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Monday, January 16, 2006

Dollar Comic Review: Power Man & Iron Fist #75

Today was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so I hope everyone with a real job out there was having fun with their day off while I was slinging comics to people who have little to no command of the English language.

Let me hip you cats to something: The word you're looking for is "Infinite." The E is silent. "Infinity," while related, is an entirely different word, and if you want comics with that word in the title, I'll be perfectly happy to hook you up. Otherwise, learn to read.

But that's not what tonight's update is about.

Like most people who aren't completely insane, I have a lot of admiration for Dr. King, and I respect both what he did and his methods for accomplishing it. I truly believe that one day, if we all work together, we can realize his dream of living in a world where race is a total non-issue, where people can be judged for who they are, and not the color of their skin.

Which is why I love Power Man and Iron Fist.

As far as comics go, there's no better representation of what Dr. King stood for. You've got Luke Cage, a black man who grew up on the streets, was framed for a crime he didn't commit, and was subject to experiments in prison that gave him super-powers. And then there's Danny Rand, the blonde, blue-eyed son of a wealthy industrialist who embraced another culture as his own during ten years in the mystical city of K'un-Lun. And those two guys are best friends, business partners, and, in a way, brothers. They're willing to die for each other. That's unity, baby. U-N-I-T-Y.

Probably the best thing ever.And while we're on the subject?

The cover for Iron Fist's first appearance in Marvel Premiere #15 is easily one of the best covers of all time. Seriously, it has the phrase "Karate Killers" and the word "awesome" right there on the cover, which means there's a distinct possibility that I went back and time and wrote the cover copy myself.

Kung Fu Action in the Mighty Marvel Manner indeed.

Totally Awesome.

The ISB Freedom Beast Award for Racial Equality in Comics"This Insubstantial Pageant Faded"
Power Man and Iron Fist #75

November, 1987
Script: Mary Jo Duffy
Pencils: Kerry Gammill
Cover: Bob Larkin

The Plot

Phil "The Thrill" Looney told me about this issue a while back, after he'd picked one up at the store and subsequently had his senses shattered by The Best Panel Ever (see below). But this issue has so much more.

This giant-size 75th issue special is a classic. The story sees Our Heroes (for Hire) tracking down the evil Master Khan, who--presumably in pursuit of Genesis--sends them hurling through a tear in the fabric of space to the lost city of K'un-Lun, which Iron Fist left, never to return, back in his first appearance. They find Fist's old pals The August Personage in Jade and Lei-Kung the Thunderer in quite a state over the local army of plant-men, the Hylthri, who seem to be quite a nuisance.

Luke and Danny decide to help out, and--after a full recap of Iron Fist's origin wherein he battles the dragon Shou Lao the Undying to win the awesome power to make his fist like unto a thing of iron--lead the Immortal Warriors of the Mystic City (!) to take out the Hylthri. In the process, they discover that they've been using the life force kidnapped immortals, including Iron Fist's sister and pre-Cage best friend, to feed their young, which is understandably upsetting.

But still, they win the day, and there's a big party back in the city, but it turns out to be a setup so that Fist's uncle August Personage can sacrifice him to Master Khan, who turns out to be an Evil Karate God of K'un-Lun (!!). Lei-Kung the Thunderer wises up to what's going on and wakes up Luke, the victim of drugged wine, and they bust in and clean house, saving Danny from being sacrificed and getting Khan to send them back to Earth, and aside from the fact that K'un-Lun is still ruled by a murderous human-sacrificing cultist who also happens to be Iron Fist's uncle, everything works out okay.

The Highlights

Before we go any further, just take a look at this splash page:

RIDE THE TIGER!  YOU CAN SEE HIS STRIPES BUT YOU KNOW HE'S CLEAN!Your eyes do not decieve you. That's an evil god of Kung Fu riding through space on the back of a giant green tiger with Power Man and Iron Fist floating in the background.


  • By the time you got to page one of this comic, you'd already gotten the image above and a chance to win a Columbia Ten-Speed Racer. What more do you want for 75 cents?
  • On page two, as Giant Green Space Tiger makes another attack, Luke attempts to get Danny to dodge by yelling "DUCK FIST!" Man, I wish I could get away with saying that.
  • The plot of most of this issue involves Power Man and Iron Fist teaming up to fight an army of Kung Fu Swamp Things, and on a normal day, that'd be the most awesome sentence I'd type. When talking about this issue, however, it doesn't even come close.
  • Danny charges into the lair of the Hylthri, only to find that his long-lost sister and friend have been dead for quite some time, but while their bodies are little more than skeletons, they each have a full, lustrous head of hair to make identification a little easier. Where's that shampoo commercial, huh?

  • The August Personage in Jade shall consume THREE Gorditas for lunch!
  • Yu-Ti, the August Personage in Jade, turns out not to be such a great guy after all, much like his distant cousin Cobra Commander.
  • After defeating... The Ninja, Luke and Danny end up making a deal with Khan to return them back to New York, since K'un-Lun only intersects with the Earth once every ten years. It's like a Kung Fu version of Brigadoon, which is just one of the many ways this issue reminds us that Kung Fu makes everything better.

Defining Moment

WORD!Best. Panel. Ever.


Blogger Ragnell said...

Man, I can hear the Cobra Commander voice from the cartoon when I read the panel!

1/17/2006 3:17 AM

Blogger Phil Looney said...

This comic puts me in a happy place. That's how Luke Cage is suppose to be.

1/17/2006 8:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To add my literary expertise to the discussion, the title of this issue, "This Insubstantial Pageant Faded," comes from Shakespeare's The Tempest, though the full line reads, "Like this insubstantial pageant, faded."

On another note, this issue seems to me to be an early incidence of Marvel trying to milk the 75th issue of a series as an "anniversary issue" along the lines of issue 50 or 100. Does anyone remember an earlier occurrence of this? I don't recall DC ever doing this.

1/17/2006 9:31 AM

Blogger Craig said...

I don't remember this issue being among those collected in Essential Iron Fist... SOMEBODY DROPPED THE BALL.

1/17/2006 11:25 AM

Blogger Phil Looney said...

I think that's becuase they haven't put out an Essential Power Man and Iron Fist book yet - which is what I'm waiting on.

1/17/2006 1:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that Warren Ellis' face looming over the background of that cover?

1/18/2006 12:30 AM

Blogger Kitty said...

sweet jesus! that's beautiful!

1/23/2006 8:54 PM

Blogger Paul S. said...

I'm going to have to swipe the Freedom Beast Seal of Approval for my Live Journal.

5/16/2006 2:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey man, i really enjoy reading your blog. Maybe you should shut the fuck up?

11/11/2008 9:40 PM

Anonymous Wilfred said...

To my mind everyone may read it.
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11/25/2011 8:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel that is because they haven't put out an Essential Power Man and Iron Fist book yet - which is what I'm looking out for. best place to buy gold and silver online

9/18/2020 4:08 PM


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