Sunday, April 26, 2009

Immortal Iron Fist 24

Did you ever use to watch Kung Fu Theater on Saturday afternoons after all the cartoons ended? My brother and I would pretend to be the guys we’d just seen, and we’d try to recreate the most memorable scenes, fake punches and kicks all the while. Since Iron Fist’s re-launch, it’s felt like those Saturdays all over again. From fast paced, butt kicking action, to in depth character development, this series keeps being a much anticipated read each month.

In this issue, we’re told the story of Li Park, a pacifist who would rather day dream about dragons and monsters then focus on his training. But when a plague hits K’un-Lun, Li’s the only person well enough to face the dragon Shou-Lao. By relying on his vivid imagination, he’s able to find the strength to prevail. Next, Li must use his newly acquired Iron Fist power to help people on Earth, who in this case, happen to be villagers in northern China in 730AD. At first he tries to use his imagination to help them, since it worked with the dragon, and it does work, for a time. He soon discovers that he has no choice but to fight. Now that he has this new frame of reference, Li is able to come up with an actual plan to help both the people of Earth and those in K’un-Lun.

I’ve come to expect a break in the action on this title, and while with other series, it would normally irritate the fuck out of me, these forays into past Iron Fist stories have been really well done. One of the main things I think Iron Fist has lacked is real character development. For too long he was just this cookie cutter martial arts character and not an actual person. By going into his past, we see that in a lot of ways he is a culmination of these past characters.

The continued use of different artists and styles during flash backs helps solidify the change in time and mood. Kano’s almost wood block looking art style compliments the time period he’s trying to recreate very well. The art on this title has been nothing but perfect from the get go. I fail to see the problems others have had with Foreman’s art duties. He’s actually gotten better in my opinion, especially with this arc in the Eighth Kingdom. The grittiness and oblique angles, add to the sense of pain and punishment the immortal weapons have to endure.

I like what’s being set up in coming issues. I’m wondering what Li has planned when he faces Danny. Could he be reverting to his imagination or has he had enough time to really set up everything? How did he end up in the Eighth Kingdom? Was he punished for bringing the villagers to K’un-Lun or was it something else? I can’t wait to find out.

Story 4/5

Art 5/5

Issue 9/10

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