This is the old duo back together again for the first time. Danny Rand has picked up an apprentice in Victor Alvarez, a smart street kid with plenty of power and plenty of mouth. There is the option to use a similar formula or try something new; Van Lente seems to be leaning towards honoring the old “Power Man and Iron Fist” title in tone and vibe, and I mean that in a good way. This isn’t trying to be a boiled down pulp fu spectacular like the relaunch was; This is a comic with fun on its agenda.
This title is going to revolve around a central mystery and in the first issue Van Lente lays out all the pieces. You might not notice them all, but they are there. From here we will surely spiral down to the resolution, but there is enough here to keep a reader engaged and enjoying the ride. It’s a smart choice to make the ‘Commedia Dell’Morte’ villains a viable and fatal threat. This sliver of danger in the title makes it all count that much more.
The interaction between Rand and Alvarez is fun. Van Lente is intent on making these two characters funny and interesting when put together. The back and forth dialogue is very buddy cop, but in a good way. You should laugh a few times. With this at its core, you can see this comic wants to entertain. It will fill every panel and take every opportunity to entertain you. We’re not reading something that’s looking to alter the way sequential entertainment is considered, we’re just looking to get exactly what we pay for: a good time. Van Lente and company deliver in spades.
Within these pages you’ll get more character work for Danny Rand than has been evident for months in the Marvel U. Apart from the Swierczynski short in “I Am An Avenger” that cancelled out Misty’s pregnancy, Iron Fist has really only been used as a plot point or action beat rather than a character. This looks to change as his character expands and grows even in this first issue. It’s nice to see Van Lente make it all count. We get story and character both.
Alves handles the action in this issue well. His faces might seem a little bland, but his pacing is generally good. But is the white costume really a new direction for Iron Fist? It’s not a deal breaker, but I already miss the old standard. Hang makes the colours in this issue work, especially when dealing with action or ethereal elements like the smoke from a gun or the mystical fog of K’un L’un.
For a first issue, this comic puts everything in it. The rest of the series will need to capitalize, but for now we’ve been served a very well put together introduction. You’ll laugh in this comic, for sure, but you should also be thinking. Van Lente balances the script to keep you entertained but on task. This comic really feels like the old “Power Man and Iron Fist” series and that’s a compliment of the highest order. I wasn’t sure either was possible, but I now like Alvarez and I’m sold on this mini. It’s a pleasure to read a comic that has fun high on its list of priorities while still telling an exciting story that shows us the characters and the changes they will go through.