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REVIEW – Marvel Comics ‘Iron Fist’ #1

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Do you remember #AAIronFist? It may not be Netflix or Marvel Studios answering the phone, but it looks like Marvel Comics is picking up the call. Nearly 50 years after the Iron Fist was introduced in comics, the book is going to be led by an Asian character. While the name of the new Iron Fist has been under wraps, if you’ve read any of the New Agents of Atlas (2019) then you may see a familiar face! 

Iron Fist #1 is available now at your local comic book shop! Spoiler Review! 

Iron First #1 Variant Cover by Leinil Francis Yu
Iron First #1 Variant Cover by Leinil Francis Yu

WHO IS THE NEW IRON FIST?! After giving up his power to save the world, DANNY RAND believes he’s seen the last of the IRON FIST… …But when DEMONS begin to attack cities around the world, a MYSTERIOUS NEWCOMER in a FAMILIAR MASK appears, hands blazing with the CHI OF SHOU-LAO THE UNDYING! Who is this NEW IRON FIST? And does his power really come from the DRAGON OF K’UN-LUN… Or from something far more sinister?

Writer: Alyssa Wong 
Penciler: Michael YG
Colourist: Jay David Ramos 
Letterer: vc’s Travis Lanham 
Cover Artists: Jim Cheung and Jay David Ramos 

REVIEW – Move Over Danny Rand!

Before we get into it, I want to bring some attention to the cover Iron Fist #1. It looks pretty damn epic! It’s certainly the first thing that caught my eye when I was reading this issue. And this cover definitely gives a glimpse into what’s in store – action, adventure and agility! 

Iron Fist #1 is very much designed for a new audience. I think that’s important to keep in mind because there is quite a bit of exposition used to explain how the powers of Iron Fist (aka Shou-Lao’s chi) went from Danny Rand to – drum roll please – Lin Lie (aka Sword Master). I think the use of exposition in this case is helpful in setting the tone and approach to writing a new Iron Fist story and character that does not centre on Danny. Alyssa Wong’s writing is paced and organised really well, which helps guide readers on how the legacy and history of Iron Fist is situated in relation to Lin Lie’s story. 

I appreciate how the story is structured and organised for this first issue because it gives enough context to situate Lin Lie from his former role as Sword Master and how he’s moving into being Iron Fist. While it looks like Danny Rand is going to be part of this run, unlike the past, he’s not going to be front and centre. The narration of issue 1 starts with Danny, but quickly centres Lin Lie’s perspective and experience of having Shou-Lao’s chi. We learn even more about Lin Lie and his situation when he returns to K’un-Lun and Mei Min is waiting for him. Mei Min looks to be an interesting character because she not only rescued Lin Lie, but also seems knowledgeable and can handle herself in combat. I’m excited to see more of her! 

I really liked  Michael YG’s artwork and Jay David Ramos’ colours. There are some spectacular splash pages in this issue! The first splash page is a real hero’s welcome to Lin Lie as Iron Fist, and the second splash page highlights the symbolism of Lin Lie receiving Shou-Lao’s chi. These two splash pages are not only visually stunning, but also work really well as transition points in the plot. YG’s art is detail oriented and fluid, and the action sequences flow quite seamlessly, and are easy to follow. The attention to detail is best reflected when Lin Lie returns to K’un-Lun and he walks through the village with Mei Min. The buildings in the village remind me of the Hong Kong/Chinese historical dramas I used to watch with my parents, and combined with Ramos’ use of colours and shadows, the atmosphere in combat scenes and the warmth in the village really come to life. 

Long story short, a lot is packed into Iron Fist #1 but it is also an exciting story. Some may find the use of exposition too much (there were one or two instances where it felt really obvious), but I think it helps situate new readers. While Lin Lie is trying to piece his life and sword together, so that an evil God named Chiyou is not released, he’s also coming to terms with his new powers. 

This is my first time really reading an Iron fist comic, so I’m interested in seeing where this goes. Given the legacy and history around Iron Fist, I’m interested in how this new series handles these tricky issues. As much as I’m excited to see movement around Iron Fist being an Asian character, it’s also not new anymore for legacy superheroes to pass their mantles to new(er) characters. Given how character perspectives were centred in this issue, I’m looking forward to the next issue!

RATING – 4.5/5 Pocky

Pocky Rating 4.5
Erika Chung Profile pic min

Erika Chung is a fan of comics, pop culture and genre media. She’s also a grad student and her research interests are in comics, fan culture and the intersectionality of race and gender.

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