REVIEW: ‘Iron Fist,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Iron Fist #2

Iron Fist #2 is published by Marvel Comics. Written by Alyssa Wong, pencils by Michael Yg and Sean Chen with inks by Yg and Victor Olazaba, colors byJay David Ramos, and letters by Travis Lanham. Danny Rand encounters a new Iron Fist in New York. This is Lin Lie, once Sword Master, but an attack left shards of his magic sword embedded in his hands. The dragon Shou-Lou also saved him from this attack, imbuing him with its chi. Now he searches for more sword shards.

In this issue, Lin Lie travels the world fighting demons while hunting for the mystical shards. But when returning to K’un L’un, he soon finds his safe place is dangerous, too, as others have an issue with his ascendency. The plot and structure of this issue is fantastic. Still setting up a new series with a lot of mythology and story behind it, Wong keeps the balance of exposition and action bound tightly together. There are two big flights in Iron Fist #2. Both of them are long and are incredibly different in their composition. But each battle moves the story along brilliantly, telling us something instead of just being cool (which it certainly is). The story bounces between locations low enough that each scene has its power. The superhero nature of the comic and the magical element is blended perfectly, culminating in a training montage that mixes the two. The kung-fu story then has horror bleed into it as Wong brilliantly returns the comic to a direction that was likely forgotten about from the previous issue, leading to it being unexpected.

The characters in this issue are superb because they are able to carry their own voices while also having huge themes hiding behind the dialogue. The script is incredible, natural in how it reads but so layered with a lot of stuff to say. I missed it within the first issue due to the demons and the fighting and the magic, but the discussion about chronic pain is heavy inside Iron Fist #2. The shards of Lin Lie’s sword are stuck inside his hands. They constantly ache and have made regular tasks difficult. I do not suffer from chronic pain, but as someone with a hand-based disability, this comic suddenly resonated with me in an incredibly powerful fashion. The dip he’s had in his confidence is heartbreaking, especially when he speaks to people who knew him before the change. Because this is still something, he’s adjusting to, having to adapt his life due to the circumstances. 

Danny Rand is not in this chapter as much, but his revelations about getting older are also impactful even when played for comedic purposes. Wong makes these comments very specific, which adds weight to them. There is also this resounding theme around tradition and the “right way” of accomplishing something. Lin Lie being labeled as Iron Fist when he did not go through the same trials and training as others who covet the title does not sit well with other inhabitants of K’un L’un. The conversations had are intelligent and mature.

The art is stunning. The artists all display the combat superbly. The choreography of the fights is fantastic, a perfect combination of authentic martial arts-infused with fantasy. Each move looks epic, and the proportions are natural. The creature designs are also incredible, monstrous, and detailed, even as fodder to be killed. Each character has a distinctive design, even if they have a minor role in the issue. The inks lead to a wonderful depth in the line weights. The new Iron Fist costume is superb, covered in little details that may not even be noticed but give it a unique quality. There are also small, quiet moments where the art is just as gorgeous. The damage that has been done to Lin Lie’s hands looks painful, achieved through faint details.

The colors have a natural warmth and richness, which perfectly fits the mystical world. Ramos’ use of the rich tone is fantastic when attributed to the new Iron Fist costume. The gold and green are darker than Rand’s were, which is a subtle but fascinating alteration. But these darker shades, when added to K’un L’un or magical items, bring them to life and creates a sense of wonder around them. The lettering has a great blend of comic book word balloons and a fantasy-based font.

Iron Fist #2 is phenomenal. There was excitement from the brilliant first image, yet this second chapter has raised it to an even greater level. The plot is fun and engaging, but it is the story of this brand new Iron Fist that makes it unique. The themes following Lin Lie are solid and well-written but do not drown out his personality. The art is gorgeous and a crucial part of the storytelling. The fact that Lin Lie is an existing character helps his progression as he has a supporting cast and history of his own. These are old characters and old legends being used to tell a new story.

Iron Fist #2 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Iron Fist #2
5

TL;DR

Iron Fist #2 is phenomenal. There was excitement from the brilliant first image, yet this second chapter has raised it to an even greater level. The plot is fun and engaging, but it is the story of this brand new Iron Fist that makes it unique.