INTERVIEW: Brisson's Iron Fist Takes a Dangerous Journey of Self Discovery


The martial arts hero known as Iron Fist was born on Earth, but he spent his most of his formative years in the mystical, otherworldly city of K'un-Lun. There, Danny Rand developed the chi powers he uses to fight crime and protect the innocent, a man of two worlds who sadly feels at home in neither.

What will happen, then, when his connection to one of those worlds was cut? How would that effect his sense of self and heroic identity, and how far would he go to get that connection back?

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Those are some of the questions that will drive the inaugural arc of writer Ed Brisson and artist Mike Perkins ongoing “Iron Fist” series. The title kicks off in March and finds Danny on a quest to reconnect with K'un-Lun and reignite his failing chi powers.

CBR: I read that Iron Fist is one of your favorite Marvel characters. How long have you been following Danny Rand's adventures?

Mike Perkins' art from "Iron Fist" #1

Ed Brisson: I think I first became a fan of Iron Fist during the “Daredevil” run where Danny steps in to don the Daredevil costume in order to give Matt plausible deniability during his trial. I'd read “Power Man and Iron Fist” in the past and always enjoyed it, but it was with that moment in “Daredevil” and through the subsequent “Immortal Iron Fist” series where I really became a fan.

I was used to seeing this character who was an outsider in K'un-L'un, a man trying to find his place within that culture, but I think this was the first time that I can recall seeing him as a guy who's not sure where he fits in in this world. That may have always been there, but that's the first time that it hit me. That he was the guy who just desperately wanted to belong.

How has being and feeling like an outsider affected Danny's worldview?

Well, in this story, he's separated from K'un-L'un, and that's affecting his powers, which in turn is impacting his sense of who he is. These are problems that he can't solve by talking to his friends here, because they're tied to a world that they don't know. In a very real sense, he's on his own, trying to find answers to a question that even he doesn't fully understand.

Being alone leaves him in a vulnerable position where he is more willing to chase down leads that might not always be the safest or smartest. It makes him more apt to put himself in danger. And that's what we're seeing in this new series -- Danny is intentionally putting himself in dangerous situations, trying to force an answer to a question that he's not sure how to find a solution to. He's taking shots in the dark, hoping something will land.

Can you talk a little more about how Danny's separation from K'un-Lun is affecting his powers?

Essentially, calling forward the Chi of Shou-Lao the Undying is becoming increasingly difficult. This is the very thing that gives him the power of Iron Fist. Without this, is he actually Iron Fist? Or is he just some dude who's very, very good at Kung Fu? Not that the latter isn't impressive, but most of his life has been tied up in pursuit of either becoming the Iron First or being Iron Fist. It's his whole identity. What happens when that's stripped away?

Danny's investigation into what's going on with his abilities leads him to a mysterious island called Liu-Shi. What can you tell us about the island and its inhabitants, the Seven Masters?

Mike Perkins' art from "Iron Fist" #1

Not much! It's a mysterious island dedicated to the perfection of Kung Fu. The Seven Masters are from the Seven Temples on the island and each is a Kung Fu master in their own discipline. Each temple is based on a different animal-themed style --Eel, Rat, Snake, Rabbit, Bear, Bull and Wolf. We've built in some serious nods to the same 70s Kung Fu flicks that inspired Iron Fist in the first place.

Who are some of the other supporting players Danny will initially interact with in "Iron Fist?" Will we see familiar faces like Luke Cage and Pei, from Kaare Andrews' Iron Fist series? Or will Danny primarily be interacting with new characters?

Through this first arc, Danny will primarily be facing fresh faces. We wanted to expand a bit on the mythology of K'un-L'un and I think that both “Immortal Iron Fist” and Kaare's “Living Weapon” left a lot of openings for us to go in and explore new possibilities that still tie back into both of those runs. We're approaching it in a way that it'll be easy for new readers to hop on and know what's happening right away, but also for old readers to recognize how it ties into everything that's happened with Danny and K'un-L'un over the past 10 or so years.

Mike Perkins is a versatile and fantastic artist, especially when it comes to action and character acting. What do you enjoy most about Mike's art?

His character acting is top notch. He's an incredible artist who's got really strong storytelling skills. He's got an incredible amount of detail in his art that doesn't get in the way of or distract from the story. Everything has a purpose and serves only to enhance each scene.

Beyond that, his design skills are unbelievable. His designs for both the Seven Masters and for the island of Liu-Shi itself are jaw-dropping. Readers are in for a real visual treat.

How will your and Mike's series compare to books like "Iron Fist: The Living Weapon" and "Immortal Iron Fist?"

Through this first arc, we're going to learn more about Danny's past -- or more specifically, K'un-L'un's past -- and how it relates to where he's at now. We're going to delve deeper into the corruption that was ever present and covered in both “Immortal” and “Living Weapon” and expand upon it further, getting a glimpse at the wider repercussions of said corruption. Danny's fighting not just for himself here, but possibly for the future of K'un-L'un.

Tonally, I'd say it falls somewhere in the middle. We're telling a classic Kung Fu story that I think is going to appeal to long term fans of the character and genre. It's a high stakes tale about identity and connecting your past and present. Once it's all said and done, Danny and K'un-L'un will both be changed. It's an epic, sweeping story that will leave all the players forever altered.

Mike Perkins' art from "Iron Fist" #1
Mike Perkins' art from "Iron Fist" #1
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