Monday, August 10, 2015


Hold it, Iron Fist!

“Make a move, an’ you’re one dead superhero!

Story by Chris Claremont | Photography & Layout by John Byrne & Dan Adkins
Color Interpretation by Bonnie Wilford | Editor: Archie Goodwin
There is no Letterer credited in this issue. attributes the letters to Irving Watanabe.

The Plot: Iron Fist is on the run from the police, accused of the murder of Bill Hao. He eventually bumps into Colleen and Misty, who, after a brief skirmish, decide that he was famed. Iron Fist spends the next week waging war against the Golden Tigers to draw Chaka out of hiding. Eventually Chaka confronts Iron Fist at Nightwing Restorations’ office, where Iron Fist finally defeats him.

In the aftermath, Bill turns up alive, having been kept hidden by Lt. Rafael Scarfe in order to give Iron Fist a legitimate vendetta against Chaka.

Continuity Notes: Early in the issue, a flashback fills us on what exactly happened following the events of last issue: the police cornered Iron Fist over “Chaka’s” body, unmasked him as Bill, and began hunting Iron Fist.

It's revealed that attorney Bill served on the staff of District Attorney Blake Tower.

Iron Fist notes that Colleen’s martial arts skills seem far more advanced than before, most likely as a result of their mind-meld in issue 6.

Misty’s wardrobe this issue apparently served as the inspiration for beloved Spider-Man villainess Belladonna (the cover of whose first appearance, as it happens, was illustrated by John Byrne).

This issue picks up hours after the last one ended, but a week passes within its pages. During his days hounding the Golden Tigers, Iron Fist is unable to hide in his identity of Danny Rand, since so many people -- including Lt. Scarfe -- know who he really is.

It's revealed that the office of Nightwing Restorations, Misty’s and Colleen’s P.I. firm, is located in the Anson Hotel (they also receive a company logo courtesy of Byrne).

During his fight with Chaka, Iron Fist notes that, as during his duels with Radion and Master Khan, seen in issues 4 and 7, he's once more absorbing his foe’s energy attacks.

My Thoughts: Coming into this issue, one feels that perhaps the Golden Tigers saga has run a bit long -- but that concern is quickly forgotten as Claremont and Byrne give us a tight, exciting conclusion in these seventeen pages. The issue breezes by, not because it's underwritten or decompressed, but because it's paced just about perfectly.

And Byrne is at the top of his game, too, as usual. He uses a ton of splash pages and large panel layouts in his IRON FIST work, and the result is bold and colorful action which is, to me, light years ahead of practically anything else in comics around this time.

My only issue with this particular installment is the way Iron Fist’s supposed “friends” treat him here. Scarfe, I can maybe buy. He's a cop first and foremost, and he believes that withholding the truth about Bill will give Iron Fist an honest reason to pursue Chaka. It's underhanded, but it makes a bit of sense.

Misty and Colleen, on the other hand, I don't get. They confront Iron Fist on a rooftop early in the story and immediately believe him guilty of Bill’s murder, simply because he accidentally tried to punch Misty when he didn't recognize her and mistook her for another cop on his tail. These women have been through a lot with Iron Fist, and Colleen especially, after the mind-meld, should know what he is and is not capable of. Yet they immediately assume the worst of him in the name of a gratuitous misunderstanding fight. The story isn't serving the characters here; Claremont and Byrne are forcing the characters to serve a fight they want to shoehorn into the story.

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