Tag Archives: Luke Cage

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 Comics — Power Man and Iron Fist #1-4 (2016)

power_man_and_iron_fist_1I initially overlooked this series. Judging from the first storyline, that was a mistake.

Power Man and Iron Fist manages to be consistently amusing while maintaining a strong heart at its core. Ultimately, it’s a series about friendship—that of the two title characters, and that of the two antagonists, one of which also happens to be a longtime friend and colleague of Luke Cage and Danny Rand.

The dynamic between Luke and Danny is as great as you’d expect for two characters with a lengthy history. Danny wants to renew their old partnership. Luke does not. Jessica Jones especially does not (she and Luke have been married for some time in the comics; here, she’s just a recurring cameo, but even her brief appearances are always welcome). Also great is how the heroes’ error in judgment sets the plot into motion.

I hadn’t realized that Mariah Dillard, Alfre Woodard’s character on the Luke Cage Netflix series, had a comic book counterpart, one who apparently answers to the name “Black Mariah” (yeah, that sounds a bit dated). The two versions of the character have practically nothing in common, other than both being criminals. Still, the comic book version works well in this medium and this story (nickname aside).

I’ll be sure to check out #5 when it hits Marvel Unlimited.

Writer: David Walker

Artist: Sanford Greene

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Power Man and Iron Fist vol. 1: The Boys Are Back in Town (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — New Avengers Annual #1 (2006)

new_avengers_annual_vol_1_1Sweet Christmas, that Luke Cage Netflix series was excellent. So was the Jessica Jones series.

And oh, look, here are they both are in comic book form…getting married. That’s nice for them.

New Avengers Annual #1 is a good example of how to do a wedding issue right—basically, have the wedding itself take up very little of the overall comic. A full-length wedding issue is almost a no-win situation in superhero comics. Super-villains could crash the festivities, and they have, but that’s far too predictable these days. The ceremony could proceed smoothly, which has also been done, and while it’s nice to see likeable characters interact in a happy setting, it tends to be a tension-free affair.

So despite the wedding-themed cover, this annual largely focuses on an unrelated battle between the Avengers and an especially powerful foe, as they employ both brains and brawn to take her down. The battle ties into ongoing arcs and it’s a fun romp on its own.

As for Luke/Jessica, their relationship had evolved since Jessica’s introduction a few years earlier, and the wedding ceremony is merely the epilogue to an arc that had already reached a satisfactory conclusion. They have a nice ceremony surrounded by friends, and Jessica has her moment to be Jessica (written perfectly in character, of course, with the character’s creator writing the issue). And you have an entertaining, notable annual that shows how comic book characters’ lives aren’t static like they were in the olden days.

And nice Stan Lee cameo, by the way.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Penciler: Olivier Coipel

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Daredevil #178 (1982)

daredevil_vol_1_178Later this week, Marvel’s presence on Netflix will grow with Luke Cage, and Iron Fist will follow sometime next year.

So let’s look back at that time Luke Cage and Iron Fist first met Marvel’s original Netflix vigilante—Daredevil—in Daredevil #178. (No Jessica Jones in the ‘80s, alas.)

This was right in the middle of Frank Miller’s character-redefining run on the title. Luke Cage and Iron Fist, then Heroes for Hire, guest-starred to provide some comic relief and facilitate secret-identity shenanigans. There’s no team-up in the usual sense, though the issue does—for a brief scene—uphold the merry Marvel tradition of having superheroes spar over a misunderstanding.

Daredevil is trying to protect a teenager who has evidence that can be used against the Kingpin. The Kingpin sends thugs after the kid—sends them right into the offices of Nelson & Murdock. Concerned for his blind partner’s safety, Foggy Nelson hires Cage and Iron Fist to bodyguard Matt, who still needs to protect the kid from further attempts…and, to do so, he must ditch his own protectors. It’s good farcical fun, and it fits seamlessly within the larger story arc.

While this issue isn’t one of the big standouts of the Miller era, it’s still a great entry in the run (though, honestly, I can’t think of a bad issue in the run). Miller juggles numerous moving parts and keeps the momentum strong throughout, ending on a cliffhanger that pulls you into the next issue.

So that’s how Daredevil met Luke Cage and Iron Fist. I suspect it will happen differently in the Defenders Netflix series. Just a hunch.

Writer/Penciler: Frank Miller

Inker: Klaus Janson

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller vol. 2 (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 11 and up