Today’s Super Comic — The Immortal Iron Fist #6 (2007)

If you want to check out Iron Fist before the upcoming Netflix series, try out the series written by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction. It was critically acclaimed when it came out, but for some reason or another (i.e., monetary limitations preventing me from reading everything), I never got around to trying it out.

Until now, that is. Comixology digitally gave away the first trade paperback for free recently. So of course I read it. And yes, it is quite good.

Issue #6 wraps up the first storyline and leads into the next. This is where the action ramps up, with welcome assists from Luke Cage, Misty Knight, and Colleen Wing (Netflix viewers have already met the first two, and I’m assuming we’ll meet Colleen soon, too). Additionally—and this gets to the meat of the story—a previous Iron Fist fights alongside current Iron Fist Danny Rand (yes, I somehow never got into the most prominent superhero who shares my first name…so psychoanalyze whatever that means).

Superhero comics tend to handle themes of legacy and lineage rather well, and a martial artist superhero is a particularly good fit for such subject matter. After all, martial arts involve the passing of specialized knowledge down through the generations.

This is a more serious take on Iron Fist than when what we see in the current, more lighthearted Power Man and Iron Fist series. But both books are solid—which one you enjoy more may well depend on your mood at the time.

In any case, The Immortal Iron Fist makes me all the more optimistic about the Netflix series.

And fun fact: Apparently, Carrie-Anne Moss’s character in Jessica Jones, Jeri Hogarth, was originally the male Jeryn Hogarth, who ran Danny Rand’s company in the comics. I did not know that.

Writers: Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction

Artist: David Aja

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in The Immortal Iron Fist vol. 1: The Last Iron Fist Story (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 14 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Hawkeye #6 (2012)

hawkeye_vol_4_6As I’ve said before, the entire Hawkeye series by Matt Fraction is excellent. But the holiday-themed issue is #6, so that seems like a timely place to focus right now.

The story shows us six December days in Hawkeye’s life…out of order. The reader, then, must piece everything together along the way, kind of like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. It’s a book that respects your intelligence enough to ask you to pay attention. Then you read it again and admire the subtleties and subtext.

Appropriately for a holiday issue, the theme is home. Specifically, Clint has recently moved into an apartment—he’s even bought the whole building—and he needs to embrace his new home and resist his usual impulse to run away to the next thing. There’s also the faintest whiff of It’s a Wonderful Life, as Clint learns about his own value, too.

“I know it’s a mess and it’s half-taped together and it’s old and busted—but it’s mine. And you gotta make that work, right? You gotta make your own stuff work,” Clint says late in the chronology but early in book, before we know exactly what he’s talking about.

David Aja’s art is terrific throughout. He’s a master of incorporating tiny panels into his layouts, which I imagine must be a significant challenge for any comic book artist. However, the most memorable image is a full-page splash panel of Hawkeye getting ready to defend his home. Clint appears small in the lower foreground, and a fairly bland apartment building consumes most of the page, with only snow breaking it up. It’s a wonderful image that encapsulates what the issue is all about.

Writer: Matt Fraction

Artist: David Aja

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Hawkeye vol. 2: Little Hits (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 15 and up