Monday, July 27, 2015

IRON FIST #6

”DEATH MATCH!”
Author: Chris Claremont | Artist: John Byrne | Inker: Frank Chiarmonte
Letterer & Colorist: Karen Mantlo | Editor: Marv Wolfman

The Plot: Iron Fist invades Master Khan’s citadel in Halwan and flashes back to how he wound up there: his father’s attorney, Jeryn Hogarth, got a lead on Khan and flew Iron Fist to his headquarters. Iron Fist bailed out of Hogarth’s plane to mount his assault.

Meanwhile, in K’un L’un, Yu-Ti watches Iron Fist through a mystical crystal. Lei Kung admonishes him for misusing the device, then obliquely accuses Yu-Ti of having his brother, Iron Fist’s father, killed.

Back in Halwan, Iron Fist finds the brainwashed Colleen Wing and duels her as Angar the Screamer uses his “mindstorm” power to confuse the Living Weapon. But Iron Fist is a match for Colleen and uses his power to mind-meld with her and knock her out. Master Kahn and his men enter the room and the weakened Iron Fist is grabbed. Khan orders his men to execute the hero.

Continuity Notes: Alan Cavenaugh sees Danny Rand off at Heathrow Airport. Danny muses that he's been staying with Alan for the past month, keeping Claremont’s “real time” conceit alive and well (and keeping poor Colleen a prisoner of Master Khan for ten months now).

Danny finds Misty Knight, her artificial arm replaced, waiting aboard lawyer Hogarth’s plane. As they discuss her bionic appendage, Misty flashes back to the day she lost her real arm to a bomb.

Apparently female cops used to wear skirts??
Jeryn Hogarth debuts here. He will remain a regular member of Iron Fist’s supporting cast all the way into the era of POWER MAN AND IRON FIST. Here, Hogarth finally gets Iron Fist back on the trail of Master Khan, thanks to some detective work by Misty. It turns out she's worked for Hogarth for some time, keeping an eye on Danny Rand since his arrival in New York.

The reason for Hogarth’s interest in young Rand is revealed as the lawyer explains that Danny is owed a sizable inheritance -- 250 million dollars -- from his late father. This was hinted at by Colleen way back in MARVEL PREMIERE #23 – which, since these stories are apparently told in real time, was a year ago now. Hogarth apparently had little interest in getting in touch with Danny, despite his comments to the contrary.

(See why real time is such an awful idea, Chris? It murders sub-plot momentum.)


As he observes Iron Fist's adventure, Yu-Ti recaps all the foes Master Khan had set against his nephew, and a footnote refers to MARVEL PREMIERE 24 – 25 and IRON FIST 1, 2, and 5.

Lei Kung reveals that Danny’s father, Wendell, should have ruled K’un L’un, but Yu-Ti stole that birthright from him. Yu-Ti counters with the fact that Lei Kung’s son is a condemned traitor who fled the city. Is this Conal from issue 2? Or perhaps Davos? Hopefully we'll find out soon.


Yu-Ti also confirms for readers that issue 2’s Miranda was Danny Rand’s half-sister, the daughter of Wendell by a woman named Shakirah.

Yet another new use for the Iron Fist technique pops up this issue: it can link Iron Fist’s mind with that of another person. Added to the already established abilities of a powerful offensive strike and the ability to heal both others and Iron Fist himself, and we have quite a versatile power set for a character who began as a bit of a one-trick pony.

My Thoughts: “Mind control” is the center square on the official Chris Claremont Bingo Card. It's the “take three drinks” of the Chris Claremont Drinking Game. It shows up so often in his stories, one wonders if there wasn't a “mind control incentive” clause in his Marvel contract. He uses it so often that it's become a reverse cliché in his work: if you read a Claremont comic without mind control, hang onto it because it's sure to become a collector’s item.

I kid, of course, but not by much. What we have here, however, is -- to my knowledge, at least -- possibly the first instance of mind control in a Chris Claremont Marvel comic. And its victim is Colleen Wing.

(By the way, in that Claremont drinking game, you'd take four drinks if the mind control’s subject is a virtuous heroine turned into a sexy “bad girl” and forced to attack her male friends. So drink up, everybody. I'll pause until you're finished.)

This is actually a really eventful issue. Iron Fist’s mission in the present is the least interesting part, though Byrne nails the fight between the Living Weapon and Colleen beautifully. But the flashback to Hogarth’s plane is rife with interesting information, and the check-in with K’un L’un proves to be a pretty big shocker.

And, while I like the idea of returning to that city in the present day (as opposed to the boring flashbacks we had to suffer through early in the series’ run), I'm not sure what I think about the revelation that Yu-Ti is up to no good. “Everything you thought you knew is wrong” works sometimes, and I like it when it does work. But here it rings false. Sinister Cobra Commander hood aside, Yu-Ti always seemed like a pretty good guy. But now suddenly we’re told that he stole his brother’s birthright as K'un L'un’s ruler, exiled him from the city over the woman they both loved, and possibly even had him killed.

It just feels a bit like unnecessary character assassination to me. But if Claremont can turn it into more than that, maybe I'll change my mind.

2 comments:

  1. So drink up, everybody. I'll pause until you're finished.

    Too late, I'm already dead. :)

    . What we have here, however, is -- to my knowledge, at least -- possibly the first instance of mind control in a Chris Claremont Marvel comic.

    It looks like this issue was on sale at the same time as X-MEN #100 (at least according to Mike's Amazing Word), which means it's after X-MEN #97, which featured a mind-controlled Havok & Polaris. Though, at this time, I'm not sure we *knew* they were being mind-controlled by Eric the Red (as it was unclear if they'd just turned bad, or were under someone else's control), so maybe this still counts as the first overt, knew-it-as-it-happened instance of mind control.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm, good catch. In my head, these IRON FIST issues predate the X-MEN stuff even though I'm well aware they all happened at the same time. I think the bi-monthly schedules throw things off for me.

      Delete