- Paperback: 584 pages
- Publisher: Marvel Comics; 01 edition (1 Oct. 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0785115463
- ISBN-13: 978-0785115465
- Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 2.3 x 25.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,097,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Essential Iron Fist Volume 1 TPB (Essential (Marvel Comics)) Paperback – 1 Oct 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
If you've been reading his latest ongoing, 'The Immortal Iron Fist', you can catch up with this Essential book. It tells you of how Daniel Rand came around to the Iron Fist. The artwork and story in this Essential, is top notch. Most of the collected issues are written by Chris Claremont, and he does a nice job. To be honest, it's just a real joy to read.
So, stop reading...and buy this Essential.
Daniel Rand is orphaned in the Himalayas and is taken to the fabled city of K'un-Lun where he is taught martial arts and by slaying a dragon and branding himself with the beast's body he is able to concentrate and make his fist as hard as iron. He returns to New York to avenge his father only to have a change of heart but to still see his father's killer die.
New villains include Scythe, Triple-Iron, Scimitar, the Steel Serpent and the Daughters of the Death Goddess.
There are welcome returns for Batroc, Angar the Screamer, Radion, the Wrecking Crew and a beefed up Boomerang, not forgetting Warhawk, Sabretooth, the Monstroid and Bushmaster.
A whole host of Marvel heroes guest star Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, the X-Men and eventually Power Man with whom Iron Fist joins to become heroes for hire.
There is a wealth of background characters from Iron Fist's love interest Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, Det Rafael Scarfe, Alen Kavenaugh an ex-bomber and lawyer Jeryn Hogarth all skilfully tied in by Chris Claremont's scripting. The back story is intriguing as parts of his past creep up on him and he finds that life in K'un-Lun was not as idyllic as he thought and that treachery was never far away.
The latter stories were drawn by John Byrne as he and Claremont brought a stability that made this series such a success.
This collection packs all the early Iron Fist tales as well as the first issue of the official team-up with Power Man and at this price it's a real bargain.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Recently, Iron Fist has made a comeback in the tremendous Immortal Iron Fist series so it's only proper that a Marvel Essential chronicling his early appearances comes out.
Not only that but this book features the debut of one of the most famous Marvel mutants- Sabretooth!
As you can guess from the title, "Marvel Premiere" was a comic book that Marvel put out starting in 1972 that allowed the company to float new characters. If the response was favorable enough, the character could move on to their own comic book and join the rest of the Marvel Universe. After all, it worked for Spider-Man in "Amazing Fantasy" #15. Appearing first in "Marvel Premier" was Warlock for two issues, and then Dr. Strange took over for the next dozen issues (drawn by Barry Winsdor-Smith and then Frank Brunner, it was actually one of Marvel's very best titles). Then we got to issue #15 and the introduction of a new character, the Iron Fist.
Marvel had already cashed in on the Kung-Fu craze with Shang-Chi, who was not only a Master of Kung-Fun, but the son of Fu Manchu. With Iron Fist, the pop cultural illusions were to the classic film "Lost Horizon" and the television series "Kung-Fu." Wendell Rand went to the top of the world to search for his own mad version of Shagri-La, dragging along with wife and young son Danny. Unfortunately he takes along his business partner Randy Meachum, who takes an opportune moment to let Wendell fall to his death so that Rand & Meachum can be just Meachum. He leaves mother and son to die on the frozen top of a mountain, but they find a bridge to K'un-lun. She sacrifices herself to a pack of wolves to save her son, who is then raised by the monks and trained to be a living weapon. You see, not only is Daniel Rand a master of the martial arts, but he can summon the Iron Fist: this means he concentrates, his hand glows, and becomes like unto a thing of iron. Then he does some serious damage.
Of course Iron Fist completes his training and leaves K'un-lun for the real world, where he gets to go after the man who killed his father and stole his company. There are a few complications and the next thing we know it is Iron Fist that is being sought in Meachum's murder, which involves a nice little plot reversal and avoids dragging out the quest for vengeance too long. Fortunately, for a guy raised in the Himalayas Danny Rand is able to avoid sticking out in civilized society, except, of course, for when he is wearing his costume and everybody can see the flying dragon shaped scar burned into his chest. The costume always struck me as being a bit impractical given the way the collar comes up in the back, which would restrict line of vision on rear attacks, but the green and yellow was a nice color combination. The artists on the book took the martial arts seriously, so that attention was paid to such details as naming the moves and showing them correctly. The result is not a great title, but certainly a solid one, especially once a stable and top-notch writer-artist team was put on "Iron Fist."
