Outside of Daredevil, if you count him, there haven’t been a lot of successful kung-fu-centric comics in mainstream’s recent years (sorry Richard Dragon). What’s happening with this series is more than that. Kaare Andrews isn’t just creating a martial arts oriented story, he’s basically showing us what it would take to be a superhero among a community of experts whose talent make them seem more than human (just ask Chuck Norris). To take standard tropes of kung-fu films and make a character the embodiment of all that without it being an exercise in the Ancient Art of Cornball is no small feat.
In the last issue, upon his sorrowful return to the smoldering heap that was once the magic city of K’un Lun, Danny Rand not only finds his teacher murdered, but his father brought back from the dead as an evil cyber ninja. The majority of this issue takes an odd turn by slowing things down to focus on Rand’s relationship with his reporter friend, Brenda, who previously came across as a semi throw away character when this arc began. There’s a lot a exposition here considering the way action picked up when we last saw our hero, but it’s worth the insight into Rand’s noticably aloof attitude. We see a little more of the fact that the turmoil brought on by his troubled past is finally getting to him, but there’s still some of the Iron Fist we’ve come to know still in there. Meanwhile, the visuals here is still strong to say the least. There’s a unique, definitive style to Andrews’ panels but also a very fun way of making sure we clearly see the difference between flashbacks and present day happenings. The way the story juggles the timeline, this is definitely important because not every artist would pull this off as well. While he’s not exactly reinventing the wheel, Andrews is certainly creating a new hero those unfamiliar with previous comics can leap head first into. Hopefully, the upcoming Netflix series takes plenty of notes here on how create a quintessential kung-fu hero.
Bottom Line: Though the action beat/character development ratio is a bit weird this time around, it ends up working out well overall. Another win for this refreshing take on Iron Fist. 8 out of 10