Hey everyone! It's New Comics Day! Today I picked up: ALL NEW X-MEN #25, MIGHTY AVENGERS #9, THE SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #11, SECRET AVENGERS #2, IRON MAN #24, CAPTAIN MARVEL #2, DEADPOOL #27, AVENGERS A.I. #11, and IRON FIST: THE LIVING WEAPON #1. My first read for the week was the new IRON FIST and I was so impressed I made it the subject for this week's review. As always, I try as much as possible to keep my reviews spoiler free.
The All-New IRON FIST: THE LIVING WEAPON #1 is definitely a book that's all about contrast. Sudden style, color, and dialogue shifts dominate the pages and pull us in to Danny's world in an unexpected and delightful way. This was the lone spontaneous pick for me this week. I don't know much of anything about Danny Rand, or Iron Fist, except from select pages I've seen from the celebrated Fraction/Aja IMMORTAL IRON FIST. Grabbing it today was a matter of sheer curiosity and I wasn't disappointed.
The book definitely has some of its DNA from Fraction/Aja's run. Danny's inner monologue controls the narrative, getting through all of the exposition necessary for a #1 without dragging down the story too much. These captions are visually reminiscent of Matt Fraction's style, but the tone is much darker. The art pays homage to David Aja as well, favoring impressions over intense detail more often than not. A few times we're also treated to series of panels where Danny's face stays the same while details around him shift, something we see frequently in Aja's work on HAWKEYE.
All this aside, Kaare Kyle Andrews certainly makes the book his own. Starting with the fact that he is the writer, inker, and colorist, unusual for Marvel books these days. Doing so gives him the ability to really stretch his wings and integrate the art fully into the writing. A great example of this is in his sound effects. In several instances, simple onomatopoeia are transformed into dramatic visual elements on the page, contributing to the story rather than just explaining a sound in a silent medium.
Texture plays a major role in this book too. In the extended flashback sequences, we know we're in the past by the use of Ben-Day dot coloring, something of a rarity in modern comics. As an even greater treat, each page set in the past looks as though it has been folded and unfolded, crinkled, and beat up. No mistaking the time frame during these scenes. This is contrasted beautifully with the flat colors and crisp, clean designs of the pages set in the present.
With regard to color, Andrews makes some seriously bold choices that make the book exceptionally beautiful. His combinations of shades of red and black really pop off the page and set us up for a very gritty portrayal of Iron First. By contrasting these pages with the more muted colors of the flashback scenes we get a much sharper intensity in the present. The penultimate page, where we see how the past will come back to haunt Danny, there's a muting of the palette that bridges the gap and brings us full circle.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention Andrews' command of architecture and stunningly beautiful depictions of the moon. I hope to see plenty of wide cityscapes in this book because Andrews knows how to do it well. Some of the writing seems a little on the nose at times, but I think its difficult to avoid that in a new #1 for a well established character. I look forward to seeing where this book takes me.
There's still time yet today to get out to your local shop and pick up a copy! Don't know where your shop is? The Comic Shop Locator is here to save the day. You can also read digitally on Marvel's website or Comixology.
E. Ross Ura is a writer, letterer, artist, composer, and blogger active in the Metro Detroit Area.