Review: Iron Fist #2

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In Iron Fist #2 Ed Brisson does what he does best, serving up gritty, realistic violence with a deep and interesting story. The story he gives us is made even more real when combined with the harsh, neorealistic lines of Mike Perkins drawings and Andy Troy‘s sunset laced color palette. The create team behind this issue make it so that the panels themselves become just as much a part of story as the characters portrayed within them.

In part two of “The Trial of the Seven Masters” we get a storyline reminiscent of The Quest (that film with Jean Claude Van Damme playing another white male who’s really good at martial arts) with more fights in the wild than in a circle surrounded by screaming fans. Danny Rand meets the people behind the people who took him to the mysterious island, where he is expected to engage in battle. The Council of Liu-Shi wants him to prove himself worthy through a series of tests, something that we all wanted when watching the Netflix series and, probably would have given a wee bit of clarity and legitimacy to the TV series.

Upon meeting the people who will be in the trials that he must engage in to be found worthy, I found myself a bit put off by the lack of definitive ethnicity in Perkins character sketches. There’s a slight bit of whitewashing of the features, coupled with a bit of cliched characteristics that weren’t overtly stereotypical but obviously drawn by a fan of old westernized kung fu flicks. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but, it’s an observation. The thing about issue #2 is that the ethnic neutral and cliched faces coupled with all of Brisson’s dialogue about Iron Fist needing to prove himself worthy it feels like the creative team is calling attention to all of the issues that the Netflix series had and giving them a voice.

Iron Fist #2 is not a bad comic. It’s an interesting one with an updated more bitter Danny Rand searching for purpose and his place in the new world much like his outdated existence and whitewashed perspective permeated the Netflix series. The thing that differentiates Brisson’s reboot from the Netflix series is that Brisson’s version of Iron Fist seems to on some level acknowledge the cultural disconnect and takes steps to question it, if not rectify it. Continuing with the melancholy character introduction in the first issue, Iron Fist #2 builds on that and seeks to delve deeper into the context under which Iron Fist exists and how interchangeable Fist as a fighter is to Danny Rand the person. Brisson leaves the door open for real exploration and revamping and seems to be taking all of the right steps towards bringing Iron Fist into modern times, without keeping the stereotypical white savior tropes and turning it up to 11.

There’s real thought behind the words and actions of each and every character and it all seems to be coming together in a way that addresses the outcry about the series, except for the casting choices and strives to make the character relevant in today’s society. Brisson gets bonus points for letting us get to see the minorities whose culture is being appropriated by Iron Fist speak out about how they feel about it in subtext-laden conversations that the proctors of the “Seven Trials” have about Danny Rand and his rights to the Iron Fist mantle.

Story: Ed Brisson Art: Mike Perkins and Andy Troy
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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