The origin issue is written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Gil Kane, bu then the revolving door begins, with Lein Wein and Larry Hama doing the second issue, the next three are done by Doug Moench and Larry Hama, with the three after that by Tony Isabella dn Arvell Jones. Chris Claremont takes over as writer on "Marvel Premier" #23 with Pat Brokerick doing the art for two issues before John Byrne takes over for the final "Marvel Premier" appearance (the next character was the first in a series of bombs, with Hercules, Prince of Power, followed by Satana, the Devil's Daughter, Woodgod, Monark Starstalker, and other long forgotten one shots). Then Iron Fist gets his own title for fifteen issues, at which point there is a two-issue interlude as Iron Fist and Spider-Man appear in "Marvel Team-Up," followed by the point where things get really interesting as Iron Man teams up for good with Luke Cage in "Power Man." Now, admit it. The idea of merging Marvel's answers to not only the Kung-Fu craze but all those blaxplotation films is just the sort of madness you have to enjoy. Plus Danny had a neat girl friend in Misty Knight, which ended up with Rand and Cage double-dating the Daughters of the Dragon. Still, "Iron Fist" was a notch below "Shang-Chi" (so where is the Essential Volume 1 of that character?).
Consequently, for me this "The Essential Iron Fist, Volume 1" pretty much stops right when it is getting interesting. This is not the best of Marvel's merry mergers (that would be the Black Widow co-starring in Daredevil, but only when Gene Colan was doing the art), but it would be the oddest (Howard the Duck and the Man-Thing do not count because there names never appeared together in the title). But my guess is that it might be a long time before we ever seen "The Essential Power Man & Iron Fist, Volume 1" because issue #50 of "Power Man" was Byrne's last issue as artist. Certainly the character of Iron Fist fared a lot better once Claremont and Byrne take over. Since these were the two doing the "X-Men" at that time they were pretty much the hottest writer-artist team on the planet, which explains why it says Chris Claremont, John Byrne & Friends on the front cover.
At that time, Marvel was embracing any fad that came along. Monsters, Sword and Sorcery, Toys... nothing was safe, including Martial Arts. Shang-Chi, Master of Kung-Fu, was their first contribution, followed by the debut of Iron Fist in Marvel Premiere #15 (1974). Produced by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, Iron Fist incorporated elements of the TV series "Kung Fu", plus a bit of James Hilton's "Lost Horizon", plus a cool superhero outfit and excellent supporting characters. The result was a story that took a couple of issues to get its feet on the ground, but soon made headway. With the addition of writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne several months later (before they were the X-Men "dream team"), Iron Fist really took off and moved into his own series: 15 issues of spectacular work, featuring the return of Boomerang, the debut of Sabretooth, and appearances by Iron Man and the X-Men. Claremont and Byrne stick with him as he joins Spider-Man in a few issues of Marvel Team-Up, then some guest appearances in Power Man, before finally finding a home in the newly-christened Power Man/Iron Fist.
Amazingly, through all of these different titles, the main story is continuous. Furthermore, every issue is a fresh addition to the storyline. The bulk of this volume is by Claremont and Byrne, and their work is spectacular. The reproduction gets a bit fuzzy in the later Power Man issues, as it appears to have been scanned from colored pages instead of line art. But that's a minor problem. For a so-called "second stringer" in the Marvel Universe, Iron Fist proves to be a fascinating character and a worthwhile read.
. . . its Iron Fist!
For those not in the know, "The Essential Iron Fist" collects the early appearances of the title character, a kung-fu master/superhero hybrid who achieved a distinguished career as one of Marvel Comics' seminal second-raters.
The comic book industry has produced a few titles of genuine brilliance and no small handful of gems. "Iron Fist" doesn't fall into either of those categories. Its basically a standard specimen of 70's era superhero comics. Don't take that the wrong way, though. That there's no narrative greatness on display in the "Essential Iron Fist" doesn't mean that there's any shortage of entertaining nonsense sure to please geeks of all ages. Readers can look forward to plenty of overheated exposition, strained plot contrivances, and sprawling pulp action.
One of the more interesting aspects of the series is how small a fish the protagonist really is. Readers are repeatedly told that Iron Fist is a "living weapon" and unsurpassed martial artist, but he's actually pretty much out of his league as a superhero. Somewhat naive and distinctly unbulletproof, Iron Fist often finds himself tricked, outclassed, or overpowered by the various baddies he faces. Thats not a criticism, since Iron Fist's vulnerability in the face of villainy gives him a certain charm lacking in the more hypercompetent heroes out there. And any comic-book character who gets to smack a certain overrated Canucklehead out a window can't be all bad.
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