Monday, September 14, 2015


Author: Chris Claremont | Artist: John Byrne | Inker: Dave Hunt
Letterer: John Costanza | Colorist: Dave Hunt | Editor: Archie Goodwin

You are Iron Fist, and once upon a time, you were the Living Weapon, the finest martial artist in the fabled city of K’un-Lun and on Earth.

That has changed.

The Plot: Peter Parker arrives at Danny Rand’s townhouse to shoot a photo layout for the Daily Bugle. But Danny receives an ultimatum from someone called the “Steel Serpent” and cancels the appointment. Sensing Danny is in trouble, Peter changes to Spider-Man and follows him.

Meanwhile, Misty Knight, undercover as John Bushmaster’s moll, Maya Korday, learns that Bushmaster has helped Steel Serpent arrange his hit on Iron Fist. Misty breaks cover and flees Bushmaster’s yacht to go find Iron Fist.

In Inwood Park, Iron Fist comes face to face with Steel Serpent, who reveals himself as Davos, the son of Lei Kung the Thunderer. Steel Serpent and Iron Fist begin their duel, which is interrupted by Spider-Man. Serpent stuns the wall-crawler and takes advantage of Iron Fist’s concern for his friend to steal his chi, and the power of the Iron Fist. Misty arrives, but is too late to save her friend. Steel Serpent departs as Iron Fist lays comatose in Misty’s arms.

Continuity Notes: Narration states that it’s been two years since Danny Rand left K’un L’un in MARVEL PREMIERE #15 -- which means Claremont isn’t quite telling his stories in real time any more, given that this issue was published about three and a half years later.

There are a few footnotes and flashbacks to the final issues of IRON FIST, in particular issues 14 and 15, as Iron Fist recalls his previous encounters with Davos. Later Iron Fist refers to Davos as “…better than any martial artist [he’s] ever faced, save Shang-Chi.” There is no footnote to let readers know when the Living Weapon encountered the Master of Kung Fu.

Davos identifies himself as the son Lei Kung, banished from K’un L’un by his father and Yu-Ti before Danny Rand was born.

When he stumbles onto the Iron Fist/Steel Serpent duel, Spider-Man recalls that Iron Fist saved him from Drom, the Backwards Man in MARVEL TEAM-UP #31.

Misty borrows a car and, inexplicably, an energy blaster, from Jeryn Hogarth’s penthouse before heading to the park to help Iron Fist.

My Thoughts: And now we reach the issues which gave me the idea for this little concurrent review series in the first place: the point of intersection between IRON FIST and MARVEL TEAM-UP, as Claremont and Byrne continue their Davos/Steel Serpent story, aborted by the cancellation of IRON FIST, in the pages of MTU.

Claremont certainly makes sure Iron Fist gets his due here, too. This basically reads like IRON FIST #16 -- and heck, maybe this is the originally conceived plot for that issue with Spider-Man added in to accommodate TEAM-UP. He does feel somewhat extraneous to the action, following Iron Fist to the park and promptly getting knocked out for his trouble. Of the issue’s seventeen story pages, Spider-Man appears in only six (with Peter Parker popping up for a seventh).

I suppose if I was a kid picking the issue up to see “Spidey and Iron Fist -- together”, I might be a smidge disappointed by the short shrift paid to the web-slinger here. But reading it now, knowing this was the best chance for Claremont and Byrne to tie up their IRON FIST plotlines, I have no problem with that.

Of note in this issue is that Spider-Man seems to discover Iron Fist’s not-so-secret identity when he gets to the park and finds A) Danny Rand’s clothes in a pile and B) Iron Fist a few yards away fighting Steel Serpent. It had become a bit of a running gag at the end of IRON FIST that Danny’s secret was extremely ill kept, so it’s nice to see Claremont follow up on that here.

Unfortunately there’s not much else to say about this issue. As a fan of seventies exploitation films, I would expect better of an issue which features both kung fu action and Misty doing her best Foxy Brown impression. But while there is an extended fight scene between Iron Fist and Steel Serpent, the Bushmaster plot is dropped in very short order. He tosses out a threat against Misty, but with only two MARVEL TEAM-UP issues dedicated to Iron Fist, Claremont and Byrne will have no time to follow up on it. And they couldn't possibly be planning to revisit Bushmaster in yet another series... could they??

Beyond that, all we get out of the issue is the revelation of who Davos is, but we still don’t know the origin of his grudge against Iron Fist, other than that he believes he should have been the rightful recipient of the power of the Iron Fist. Really, what we have here is an extended set-up for the next issue, so hopefully it’ll pay off.

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