Bruce Rule is a fan of Iron Fist (seriously who isn’t) and he has reviewed amongst other comics, Essential Iron Fist Vol. 1
We are featuring his review here at Comic Book Therapy and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Make sure you leave your comments below.
Essential Iron Fist Volume 1 collects the first four years’ worth of Marvel comics starring the character, who debuted in 1974 during a martial arts craze. The series is mainly known for some of the earliest work by writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne. This book is part of the Marvel Essentials series, which republishes hundreds of pages of comic books in black and white, a great cost savings for comic book fans!
The Long, Strange Journey of Iron Fist
A 1970s Comic Book Character Revisited
Essential Iron Fist collects Marvel Premiere issues 15-25; Iron Fist 1-15; Marvel Team-Up 63-64; and Power Man & Iron Fist 48-50. Iron Fist debuted in Marvel Premiere 15. After issue 25 he graduated to his own comic, which lasted 15 issues. The Marvel Team-Up stories tied up some story lines after the character’s own comic was canceled. Then Iron Fist was injected into another comic that wasn’t selling well, Power Man, to give it a lift. As you may be able to tell from the list Iron Fist was not a huge success story of the 1970s.
Even so, I liked Iron Fist at the time. The stories had some freshness, and John Byrne’s art was very cool. I decided to write this lens to highlight some of the reasons I think any comic book fan would enjoy this collection, which really is a good way to experience the character. The image here is of Iron Fist and Power Man, off the back cover of Essential Iron Fist Volume 1.
Chris Claremont and Misty Knight
The X-Men Writer At His Best
John Byrne’s Early Work
Before X-Men There was Iron Fist!
Comic book artist John Byrne, who may be best known for his work on the Uncanny X-Men, had celebrated runs on such comics as Fantastic Four, Captain America, Alpha Flight, the Sensational She-Hulk and many others, as well as a revamped Superman.
But some of this earliest work was on Iron Fist, and it was sensational. I remember being really impressed by the action scenes that seemed to flow so naturally, and I loved the way he drew Captain America in Iron Fist No. 12. In that issue (contained in this Marvel Essential volume) Captain America is built as solidly as a Sherman tank in contrast to Iron Fist, who seems so much more lithe. Getting this book is worthwhile just to enjoy Byrne’s art.
”You Are Iron Fist”
An Experiment in Writing
One of the more interesting things about the early Iron Fist stories is that they were written in the second-person narrative, which is far less common than first person or third person. From the first page of his debut (see accompanying illustration, taken from this Marvel Essential volume) through most of the stories in this volume the captions are addressed to Iron Fist.
“You are Iron Fist. You stand tensely…” his premiere appearance begins. It was an intriguing approach, and while I had seen it done in some one-shot stories, mainly in horror and war comics, I don’t remember it being very common among superhero stories in the 1970s. Something to keep in mind when you read the stories.
The Marvel Essential Series
The Marvel Essential series reprints many of Marvel Comics’ stories from the 1960s on in large volumes that usually top several hundred pages. The series began in 1997 with the publication of the Essential X-Men No. 1 and The Essential Spider-Man No. 1.
Many of the volumes have been printed more than once, with different covers on some of them, so don’t let that throw you off when buying. Carefully check to make sure which volume number you are considering.
The huge advantage to these volumes is cost: a reader can get 30 or more stories for about what a half dozen new comic books cost, and the old stories have more pages of action per issue. The Essentials books are much more cost-effective than buying all the original comics as well.
Some say the Essential series is a great way for fans to read all their favorite series without having to scout down the old comics and spend a great deal of money. Others say the books just aren’t worthwhile because the reprints are in black & white and losing the original colors of the art makes everything look drab. I agree the colors are a major part of enjoying a comic, but I do think the Essentials books are a great deal. I no longer have to go through my collection and pull the original comic out of its protective bag to enjoy an old story. Now, they can sit in a handy volume on my bookcase for me to dip into whenever I want!
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Source : Bruce Lens