Over comics bought and read on Saturday the 3rd of May

The Immortal Iron Fist #14
Written by Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker
Drawn by Tonci Zonjic, Clay Mann, and Kano
Published by Marvel Comics

The theme this week is sadness. Which brings me straight onto Iron Fist, which ain’t looking anything like as immortal as I’d hoped. But, never mind, I’ve got to the point where I’m not so unhappy about that. If you ask me – and you should – this book’s never really got beyond teases of skillience.

What’s skillience? Super martial arts. Work it out.

Brufracaja’s desire to expand and explore the Fist mythos was – apart from being sexually exciting – the stuff of worthwhile intentions. The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven tickled my Chi, and their champions stirred the kind of geeky emotions usually reserved for Mooreian or Morrisonian creations. And, okay, I must admit to giggling with glee when Orson Randall let rip with his ninja-flame bullets. I even got off on that legacy Fist business. But. Where was Danny Rand amongst all that? Uttering the odd supercool yet strangely dull as bruised balls line about being a captain of industry, billionaire, superhero, that’s where. Making virtually zero plot driving decisions, that’s where. Being unforgivably boring, that’s where. Now, lest anybody think I’m committing the cardinal sin of favoring storytelling rules over storytelling results, I should stress that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with putting Danny on the back seat, per se, however it was a very odd creative choice to make early on in the book’s run, and it’s a dangerous game to play if you want people to give a shit further down the line. Mainly, though, it points towards the real problem: a scattershot focus.

One hundred and onety five squintillion subplots do not a good story make*. I asked where Danny Rand got to, what about the martial arts contest? Did that even end? I didn’t notice. I was too busy trying to work out why I should care about John Amman, Jeryn Hogwarts, Power Man and co, Iron Fist’s dad, Hydra, Ju Te, secret revolutionaries, Davos, Orson’s mates, cosmic convergence, other. tedious. stuff. By the time this issue rolled around my hopes for Streetfighter 2 meets Marvel heroes was down the shitter, instead I got Danny hitting a train (nothing like as amusing as it sounds), and ensuing anti-pathos (is he dead? No he isn’t. I’m so not surprised I could weep. On this comic) And… do you know, I can’t even remember the rest of it, and I can’t be bothered to open the book and remind myself. That’s how engaging the team’s final issue turned out to be. And that’s why I’m sad, because I was prepared to forgive this series a lot.

I love it when creators aim high. Mainstream comics are bloated with mediocrity, but, like Daniel LaRusso, Iron Fist was trying that much harder, and when it found its feet it kicked arse better than most. Even when it fucked up it threatened kung-fu coolness a few pages down the spine. But, God, it was fucking up far too often, particularly towards the end. It never delivered the crane kick to the face, or if it did I was too busy being distracted by all that redundant Hydra business to spot it. Which is a such a shame, because I was rooting hard for the K’un Lun massive. I even forgave Fraction his bloody awful name (which he chose) for a minute there.

*There’s a thing here about the expediency of the legacy fist stuff, and how it might have been a clever editorial ploy designed to ameliorate the problems created by the deterioration of the creative team, but that’s a route to forgiveness I feel disinclined to explore. The end result might have been better than it could have been, but it still wasn’t good, and David Aja never did catch up.

DC Universe 0
Written by Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns
Drawn by loads of people
Published by DC

Picture the scene: A sad young buck enters a comic store. It’s Free Comic Book Day, time to try this cape fetish on for size! Maybe here he’ll find the acceptance he’s always craved. Hey, what’s this? A big promotion for a book called DC Universe 0, a jumping on point for new readers signposting all kinds of exciting stuff starring Batman and Superman and other cool dudes, handcrafted (he’s informed by the guy behind the counter) by the best in the biz. Wowzers! That’s for me! thinks the now hopeful young buck, who whips the book off the rack and dives into…

…Impenetrable nonsense, made from fanboy excess and badness. It’s just about then that the pitiful young buck realises that DC hates him, that the guy behind the counter hates him, that all those people clutching their bagged comics hate him. That Superman, Batman and the Justice League all hate him. Poor lost young buck, this is, surely, his Final Crisis (see how I lol). The belt-strap noose beckons.

Yeah, yeah, hyberbole, but, Look, I love Grant Morrison when he’s on his game, and Geoff Johns is a capable writer if a little too conservative for my tastes, but this was just terrible. Admittedly I sort of enjoyed it on the first read through, but that’s only because I’m a complete bitch for the DCU and a little overexcited about GM’s forthcoming cosmic jaunt. When I reread it with more sober, critical eyes, the effect was markedly different and had me asking whether anyone in the DC office has an ounce of sense. Only hardcore, cape wearing geeks (like me) are going to get anything out of this, and we don’t need a bloody teaser, we’re in anyway. As a primer for the DCU or this Summer’s mega crossover, it’s… well, despite a wonderfully concise distillation of all that Crisis stuff, it isn’t, is it? It’s bunch of unconnected scenes thrown together seemingly at random. It doesn’t prime anything, except perhaps a hand grenade made out of crap.

In short, a week of wrongness. Good thing I bought Bone. Bone is good.

Bookmark and Share

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.