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Immortal Iron Fist: The Complete Collection Volume 1 Paperback – December 24, 2013
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"Jeez, why does everyone keep asking me that --".
If you are a person who read Hawkeye #8 and saw the reference and knew what it meant, then you must have read Fraction/Aja's work on Iron Fist years before. If you did not get the reference, you are not alone. Iron Fist has never been a popular character in the Marvel Universe since his creation in the 70's, having only a handful of times to stand out in the crowd of superheroes. But things changed dramatically in January 2007 when the title character got a fresh new start with big time Captain America writer Ed Brubaker and a young writer named Matt Fraction co-writing, as well as this low-named artist David Aja. The series gave a whole new perspective on Iron Fist like never before. It garnered enough attention for Marvel to make an omnibus of the series. But over the years the omnibus has been out of print, in high demand, and utterly costly.
But thanks to the massive success of Marvel NOW!'s Hawkeye under now well-known writer Matt Fraction and recognized artist David Aja, the demand to see these two working together has made it possible for Marvel to hopefully use that recognition of making a character like Hawkeye most would not give a chance on his own, for the likes of Iron Fist. As a fan of the kung fu wonder, I'm truly happy to see this long out of print series given a new outlook for audiences to grasp onto.
IMMORTAL IRON FIST: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION VOLUME 1 collects Immortal Iron Fist 1-16, Annual 1; Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death 1. Portions of story also include Immortal Iron Fist: The Origin of Danny Rand 1 and Civil War: Choosing Sides 1. Further review for each volumes:
The Immortal Iron Fist, Vol. 1: The Last Iron Fist Story
Immortal Iron Fist, Vol. 2: The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven
Immortal Iron Fist, Vol. 3: The Book of Iron Fist
***Please click on each of the links above. I will not give as much information since each link give far more detail on the subject.***
Danny Rand is the current 66th Iron Fist, the strongest martial artist from an ancient civilization called K'un L'un. The bearer of the title of Iron Fist uses his or her chi/chakra/inner energy to heighten their physical abilities to superhuman levles is on the run from Hydra for some reason or the next. Come to find out, it has to do with a link to a former Iron Fist, Orson Rand, who see's Danny as a young IF with a ton of knowledge lacking of his powers and what responsibilities that come with being an IF. Caught in a conspiracy, Danny must figure out the history of the Iron Fist legacy and even come to terms that there are six other ancient cities who too have their own champion warrior as K'un L'un has an Iron Fist. This leads to a competition that will decide the cycle according to which each of the Seven Cities of Heaven appears on Earth. But things are not what they appear to be...
This series is an excellent jump on point for new and old readers. Most of what Brubaker and Fraction keep Rand's original origins intact, but still catch new readers with vivid explanations. Both writers share writing duties (I'm not going to get into the argument about who wrote what and or more than the other) with the series having a great sense of grounded grittiness and noir, with slight helpings of pulp action and Eastern mysticism. So it keeps a great sense of fantasy, but yet makes it accessible. We get the current and main timeline of Danny and how he's developing as a warrior and we get flashbacks of the various Iron Fist over the hundreds of years. Hence the title of Iron Fist being "Immortal".
The shared writing is thanks to Brubaker writing most of the grittiness, the main over-arching storyline, and the deep character developments that the man is known for. While Fraction wrote the lighter and more humorous scenes that we see shine through in Fraction's Hawkeye series. It's nowhere near as the same level of charm and lightness like Hawkeye, but considering this was some of Fraction's earlier work and with Brubaker keeping the grit central to Iron Fist, you can see Fraction's form of writing that would lead into the writer he is today.
And again, David Aja does majority of the drawing here for issues #1-13 and #16. Aja's minimalist style is beautiful for the setting, with most of his art being more sketchy and dark to fit the noir effect under Brubaker. While drawing under Fraction, you see it's more lighter in tone and portrays Danny Rand more laid back and aloof. You can vividly see her where Fractions writing and Aja's art would make up the tone for Clint Barton/Hawkeye in the future, even to the point where Aja's Iron Fist looks and acts closely to his Hawkeye (now you get the reference?). Lots of fill-in artist do some pages per issue to lighten Aja's art, as well as show contrast for either Brubaker or Fraction writing. It can get jarring because every artist is different, but it's still top notch like Travel Foreman, Kano, Derek Friedolfs, and Javier Pulido (another Hawkeye artist!) are just some examples.
I had barely any negatives here. If there any negatives, is that the story can get convoluted with the time jumping. And it takes this entire book to sum up many over arching plots that might seem slow to some. But for me, I did not mind any of it at all. And this trade paperback is the exact same version as the The Immortal Iron Fist Omnibus (I think so, but I do not own that version so I could be missing something). We get some script pages, Aja's sketches, and Hey! advertisements for Fraction/Aja's Hawkeye series: front and back pages.
IMMORTAL IRON FIST: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION VOLUME 1 is truly a great and reasonably priced series that was super expensive and rare before. If you are an Iron Fist fan or a new reader looking to try out the character, or have become a fan of Fraction and Aja's Hawkeye series, this is the perfect choice to have or tryout.
After this volume, Brubaker and Fraction leave with Duane Swierczynski taking over writing duties until the very end of Rand's solo series that will be collected in Immortal Iron Fist: The Complete Collection Volume 2.
Man, I don't know how I missed this great story! (...well, Iron First was never a grade A super hero...well, that's my excuse).
This is a great storyline. Beautifully written and drawn. Definitely a great addition to my collection
I have read NOTHING about Danny Rand, and did not feel out of the loop throughout this collection. Great little snippets about past Iron Fists, and a great way to get started on this hero.
If you weren't a fan of the Netflix show (I wasn't very impressed myself), this could still win you over. If you want to know who or what the Iron Fist is really all about, look no further than this collection.
I had to wait nearly a month for it to be shipped (god knows why) but I can forgive that since this work was as good as it is.