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Marvel’s new Iron Fist comic is a real martial arts blast

Lin Li, the new Iron Fist, on the cover variant for Iron Fist #2.

Image: Jim Cheng / Marvel Comics

FROM Miles Morales debuting in the Ultimate Universe back in 2011 and slowly becoming a household name, Marvel has had no shortage of new, younger characters who take on the names of well-known legacy heroes like Iron Man and Thor. Each new hero had headlines that drew attention, and for many of them, for example, Captain America by Sam Wilson or Jane Foster’s Thor – diversity is very much their raison d’être, implicit or not. And over time, fans of these new characters have been rewarded, as have so many others. decorate the MCU with your presence in the coming years.

Next hero to get modern upgrade Iron fista character who could probably use it more than most. One day he it was announced that he would get his own Netflix series, many fans hoped that Danny Rand’s character an Asian actor will play, if only because the idea of ​​a white boy who is well versed in kung fu is surprising. While casting Finn Jones was certainly far from the only problem with Iron fist, it didn’t quite help the Netflix-Marvel venture, which later became known his inability to really do anything with a limited set of Asian characters. However, what Iron Fist second season ended Jessica Henwick, beauty Colleen Wing becoming the new Fist showed that the show listened to its critics and was willing to embrace the idea of ​​a legacy mantle. But the show was canceled before we could see it and it doesn’t look like Henwick for a refund as Netflix co-stars Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio coming soon.

Danny was the Iron Fist of the primary Marvel Universe since Roy Thomas and Gil Kane first introduced it in 1974, but the mantle has a long history in the universe. heritage behind him, and more Fists have been revealed in the character’s nearly 50-year comic book history. Most of these Fists were his predecessors, including those who were part of prehistoric Avengers. And his successors were short-lived, like Pei is a teenage girl who co-hosted Comicology Immortal iron fists back in 2017 – and very briefly Okoye, near the end of the recent Dragon Heart mini-series. In that, Danny and Pei transferred their powers to her so she could save the world, after which she relinquished power so the Iron Fist cycle could start over.

Lin Li and Danny Rand meet for the first time.

Lin Li and Danny Rand meet for the first time.
Image: Michael Ig and Jay David Ramos/Marvel Comics

Now that the MCU has managed to get its hands on the well-known Asian hero in the form of Shang-Chi Simu Liu, you can practically see how New Iron Fist solo comic— Writer Alyssa Wong, artists Michael Ig and Shawn Chen, dyer Victor Olazaba, and colorist Jay David Ramos — are trying to make things even better. The Living Weapon title goes to Shanghai teenager Lin Li, who breaks the mold of recent teen heroes like Miles, Robbie Reyes, and Kamala Khan by starting out as an original character. before transition to the old hero. Lin Li, introduced in 2019 as the superhero Swordmaster as part of a collaboration between Marvel and NetEase, was previously relegated to spin-off events, Atlas Agents series by Greg Pak, Nico Leon and Gang Hyuk Lim; and a solo comic by Park, Shuizhu and artist Gunji.

Those who are already fans of the character are no doubt happy to see him given a new codename, but newbies won’t be confused if Iron fist this is their first time with a baby. After the release of the comic during the recent Death of Doctor Strange The event, Lin Li was saved from death by receiving the power of the Iron Fist from its source, the dragon Shou-Lao. Now living in K’un-L’un, he and his friend Mei Ming work together to recover the shards of Fuxi Lin Li’s sword, a family heirloom that was previously used to stop the return of the Chinese god of war Chiyu.

All of this would be good set-up for the Iron Fist miniseries, but what helps Lin Li stand out is how Wong, Ig, and Chen cleverly managed to make him feel like a natural extension of Iron Fist’s legacy rather than young carbon. a copy of the installed hero. Being an outsider has always been part of the hero’s legacy, and the new perspective here is that since he did not acquire Shou-Lao’s powers through the tournament like the other Iron Fists, Lin Li is considered a thief by some of K’un Lun’s people. who stole the power they consider rightfully theirs. Being a formidable hero doesn’t help his cause; if anything, learning to fight from various Asian Marvel heroes like Shang-Chi and the White Fox makes him even more unworthy in their eyes. (The art of Yg and Chen perfectly demonstrates his care, and make it more manoeuvrablefurious set of moves compared to other martial artists.)

How Lin Li regained his rhythm.

How Lin Li regained his rhythm.
Image: Sean Chen, Victor Olazaba and Jay David Ramos/Marvel Comics

And unlike other teenage heroes in the Marvel Universe, his support system is incredibly thin, mostly by his own choice. Whenever he is in the regular world to collect sword shards and fight demons, he avoids trying to reunite with any of the friends he has made over the years. He also actively pushes away a potential mentor in Danny, who is not at all upset that someone borrowed his old code name and just wants to help a child who clearly needs it. Despite all this, Lin Li is actually quite well adapted to his circumstances, Wong writes it like this determined, well-meaning child who it’s easy to root for him.

The unorthodox way in which Lin Li became Iron Fist is also the book’s most interesting conceit. The shards of Lin Li’s sword were pierced into his hands, meaning that he couldn’t just call on the power of Shou-Lao anytime he wanted. In the two issues released so far, his Fist malfunctions while fighting demons, and outside of battle, he openly admits that using his hands causes him “constant unbearable agony”. The Big Two superheroes are no stranger to their powers being flawed, but it’s a cruder form of vulnerability than we usually get, and it goes a long way in making Lin Li irresistible and sympathetic. At times when he can overcome pain and summon the Fist, or when he is being trained by Mei Ming and Thunderbolt Yu-Ti of K’un Lun, you can see that he has the makings of a great Iron Fist.

Like other teenage heroes donning legacy robes, it may take time for Lin Li to take off and lead either his own MCU solo project or appear in someone else’s. history. But Wong, Ig, and Chen laid a solid foundation for the character, which we hope will lead to more and more adventures in the future.

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