Overview

The Immortal Iron Fist #7

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The Immortal Iron Fist #7

Credits

  • Words: Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction
  • Art: Travel Foreman, Leandro Fernandez, Khari Evans
  • Inks: Derek Freidolfs, Francisco Paronzini, Leo Fernandez, Victor Olazaba
  • Colors: Dan Brown
  • Story Title: The Warrior Queen of Pinghai Bay
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jul 25, 2007

Before following Danny Rand to his next adventure we take a brief detour to look at the first and only woman to ever hold the title of Iron Fist… a role that exacts a heavy price.

Taking a breather in between the first and second story arcs on this title, writers Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction chose to tell a tale of the past… the story of the only woman to ever win the title of Immortal Iron Fist. What they craft is a done-in-one story that adds depth and a new sense of history to the characters and the title.

Wu Ao-Shi was a street urchin and a thief when she was found and taken in by the man who has trained all of the Iron Fists. The first, and only, female to be so honored she proves herself strong, tough, and disciplined… but she also proves to have a heart as powerful as her fists. Wu Ao-Shi wins the power of the Iron Fist but she has also lost her heart to a simple fisherman and when he cannot cope with what the woman he loves has become he leaves her. This sets Wu Ao-Shi on a quest to find what she has lost and along the way both she and the man she loves learn some harsh lessons. Can love win the day or will only tragedy follow the path of the Iron Fist?

The team of Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction has consistently delighted and surprised fans with this title. Up to this point they have managed to blend supernatural elements, martial arts action sequences, superheroics, and even a touch of noir to their stories. This issue they cannily turn all of that on its head by crafting a story that honestly feels like a modern retelling of an ancient Asian folk tale. Dialogue and narration have both a sweet lyricism and modern sass and sarcasm which blend surprisingly well and win chuckles from the reader. For those who fear that the story really has no bearing on the main character or the plot, well, that is both true and not true. While this tale is a done-in-one that appears to have little or no connection to the previous or forthcoming story arcs, what it actually does is provide the reader with a greater sense of background for this new direction. The tale of Wu Ao-Shi adds a weight of history to the story of current Iron Fist Danny Rand. There is also the sense of a secret history being revealed for the first time to both Rand and the reader – drawing them further into the tale.

Despite a long list of artists and inkers for this one issue all of those involved manage to mesh their styles beautifully. One page flows into the next without any sudden jarring of styles. Each artist as well has kept in mind the fable-like nature of this story and as a result they keep their art light and clean rather than dark or noirish. One thing that helps with the consistency is colorist Dan Brown. He uses a light touch, keeping primarily to golden tones which give the entire story the feel of having been drawn on old parchment.

While it is perhaps a daring move to make such a change-of-pace story in-between two connected story arcs the result here is a light, wonderful, single tale that still manages to feel a part of the whole. The Immortal Iron Fist is more than the sum of its parts and Brubaker and Fraction continue to manage to create surprising and even touching stories where they are least expected.

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