Review – Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #1
Writer, Artist and Colorist: Kaare Andrews.
Published by Marvel Comics.
[pulledquote]Dynamic panel layouts and placement work perfectly to compliment the lettering effects that filter seamlessly into and out of the artwork [/pulledquote]
Right of the bat this was going to be a different book. Different good though. The first issue of this long teased Iron Fist series is plotted, scripted, pencilled, inked and colored all by Kaare Andrews alone. Having that kind of creative freedom is a very rare thing to see in comics these days. But it’s brilliant. The advantages to this type of creative process are practically limitless. One cohesive vision undiluted through each creative task works to bring the reader a pure and centred vision on Marvel’s Daniel Rand aka Iron Fist.
Andrew’s unified creative process is evident to us on the first page. It’s his book from the ground up. The look, feel and texture of the book are all crafted in a specific direction with nothing overlooked.
If it can be done different you’ll see it done in Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #1.
This issue kicks off with Andrew’s presenting a seemingly lonely, personally isolated or maybe just unchallenged Danny Rand to the reader. He’s on a date/interview with a young reporter and only seems to stay because the questions are refreshing to him. Beyond that he may as well not be there. The interview serves as the perfect device for Rand to recount his coming-to-be as the immortal Iron Fist to new readers while still shedding light on some deeper more personal character traits in his recounting for older readers to still come away with something new.
The contrast between these flashbacks and the present day scenes are meticulously plotted by Andrew’s with the flashback pages themselves looking like weathered and worn pieces of a folded up map that’s been drudged up from the depths after all these years, a stark contrast from the sharper color tones of the present day pages and scenes of the book. And this is just Kaare designing the canvas he intends to work on.
And this is where we see the Iron Fist finally relieved. Only in battling countless ninjas across the side of a building is he at ease. With strong color themes brought into play again Danny Rand staring across the night sky at the former Rand tower and only seeing his father’s legacy he can’t repair but can’t yet bring himself to tear down is one of the best metaphors I’ve seen in a long time. All this while boasting some truly intense action and kung-fu before a frightening reveal shifts the dynamic merging the present themes with those of the past.
Iron Fist has been running from his past for so long and it seems it finally caught up to him and must be confronted.As I said earlier, everything is done different. Dynamic panel layouts and placement work perfectly to compliment the lettering effects that filter seamlessly into and out of the artwork and lead the eye across the page in an effortless fashion all the while bombarding you with scores of visuals you may not even realise at first. A great example is theme of death and dread that hangs over Rand’s head throughout pages of the issue. A bold and dynamic red hangs in the background for a back and forth of dialogue to which the panels themselves actually spell out the word death. This blood red creeps on throughout the book before a stunning climax that only works to convey the contrasting themes of life and death as Rand kicks through his window to face his attackers in a liberating freefall through shattered glass and into clear white page.
Another highlight of the issue (and there are many) is the manifesto Andrew’s has written to fans on the last page, explaining and his inspiration from Jim Steranko and the new direction for the book. It’s clear from start to finish we’re in for a hell of a ride on what promises to be a truly unique series that just works differently.
[easyreview cat1title=”The Arcade Verdict” cat1detail=”A masterfully crafted book that doesn’t disappoint; surpasses high expectations.” cat1rating=”10″]