Monday, July 20, 2015


A tale of triumph and tragedy presented by:
Author: Chris Claremont | Artist: John Byrne | Inker: Frank Chiaramonte
Letterer: John Costanza | Colorist: Janice Cohen | Editor: Marv Wolfman

The place: An upper maintenance level of London’s General Post Office Tower

The people: On one hand, Iron Fist, the Living Weapon -- a man who has done his best this night, only to discover that a man’s best is sometimes not enough… and facing him, Radion, the Atomic Man, once called the Ravager. A man gone mad.

The time: One minute into one man’s private armageddon!

The Plot: Radion fights Iron Fist while Ward and Joy Meachum, along with a mystery guest, watch the BBC broadcast. In London, Iron Fist awakens after an explosion to find Radion gone. He recharges himself with his power then sees a video recorded by Radion prior to his transformation.

At the hospital, Misty attempts to depart and aid Iron Fist, but suffers a seizure. Meanwhile, Radion is atop the Post Office Tower, firing on the city below, when Iron Fist confronts him. They fight again, and Iron Fist lures the villain to a chamber he learned about in the video. Activating the chamber, Iron Fist transforms Radion back into his benevolent mortal self, Dr. Henri Sorel. Penitent over his crimes, Sorel dies in Iron Fist’s arms.

Continuity Notes: On page 2, Radion recaps the previous issue’s climax and also describes himself as a walking hydrogen bomb, which the Ravager armor kept in check.

The mystery man with the Meachums is the yet-unnamed Davos, a.k.a. Steel Serpent. Interestingly, though he spoke with Ward Meachum on the phone two issues previous, here Ward mistrusts Davos, who is said to be in the specific employ of Joy.

Thanks to a vision from Yu-Ti, Iron Fist discovers that he can use his power to heal himself (though he apparently already knew it could heal others as seen with Professor Wing in issue 2). He also finds himself incredibly weak after using the Iron Fist technique twice in three hours and realizes there's a time limit on the ability (though previous writers, particularly Tony Isabella, seemed to contradict this idea).

Per a footnote, U.N. scientist Henri Sorel became Radion in MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #9, a tale which apparently involved the Puppet Master, the Thing, and Thor. The video Iron Fist watches, recorded by Dr. Sorel, reveals that he was turned into Radion by agents of Ward Meachum, though I doubt that took place in the TWO-IN-ONE issue, since Meachum didn't exist at that point.

My Thoughts: It's an all-action issue in the Mighty Marvel Manner. The difference, however, between this wall-to-wall actioner and -- for example -- Doug Moench’s risible “Citadel on the Edge of Vengeance” in MARVEL PREMIERE #17, is that something actually happens here. Iron Fist begins the issue at Radion’s mercy, he learns along the way how to defeat Radion, and in the end, he does so. This is what one calls a “story” and is a concept Iron Fist’s earlier writers could've stood to learn from.

And, even considering that the issue is just wall-to-wall action, we get some nice development for our hero as he learns a new (and potentially very useful) application of his power. Plus there's that whole “pathos for the antagonist” thing Chris Claremont does so well, which I talked about last time.

Even the art looks better here. Maybe Frank Chiaramonte just had a bad month last issue, or perhaps he simply hadn't figured out the best approach for John Byrne’s pencils yet -- but whatever the case, Chiaramonte’s work this time is much smoother and better polished, and as a result this looks once more like the work of the John Byrne we know and love.

Byrne’s London, I should add -- what little we see of it -- looks really nice, too. Byrne and Claremont both were born in England, though they had both emigrated to North America as children. But I seem to recall reading that when Byrne was called upon to draw London for this story, he barely needed to look for any reference, so ingrained was the place in his childhood memories. At any rate, whether referenced or not, the place appears authentic to me, especially in the establishing shot of Misty’s hospital.

There isn't a lot of story in this issue, but there's plenty of action and some decent character development. It's clear by now that Claremont and Byrne are going into one of their patented extend-o-stories, where Colleen’s kidnapping will likely remain on the back-burner for a bit as Iron Fist finds himself confronted with other, more pressing matters. As a fan of this style of storytelling, that's just fine with me.

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