This week Iron Fist gets a brand new series to go along with his Netflix show, and Valiant restarts X-O Manowar!
Iron Fist #1 (Marvel Comics)
Since he’s now starring in his own Netflix show (read my review here), it’s only fitting that Iron Fist gets a brand new series to go along with it. From Ed Brisson and Mike Perkins, Iron Fist may look a little different from the show people have been binging, but it serves as a good gateway into Danny Rand’s comic book world for those who want to check it out.
K’un-Lun is in ruins, and Danny Rand is aimless. With no mystical city to protect and his power waning, Rand spends his free time drinking, traveling the globe, and entering fighting competitions that offer him little challenge. But when he’s given a chance to enter a new competition from a mysterious fighter, he can’t pass it up. Will this give him the purpose he’s been looking for?
That’s the plot of this issue in a nutshell, and while there isn’t a lot that happens plot wise, it’s still an interesting place to take the character. Ed Brisson does a great job of getting us into Rand’s mindset, and crafts a pretty believable arc for the character, which is pretty impressive when you consider the fact that we don’t know exactly what has happened to K’un-Lun. A little more background information would’ve been nice, but for an opening issue, Brisson’s hook is solid enough.
Mike Perkins’ darker art style suits Iron Fist really well, and his gritty pencils add to the brutal fight scenes that make up a majority of the book. Perkins’ excels at the fight scenes in this issue, but at points his faces start to look a little rushed. Sometimes Danny Rand looks like actor Finn Jones, and others he looks like the classic version of the character. Despite this, Perkins is a great fit for the book, and I’m psyched to see what else he does on the book.
Iron Fist serves as a great comic book entry point for people who have just finished the new Netflix show, and should also please long time fans of the character. While the plot is a little slow, the action scenes and premise are very strong, and the mystery of K’un-Lun’s destruction is cool enough to keep the book going. While it’s too early to tell if this run will reach the heights of the Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction Immortal Iron Fist, right now it’s a solid first issue for this era of the character.
X-O Manowar #1 (Valiant Comics)
X-O Manowar has been the star franchise for Valiant Comics, a company that made a huge splash with their much publicized relaunch a few years ago. But like everything in comics, eventually the spotlight fades, and you have to renumber to get people interested. I’ve heard great things about Valiant’s comics for a few years now, and with the major push behind the new Matt Kindt and Tomas Giorello series, I figured I’d give the book a shot. Speaking as someone who’s never read anything starring the character, I’m glad I did.
This latest installment of X-O Manowar follows Aric, the barbarian who hosts the X-O armor, living a peaceful life on a distant alien planet. After years of war, death, and destruction, all Aric wants is to farm in peace. But when an alien species kidnap him and drop him into their war, he has to call upon the X-O armor again to help save the citizens of his new home.
Simply put, this comic is awesome. Matt Kindt takes a familiar story and tells it expertly. Despite only knowing the bare minimum about this character, I was able to immediately understand Aric’s plight and his reasons for giving up his battle armor. Not only that, but Kindt is able to present a pretty gripping battle scene as well. Everything about Kindt’s script is a wonderful example of a great comic book.
Speaking of that battle scene, Tomas Giorello does a fantastic job on art here. Valiant has long had a pretty solid stable of artists, but I was completely blown away by Giorello’s work. Like Kindt’s writing, Giorello is able to expertly go from the quiet early moments of the book to some truly outstanding battle scenes reminiscent of Hacksaw Ridge. There’s a stunning amount of brutality in this book, but under Giorello’s art, it’s never gratuitous. Instead it’s used to further cement Aric’s beliefs about war, which makes his final decision all the more heartbreaking.
I was completely blown away by this new start for X-O Manowar, and I’ll definitely be adding this series to my pull list. For all the marketing and gimmicks that Valiant put out for this book, it’s pretty great that the end result is as good as it is. If you’re looking for something new to try out, I cannot recommend this book enough. It’s fantastic.