Mar 14, 2017

10 Reasons to Read Immortal Iron Fist Before You Netflix and Chill

10 Reasons to Read Immortal Iron Fist Before You Netflix and Chill
by Back Issue Ben

The Immortal Iron Fist series was developed on a premise so simple and compelling, it almost seems obvious in retrospect. What if Danny Rand wasn’t the first Iron Fist? Clearly, if K’un L’un is this ancient magical city with these ancient magical traditions, it wouldn’t make much sense to only recently have trained and selected an Iron Fist to protect that city. Yet, that is only scratching the surface of what makes Immortal Iron Fist not only the best Iron Fist comic ever created, but one of the very best comics in Marvel’s long history.

The series was co-written by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction, with art by David Aja. Brubaker is arguably the best comic book writer of this century (Warren Ellis has a claim), responsible for landmark comics like Criminal and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. David Aja is one of the most dynamic modern artists in comics, with an amazing design sense. Fraction’s Marvel work was uneven, at best, but he’s always been excellent at high concept crazy ideas. He would go on to greater success at Image with the popular Sex Criminals, and would also later re-team with Aja for a much acclaimed run on Hawkeye.
As great as those creators are, they didn’t make the list. Here’s what did.


Like I mentioned above, there were many Iron Fists before Danny Rand won the title. The one directly before him was a man named Orson Randall. Orson Randall is your standard grizzled fallen hero, damaged irrevocably by the horrors he’s witnessed. After serving in the first World War, he flees K’un L’un for Thailand, where he sinks into an abyss of drugs and prostitutes. He’s a character pulled straight from crime noir and pulp novels. He’s like the private eye with a shady past, only in this case, he’s really a Kung-Fu Iron Fist packing guns with chi-powered bullets.


Any fan of the Marvel movies is fully aware of and can appreciate the inclusion of Hydra. Hydra begins this series by trying to take over Rand Corporation (Iron Fist’s family inheritance) through a front business called Wai-Go Industries. They’re after Rand’s magnetic-levitation train technology, and they’ll do whatever it takes to get it. Plus, at one point they unleash a Mechagorgon on Iron Fist.


Who doesn’t love a good evil twin, and Davos is one of the best in comics. After learning how to steal the chi from other human beings to strengthen his own, he’s the deadliest he’s ever been in this story, and the angriest.


This time Davos is also backed by an army of evil Kung-Fu bird women, loaned to him by the Crane Mother from the ancient city of K’un-Zi. That’s right, there’s another ancient Kung-Fu city besides K’un L’un.


Actually, there’s seven ancient Kung-Fu cities, each with their own immortal champion.

In addition to Iron Fist and Davos, there's Fat Cobra, the Bride of Nine Spiders, Dog Brother #1,
Tiger's Beautiful Daughter, and the Prince of Orphans

Iron Fist is the champion of K’un L’un. (Other champions include Fat Cobra, The Prince of Orphans, and Bride of Nine Spiders. Those names are so inventive it actually makes me jealous.) Any time you have seven immortal Kung-Fu warrior champions, you know there has to be a…


That’s right, every 88 years the Seven Heavenly Cities overlap to form a convergence called the Heart of Heaven. When the cities combine, they stage a tournament. The losing cities are only allowed to align with Earth every 50 years, with the winner getting a 10 year interval. It’s like Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon, except even more insane. Last time the tournament was upon them, Orson refused to fight, fleeing K’un L’un and killing the champion of Crane Mother in the process. (It takes her 300 years to give birth to a new champion, so suffice it to say she was not pleased.) That is why she has appointed Davos as her champion for this tournament.


It wouldn’t be an Iron Fist comic if Colleen Wing, Misty Knight, and Luke Cage weren’t around to lend a hand (or more accurately a samurai sword). Jeryn Hogarth, the brains behind Rand Corporation, tried to fight off a hostile takeover by Wai-Go, but is blackmailed into giving up the magnetic train technology when Hydra kidnaps his mother. So while Danny is off embroiled in his Kung-Fu business, Luke, Misty, and Colleen are trying to help Jeryn out of his jam and stop Hydra.


The current Yu-Ti, the August Personage in Jade, has become a bit of a tyrant, forbidding the women of K’un L’un to be taught martial arts, and using his secret gate to Earth for nefarious purposes. Lei Kung the Thunderer, is secretly working to overthrow the corrupt Yu-Ti, training every woman of K’un L’un in secret.


Iron Fist loses to Fat Cobra, but that’s only the beginning to this epic story.

The mysterious Prince of Orphans, upset at Davos’ shameful display of ruthlessness in his match against Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter, challenges Davos to a match. The Prince subsequently displays a level of fighting prowess that is unparalleled, absolutely destroying Davos in one of the most satisfying ass-whuppings in comics history.


Inside K’un L’un, the city is torn apart as Lei Kung makes his move against Yu-Ti, unleashing the Army of Thunder and sparking their revolution.

In these troubled times, it’s never been more satisfying to see an army of Kung-Fu women overthrow their oppressive dictatorship.

Outside, Hydra finishes its magnetic-levitation track, loads their train with an untold amount of explosives, and aims it toward K’un L’un. They think they’ll have the element of surprise, but when the gate opens and K’un L’un appears before them, there stands Iron Fist and the other immortal weapons, ready to beat some Hydra ass.

What role will Davos play? Will Lei Kung succeed in overthrowing the corrupt Yu-Ti? Who will rule the city of K’un L’un? Will the Iron Fist even survive? What are you waiting for, rush out to your local book depository, comic shop, or log on to your device of choice, and find out for yourself. You will not be disappointed.

There you have it, 10 pretty excellent reasons to read Immortal Iron Fist before the Netflix series debuts. Of course, like all Marvel adaptations, they’re going to tell you everything you need to know, so you don’t really have to read anything to enjoy their movies or TV shows. This is purely a recommendation for your own comic book reading pleasure. Trust me when I say you will not be sorry.

Plus, Colleen!

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