Monday, December 11, 2017
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IRON FIST: THE LIVING WEAPON

 

An auteur is defined as “a filmmaker whose individual style and complete control over all elements of production give a film its personal and unique stamp.” Replace the references to film with comic books and that is the exact definition of Kaare Andrews and the work that he did on 12 issues of IRON FIST: THE LIVING WEAPON.

The story itself isn’t all that special.  It’s a redemption story and follows along all those lines.  Hero isn’t super happy with his life, everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) falls apart and he has to return to his home, relearn and re-establish his connection to his Chi, then come back to New York (always New York) to reclaim his kingdom.  Along the way they are new and old friends, new and old lovers, and, of course, new and old villains.  Oh, and lots of ninjas.  Although it follows that archetype to a T, you’ll never once find yourself complaining because of the frenetic pacing, exceptional artwork and design, and fun (albeit clichéd) dialogue.  Personally, I’d call it the best Iron Fist story ever, but considering it’s the only Iron Fist story I’ve ever read I may not be the authority here.

 

THE LIVING WEAPON VOL 1 RAGE.jpg

 

Andrews' artwork is the star here.  He reaches back into all of his influences to craft a masterwork in page and panel design.  The work alternates between both constricting and suffocating the artwork and releasing it and allowing it to totally breathe and take over the page.  He panels sometimes squeeze the artwork down so much that it bursts out of the borders, unable to be contained by standard 8 panel grids.  The panel designs also serve to continue the dialogue, taking cues from Will Eisner’s classic style.  And the kinetic energy and frenzy from his double page action filled splash pages jumps off the page and punches you with an Iron Fist.  It’s just absolutely stunning and beautiful, especially when Danny Rand is killing ninjas.

The dialogue and story here aren’t as strong as the artwork, but that’s a pretty unfair comparison.  Sure the story is cliché, but we need that story to have all the crazy fight scenes that make the book so amazing.  Yeah, it can seem stereotypical, but isn’t that what we want from an Iron Fist story?  Do we want deep dives into the business end of his empire and dealings with a hostile takeover?  No, we want Danny Rand diving off a high rise, punching down helicopters and killing ninjas.  Is it fair that the female reporter with ulterior motives sleeps with Rand to get close then ends up in the surrogate mother role for the little girl with the pet dragon?  Probably not, but it’s really awesome when they cover for the cowering police chief and kick the crap out of more ninjas.  Are there times when the book seems overwritten with too much exposition and dialogue?  Sorry, can’t answer, was using the extra time on the page admiring the artwork. 

 

THE LIVING WEAPON VOLUME 2 REDEMPTION

 

Despite some flaws, this is one of the most stunning books you could ever read.  It’s a masterclass on comic book composition and design.  It’s a great story with tons of action and humor.  It’s just something that should not be missed.

9 bajillion stars. Or, you know...

5 out of 5

 

What's your favorite IRON FIST story? Let us know! 

 

More Reviews on MightyVille:

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: February 22, 2017

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: February 15, 2017

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: February 08, 2017

 

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