The “Immortal Weapons” series started off strong with a nice little Fat Cobra tale. Dog Brother, though, is much less interesting, or at least this issue would have you believe so.
But before I get to the main story in this comic, I’d like to take some time to address the bizarre choice of Hatuey Diaz for the Iron Fist back-up. Swierczynski’s Iron Fist tale is an ongoing thing in this “Immortal Weapons” series, a continuation of the on-hiatus, maybe-it’s-cancelled-but-not-officially “Immortal Iron Fist” saga, and Travel Foreman drew the first two installments in a slightly more conservative version of his normal Iron Fist style. But this issue brings in Hatuey Diaz, whose pages vary from Rafael Grampa minus the obsessive detail to early Matt Wagner, but with a weaker grasp of composition (and I’m talking very early Matt Wagner, at best). June Chung’s coloring gives some of the pages some depth, but this is some seriously amateurish figure work. It may be a rush job, or maybe it’s not, but it significantly detracts from the overall quality of “Immortal Weapons” #3, even if it’s just the back-up story.
Diaz’s style might work in a different setting (one that requires less panels of kicking or punching, because he’s really bad at that stuff), but as Chapter 3 of a longer kung-fu superhero story, it just looks silly and not-even-close-to-ready-for-prime-time.
The main story in this issue, the Dog Brother story, does look very good, as illustrated by the always-capable Tim Green. Green’s work looks even better here than it did on the last “Immortal Iron Fist” story he drew, and the character work and panel-to-panel storytelling are stronger than what we saw in his “Annihilation” stories a year or two ago.
Rick Spears’s Dog Brother origin story is decent enough, but it’s mostly a typical street urchin tale — an Asian “Oliver Twist” — with some kung fu slang thrown in. The ending of Spears’s story is very strong, everything from the climax to the final pages, but it’s not particularly surprising, and perhaps it only feels strong because the rest of the story is so thin, so rudimentary. No, Spears sells the Dog Brother concept in the end, but it’s plodding until those final few scenes, and therefore we end up not caring all that much about the young boy whose life is in jeopardy.
Nothing kills suspense like cardboard characters in trouble, and that’s mostly what we get in this Dog Brother story.
Spears’s finale does make the story worth a look, though, and Tim Green’s art makes it a clean read. Sadly, I can’t say the same about the Iron Fist back-up.