Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Comic A Day: Marvel Premiere #15

Published by Marvel
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by Gil Kane & Dick Giordano

Long before Bruce Wayne would trek up the mountain with a certain blue flower and be deemed worthy of the League Of Shadows, there was the story of Danny Rand. The boy who would become the man known as Iron Fist had a pretty brutal origin. No time for The Mark of Zorro I'm afraid. In fact, Iron Fist's origin is so hardcore, his parents are murdered before his eyes during a family mountain climbing expedition. Oh, rich people...

The best part of Iron Fist's debut in this 70's marvel anthology is the perspective granted to the reader. "You are Iron Fist" states the narrator, placing the reader firmly in the kung-fu booties of the lead character. A few more captions like that, and a more impressionable reader is likely to put the mag down and start throwing down with the family dog. Danny Rand has grown up hard in the temple within the disappearing city of K'un Lun and writer Roy Thomas tries his damndest to make every blow feel like a harsh reminder of the hero's journey.

I compared the story to Batman Begins a second ago because it had just dawned on me how similar they seem. Climbing a mountain or other obstacle on the way to enlightenment certainly isn't anything new, but Danny Rand's story seems like Bruce Wayne's own grisly origin on fast-forward.

Danny Rand would go on to choke a dragon (yes, really) and scale a tower of assassins Game Of Death style in the next several issues. His pursuit of the Meachum family and his quest for revenge would make up most of his adventures before pairing up with that bad mamma-jamma Luke Cage just about two years later. A very 70's book with some real Bronze Age trapping sprinkled throughout, readers could always rest assured that evil is just one glowing punch away from the E.R.

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