television series. Hark makes note of Danny Rand’s status as an outsider of K’un-Lun who came into their city and took something that didn’t belong to him. Maybe I’m interpreting this all wrong, but that’s how I took Brisson’s writing here and I’m glad to see it in the story.
This story is jam packed with action from start to finish. Every fight sequence was beautiful drawn and colored, and I enjoyed them so much I found myself re-reading them several times over. Both of Danny’s rival champions he faced were unique and interesting characters. Brisson provided laughs and handled touching a sensitive subject very smoothly.
Just when it seems like we’re past the point of setup yet another mysterious card is thrown face down on the table. In addition to that, we’re tossed another surprise in the form of Choshin. I saw the Choshin swerve coming from a mile away and I don’t necessarily welcome yet another mystery player. I want my classic kung fu story and it feels like we may be moving further and further away from that. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.