Marvel Comics 2016
Written by David Walker
Illustrated by Sanford Greene
Coloured by Lee Loughridge
Letters and Production by VC’s Clayton Cowles
Orphan Daniel Rand earned the power of the Iron Fist in the mystical city of K’un Lun. As an adult Danny oversees the Rand Corporation and moonlights as Iron Fist: kung fu defender of the innocent. Prisoner Luke Cage was subjected to experiments that gave him superhuman strength and durability. As Power Man he’s been a hero and an Avenger, and now a husband and father. Once upon a time they were the Heroes for Hire.
I’ll be brutally honest when I was at my local shoppe picking up my pull, it was only two books, I was browsing the new wall as one does when I saw a blank sketch variant cover. Turns out it was this issue and if it hadn’t had that blank variant I would have more than likely passed on this first issue. I think over the years no one has really known what to do with these two as a pairing since their original series was cancelled. So any new series with these two always makes me leary. So it comes to this I’m actually very pleasantly surprised by this first issue.
What David does here is acknowledge their past and that they are now different people then they were but are still friends who have no problem getting together to take care of old debts. While i’m being brutally honest i’m not a fan of Sanford’s interior artwork it does have it’s moments where it captures both Luke’s seriousness and Danny’s youthful enthusiasm, okay see childlike behavior, wonderfully. He does have a nice eye for page and panel layouts and does a nice job of adding backgrounds to enhance the imagery.
I think what surprised me the most was the balance of humour and sense of commitment, seriousness, that were put into this issue. It has a very organic feel to it so that this wasn’t a book where the characters planned on working together for any given length of time they really are just being friends to someone else. While they think of Jennie as family this issue really showcases that the boys are committed to their past but are totally different men then they used to be. It’s just a crazy set of circumstances and a bit of manipulation that has them working together and seemingly will keep them by each others side for some time. It feels organic in nature, not contrived or forced and that’s incredibly important for starting a new series. You have to believe that this is supposed to happen not that someone is pulling strings by putting them together forcing it.
I like that we see other characters in the Marvel universe like Tombstone, though seriously this looks nothing like the character should I mean he comes across as an educated Solomon Grundy instead of that flat headed mob type I’m familiar with. Another blast from the past is Black Mariah and the combination of characters such as these just keep the past alive while simultaneously moving them all into the future. A good villain is hard to ignore and sometimes when brought back the right way, such as they are here, they become better this time around.
While not a fan of Sanford’s it doesn’t really stop me from thinking about continuing with this series as David’s writing, characterization and drive where these folks are concerned. We’ll see if his style evolves and he gets better as he works on a monthly book. Regardless I think this is off to an auspicious start.