Wednesday, July 15, 2015

IRON FIST #3

”THE CITY’S NOT FOR BURNING!”
Author: Chris Claremont | Artist: John Byrne | Inker: Frank Chiaramonte
Letterer: Dave Hunt | Colorist: Don Warfield | Editor: Marv Wolfman

You are Iron Fist -- and you have come to London to save the life of a friend.

You may also have come here to die!


The Plot: An airliner carrying Danny Rand and Misty Knight is shot down as it descends over Heathrow Airport. Dany changes to Iron Fist and challenges the plane’s attacker, an armored man named the Ravager. But Ravager proves too powerful for Iron Fist and escapes.

Later, as Misty recovers at the hospital, Danny is spurred to put his quest for Colleen Wing on the back burner and search for the Ravager instead. He tracks the villain to London’s General Post Office Tower, where their rematch begins. But this time Iron Fist unleashes his full power, which destroys the Ravager’s armor and blows up the tower, apparently killing both of them.

Continuity Notes: Misty demonstrates super-strength twice during the airport crisis, and soon after it’s revealed that she has a bionic arm. The limb is damaged beyond repair, sidelining Misty for the rest of Iron Fist’s adventure.

Iron Fist uses tracking skills taught him by Lei Kung the Thunderer to find the Ravager. Later, as he scales the Post Office Tower, narration notes that he chooses the stairs over the elevator due to his experience in Harold Meachum’s office tower in MARVEL PREMIERE #17.

When the Ravager is released from his armor, he rechristens himself Radion, the Atomic Man.


The explosion at the tower is reported upon by real-life BBC newsman John Cheever, who Claremont would use more than once in future comics.

My Thoughts: John Byrne once said of Jim Shooter saying of Chris Claremont, “Shooter summed up Chris' strongest ability as a writer. He said Chris would always make you CARE about the smallest character in a story. No one ever died a cipher, for instance.”

That skill is on full display through much of the early going this issue. The second page gives us a quick sketch of the airplane’s pilot and co-pilot just before they're shot down, resulting in the death of one and the severe injury of the other. We will never see or hear of them again, but we know them, despite their extremely minor roles in this story.

Then, through the airport crisis, Misty rescues a young girl and keeps her safe. Later, at the hospital, Danny witnesses the child heading into surgery and exchanges words of encouragement with her. She's optimistic that all will go well. But finally, after a meeting with Misty in which she very nearly convinces him to leave the Ravager alone and continue the search for Colleen, Danny learns that the girl didn't survive her operation. It is this which finally sets him on the Ravager’s trail despite Colleen’s predicament.

A reader can almost agree with Misty initially, that Colleen, a personal friend of Danny and herself, is more important than the Ravager. But once you learn that little girl is gone, everything changes and you want to see the Ravager brought to justice. Is it emotional manipulation? Maybe. But it works, due in no small part to Claremont's mutant power to make a reader care about any character, no matter how minor -- and really, that's the bottom line.

Unfortunately, I can't speak so highly of the artwork this issue. Byrne is strong as usual, giving us some great action and exciting character poses -- but Frank Chiaramonte just isn't a good inker for him. Everything is too scratchy and rough-looking, which just doesn't meld well with Byrne’s clean style. Chiaramonte's inks fit the style of the time, but Byrne is changing that style before the readers' eyes, and he needs an inker who can keep up.


Nonetheless, this is a fact-paced, exciting story with just the right amount of pathos to keep a reader invested. The search for Colleen Wing is of to a fine start.

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