Review: The Power of Power Man and Iron Fist
Luke Cage is one of the great all time superheroes and David F Walker and Sanford Green do more than justice by him in their new series Power Man and Iron Fist.
Luke Cage: a struggling kid wrongfully imprisoned for the petty BS the criminal injustice system sends black men to jail for. Used as in medical experiments while incarcerated — which is never ever truly consensual. Made bulletproof, which as Joseph Phillip Illidge describes in his must-read essay Real Life Proves Why Luke Cage Endures:
“Is there any doubt the power fantasy of the Black man in the years following multiple assassinations of his leaders and children by way of the gun would be superhuman resistance to bullets?”
He marries detective Jessica Jones, a true survivor like himself and moves to Brooklyn to have a baby (like ya do). At the public’s request he briefly considered running for Brooklyn Borough President. Luke is the best. The core brilliance of the character survived years of clueless white men writing his dialog in a butchered black vernacular that they invented, seemingly without any knowledge of actual black vernacular.
With excellent writer (and excellent podcast guest) David F Walker and Sanford Green on art (one of Marvel’s only two black creative teams) I knew I’d like this comic. I love it.
I didn’t expect to get emotional about Power Man and Iron Fist but I did.
Something about how Luke is struggling between being a parent and being a hero and being a friend. Some days I’m Luke at the start of this issue: I just want to get home to my husband and cat. Some days I’m all about my job saving the world– or technically saving New York since I work for a NY community organization. And some days I’m Danny Rand, trying to get my friends with kids to leave their apartments and come to a party with me.
Green’s art has a scribbly, sketchy looseness that’s perfect for Luke’s roundhouse of a fighting style and perfect for Danny’s perpetually loose posture and body language.
The clothes are realistic and contemporary. Luke’s beard is a new look for him and it definitely works with his tough-guy-cool-dad mystique
82% of women in prison are victims of domestic abuse and so is Luke and Danny’s former office assistant Jenny, who is released from Rikers in this issue. Jenny’s incarceration for killing her abusive boyfriend while she was possessed by a devil rings 1000% true in a world where magic is real.
The story is as firmly rooted in NYC as it must be and the NYC they depict feels real. The moments of interaction with the Marvel U are delicate and well placed and funny when they should be.
I’m one of the many people who agrees with Keith Chow and other Asian-American comics fans who’ve called on Marvel to make Danny Rand Asian-American because it both resolves problematic aspects of his origin (a “White Savior” story), gives much needed diversity AND would be the source of great stories. A buddy comedy between a black hero and Asian-American hero can addresses specific issues of inter-racial friendships.
But that ship has sailed. And if Marvel wants yet another blond American hero at least this team is the one writing him. Their Danny is anarchic and adorable. His enthusiasm makes the reader have fun too. I support his sideburns and tracksuit look.
I’m really loving this comic. Can’t wait for issue 2!
If you want to do something to help domestic violence victims facing unjust incarceration you can learn more about the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act in NY.
Overall Rating: 9 Recommendation: Buy!