Iron Fist holds a special place in my heart. Ever since his appearances in Bendis’ New Avengers and Fractions’ Immortal Iron Fist (mostly this series), Danny Rand has quickly become one of my favorite characters.  From team-ups with Luke Cage and Spider-Man to elaborations on his past and his connection to the kung fu city of K’un Lun, we’ve gotten to know a lot more about the mystical side of the Marvel universe.  And I don’t know about you, but I love it.

So, the moment I saw the announcement for this series, I knew I had to read it.  As excited as I was for this series however, I had a bit of apprehension.  Immortal Iron Fist is something sacred.  Was anything going to be able to match it, let alone top it?

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The Story: Danny Rand is a broken man. Rand tower is destroyed. A hollow shell in the midst of the city. A reminder of a past he tries to forget.  But as always, that sort of thing catches up with you.  The sudden appearance of a little girl from the mystical city of K’un Lun and a new enemy draw him back to the city of his youth and the birthplace of his power.

Let me start off by saying that Iron Fist: The Living Weapon is made (almost) entirely by one person. The man: Kaare Kyle Andrews.  A one person show like this is apt to go either way on the quality scale, but this is not any occasion to fear.  To be clear, it didn’t even fully click for me till after issue #3 that the majority of the work was done by one person.  My passive mind had me thinking that “Kaare”, “Kyle”, and “Andrews” were the three last names billed for the series.  Writer, artist, colorist. The hubris! After taking this into account, I realized how much this the Iron Fist’s journey was benefiting from this almost singular vision.

The Living Weapon shows a side of Danny Rand we’ve never had the opportunity to see before.  Dark and contemplative, he is less the light-hearted martial arts master and more of a grim fighter outrunning his past. Haunted by the deaths of his parents when he was young, he cannot stop thinking about how it lead him to the present; how it changed his life forever. There are still amusing moments: “Oh crap” moments where he literally says “oh crap.”

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Moments like this are great and show us the Danny we know is still there beneath the brooding. A Yet these moments simultaneously feel out of place when compared to the mood of the rest of the series.

But maybe my problem is constantly comparing it to Iron Fist series before it. As a stand alone series, The Living Weapon does a marvelous job. Knowledge of Iron Fist helps a bit in reading this series, but honestly, the majority of content is recaptured with a brilliant simplicity. Sure, you’ll think “I remember this this bad dude. He and Danny have beef” or “I remember the way Danny travels to K’un Lun.”  But this stuff’s small potatoes to the story that Andrews has laid out.

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The soap-opera-esque martial arts beefs in the world of the Iron Fist are but one side to this comic. This old enemy appearing to ruin the day is but a tool used to delve deeper into the character of Danny Rand.  Hidden amongst the flashbacks and the inner monologues is an understated wisdom. Almost too understated. Hidden amongst action panels and crowded between speech bubbles, simple and honest phrases jump out at you whether for their fitting placement or their ringing with truth.

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The Art: is incredible. Showcasing not only his talent in writing but also his illustration skills, Andrews delivers a new take on the Iron Fist on all fronts. Walking the line between reserved and viscerally hyper-stylized, Andrews captures the many sides of the characters and the world of the Iron Fist.  Sometimes swinging from one to the other within a few pages of an issue, we get completely different vibes from New York and the kung-fu-epic-themed world of K’un Lun.

From majestic full page and two page spreads to the wonderfully flowing lines of combat, Andrews impresses with each continuing issue.  Martial arts poses are strong and highly detailed, the lines delivering beautiful images and a sense of motion reminiscent of classic kung fu movies.  Andrews makes excellent use of silhouettes and closeups, highlighting characters, poses, and emotions, to awesome effect, further developing the arcs themes by focusing specifically on anger and fear. The artwork matches the writing step for step, coming together to make one of my all around favorite series this year.

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If you’ve never read an Iron Fist book before, this is a perfect place to start. An excellent and worthwhile read, The Living Weapon is packed with backstory-fueled action and adventure and contains little you’d need to read back-issues in order to understand.  My constant desire to step away from all things core-series in Marvel may have been an aspect of my desire to read this series, but it barely even registers on the scale of why I continue to read this series.  This series stands on it’s own, has breathtaking artwork, and tells a fantastic story of perseverance and patience amongst rage. I can’t endorse this any more highly.

Iron Fist: The Living Weapon can be purchased at your Local Comic Shop, at Marvel.com, on Comixology.

About The Author

Long time fan of comic books, video games, and movies. Zander is often no where to be found because he's marathoning movies and tv shows or playing video games till all hours of the night as most disillusioned twenty-somethings are wont to do. Polar opposites are the game: action/comedies and dramas, FPS games and turn-based strategy, science fiction and historical fiction. Why pick one thing when there are so many good things?

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