By Ed Brisson, Mike Perkins, Andy Troy, VC’s Travis Lanham, Jeff Dekal
Daniel Rand’s quest to return to K’un Lun and redeem himself as its protector concludes with this issue of Iron Fist by Brisson and Perkins.
Over the past twelve issues, Brisson has taken Danny Rand from the depths of despair, to a lethal Kung Fu tournament, to teaming up with one of his former villains to solve a robbery. Now, Danny trials have come full circle as he must defeat Choshin who seeks to return K’un Lun to its former glory by killing Danny’s childhood friend and current Yu-Ti, Sparrow. Sparrow held off Choshin well enough, while Danny used the Book of the Iron Fists to teleport away at the last minute.
He returns moments later, riding in on the latest incarnation of Shou Lao the Undying, who burns away Choshin’s army and allows Danny the chance to defeat Choshin himself.
The resolution to this arc may not be groundbreaking or deep, but it doesn’t need to be. What makes Brisson’s take on Iron Fist so enjoyable, and dare I say successful? He embraces the character and what makes him unique. Yes, Danny Rand is rich, white, trained in the far east, and operates as a superhero in New York City; but he’s also a Kung Fu master in the tradition of pulp.
While Sparrow and Choshin argue over progression vs tradition, and which one suits K’un Lun, what works best for Iron Fist is letting the character be about Kung Fu fighting.
Which brings me to Mike Perkins and his work on the majority of this run. Many great artists have depicted Iron Fist’s fighting skills, and Perkins deserves to be listed among them going forward. While David Aja would go for rich visuals, with miniature panels arranged across the top and bottom of a central image, Kaare Andrews favored large splash pages or a handful of panels close up on the page to emphasize details. Perkins creates a nice middle-ground, with heavy inks and exaggerated poses, and a collage of images in the background of characters poised in attacks. It’s an interesting method to convey quick movements with static images but it works really well for someone with minor experience in martial arts.
This issue marks Perkins last for the series, and its as visually compelling as his previous entries. Although the image of Iron Fist riding a flying dragon over K’un Lun will remain one of my favorites from this series.
With a satisfying conclusion, compelling artwork, Kung Fu, and dragons, Iron Fist #77 is This Week’s Finest.