The Immortal Iron Fist Volume 1: The Last Iron Fist Story, collecting The Immortal Iron Fist #1-6 (2006).
Written by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction.
Pencils by David Aja. Colours by Matt Hollingsworth.
Tell me, friends, are you ready to punch all your problems? Because Danny Rand, the Immortal Iron Fist, is 100% ready to punch all his problems. He's got his work cut out for him, though. Because right now, Danny has a LOT of problems... And I hate to tell you, but they're only going to get worse from here on out. So, if you're ready for some hard-punching, high-kicking, HYDRA-stomping, demon-slaying action, then come with me on a journey through one of my all-time favourite Iron Fist runs, as Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction tell us The LAST Iron Fist Story!
Issue 1: The Last Iron Fist Story - Part One. K'un-Lun mountain, 1227 AD. Iron Fist Bei Ming-Tian is about to face the Mongol Hordes, because that's what Iron Fists DO. Cut to 2006 New York, and Danny Rand is maintaining that storied legacy, by getting his ass well and truly kicked, by the unending hordes of HYDRA. And in Bangkok, we meet the mysterious Orson Randall... Who is also the Iron Fist?!
Issue 2: The Last Iron Fist Story - Part Two. Pinghai Bay, 1545 AD. Wu Ao-Shi teaches some pirates that you do NOT mess with the Iron Fist, as she rains Chi enhanced arrows down on their unworthy heads. Meanwhile, back in New York, Danny seeks assistance from his good friend Luke, after getting his insides pushed to the outside by HYDRA. Meanwhile, Orson Randall returns stateside, where he's almost immediately arrested for being an unregistered Superhero. Oops...
Issue 3: The Last Iron Fist Story - Part Three. Taku Forts, Hai River, China, 1860. Bei Bang-Wen gives the English a (probably well-earned) kicking, and holds the line while his people flee. Back in the 'States, Danny is searching for whoever is tapping into his Chi, and Davos the Steel Serpent arrives to be his usual douchebag self.
Issue 4: The Last Iron Fist Story - Part Four. It's history time, folks! As we learn a little about Orson Randall, how he arrived in K'un-Lun, and his connections to Danny's family! Then, Davos' patron is revealed... and we start to realise that the Iron Fists might just be a little bit screwed.
Issue 5: The Last Iron Fist Story - Part Five. As Orson says goodbye to his legacy, Danny embraces his, as the Book of Iron Fist is retrieved! What secrets does this ancient tome hold? And why is it so shiny? Read on, to find out! Also, Davos does more annoying stuff. Because he's a tool.
Issue 6: The Last Iron Fist Story - Part Six. A fated meeting, destiny's track laid before it, a face in dire need of a punching. All that and so much more, as The Last Iron Fist Story reaches its conclusion!
A new era of facepunching begins! HELL of a first arc, right? I picked up this whole run in a sale, years back. I'd never really read any Iron Fist before, so I wasn't exactly sure what I was in for... but wow, Brubaker and Fraction really pulled out all the stops. And this is only the beginning! Things are only going to get more awesome and more terrifying as we go...
I'm never really sure, if this run was the best place to start Iron Fist. But it's where I started, so I'll always have a real soft spot for it. I had avoided Iron Fist up to this point, because I mostly thought his books where about a rich guy punching muggers and stuff. But, it took about three panels of this run for me to realise just how wrong I was.
Right from the get-go, this run has a very clear missions statement: Brubaker and Fraction are going to take us on a journey through the illustrious, and often short-lived, lives of the many and varied wielders of the Iron Fist. They really go DEEP into the Lore, creating intriguing and complex backstories and exploring the history of the position, and how that history is inextricably connected to Danny Rand.
There are, seemingly, three main arcs in this volume. The Wai-Go organisation are attempting to take over Rand Corp, to secure their train technology, someone is searching for former Iron Fist Orson Randall for no doubt evil ends, and Davos the Steel Serpent has returned, and is seemingly in league with The Crane Mother, but to what end?
I can't lie, one of the main reasons I avoided Iron Fist books in the past, and one of the many many many many reasons the Iron Fist Netflix show bored the socks off of me (and everyone else apparently), is that I just don't care for the corporate side of this character. So I was a little worried that the whole "Danny tanks a business deal because it feels off" arc was going to throw the whole volume out... thankfully, I could not have been more wrong.
Because, while it may initially feel like the arcs in this first volume are running off on their own tracks (train pun. nailed it.) it doesn't take long for everything to intersect and you start to see the outline of just what Brubaker and Fraction have planned, for this run.
Because of COURSE Wai-Go aren't just some random company. They're a HYDRA front, AND they're working with Davos. Because everything is connected, and it's all Maria Hill's fault. Oops, sorry, wrong story. This time it's Davos' fault. Although, I have to say "being a jealous punk" isn't exactly the best motivation. You're not going to win many fans to your side, if that's the reason you've sworn blood vengeance against a whole familial line... but more on that later!
So, while this volume does start off a little scattered, throwing a bunch of new stuff at the readers and just kind of expecting us to roll with it, it doesn't take long for everything to fall into place, and you're all caught up in the mysticism and wonder of Danny Rand's life.
Of course, it REALLY helps bring you into the story, when you've got David Aja's amazing art to stare at. Obviously, this being an Iron Fist book, there is a fair amount of punching, kicking, and oddly enough some shooting, and Aja's clearly having a grand time bringing that all to life with so much energy and speed that the fight's practically jump off the page.
This volume also introduces previous Iron Fist and current murderhobo Orson Randall. Orson doesn't stick around for long, but his impact on this run, and the character of the Iron Fist can't be understated. While his present day actions are mostly relegated to getting Danny from where he is, to where he needs to be, what we see of his life via flashbacks, his time in K'un-Lun and his interactions with a young Wendell Rand force us to rethink everything we thought we knew, about the history of Iron Fist!
Overall, The Immortal Iron Fist Volume One is a solid start to this new era of Kung Fu shenanigans. Reading this as someone who has never really been that into Iron Fist before, I was initially a little thrown, but the skillful weaving of history, lore and present day action was enough to keep me hooked. Combine this with Brubaker and Fraction's teases and hints of the important things to come, and I quickly went from confused and a little annoyed to entertained and VERY excited to see what happens next!
If you're as intrigued as I am, join me next time for The Immortal Iron Fist Volume 2: The Seven Capital Cities Of Heaven! Collecting The Immortal Iron Fist #8-14 & Annual #1. While his friend is held hostage by a Hydra-affiliated megalomaniac, Danny Rand has been ushered to the fabled city of K'un-Lun to fight in a tournament against the Immortal Weapons of the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven. Will the Iron Fist be the last Immortal Weapon last standing? (Mortal Kombat Theme Intensifies)
If you want to read along, you can find this volume on Comixology, collected volumes on Amazon, or from your Local Comic Shop! Enjoy!
Taheg Gloder is a Freelance Copywriter from England. Obsessed with comics and Manga since his teens, he now splits his time between writing comic reviews and retrospectives for POP, and doing reactions on his YouTube Channel, The Dragon & The Hound. He lives alone, because he’s a hermit.