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FIRST ISSUE: POWER MAN AND IRON FIST

An admirable first issue must, above all else, contain such matter as will compel a reader to buy the second issue. At the same time, while provoking curiosity through mysteriousness, a good first issue must avoid being so mysterious as to be cryptic or incomprehensible. And, thirdly, it should introduce the title’s principals, preferably in a way that makes us care about them. Fourth, a first issue should include a complete “episode”—that is, something should happen, a crisis of some kind, which is resolved by the end of the issue, without, at the same time, detracting from the cliffhanger aspect of the effort that will compel us to buy the next issue.

MORE ADVANCE NOTICE FOR A MOVIE

Power Man and Iron Fist coverPower Man and Iron Fist are back in funnybooks because there’s a movie on the horizon. (Right: a Netflix flick; see below.) Danny Rand (aka Iron Fist) wants to revive their team-up but Luke Cage (Power Man) doesn’t. That’s the on-going joke, and it lasts for both of the two issues out so far. The adventure gets underway when Jennie Royce, former office manage for Heroes for Hire, gets out of prison and wants them to retrieve her grandmother’s necklace, which was taken from her by Lonnie Lincoln (aka Tombstone, boss of organized crime north of 110th Street), who (she says) mistook the necklace for some of the late Eugene Mason’s stash which Lonnie took because Eugene owed him money.

But Jennie is lying. The necklace is a mysterious and powerful trinket (containing the supersoul stone) that Jennie gives to Mariah Dillard (aka Black Mariah), who plans to use the necklace to take over Lonnie’s operation. By the second issue, Lonnie is sending his goons after Iron Fist and Power Man to recover the necklace. And fisticuffs ensue. (Again. They were required in the first issue to extract the necklace from Lonnie.)

Because the title characters are old timers in the Marvel stable, we scarcely need a first issue that acquaints us with them — even though under the new rubric, neither Power Man nor Iron Fist are quite the same serious personages they once were. The running joke about teaming up or not defines their personalities: Luke resists Danny’s insistence, and Danny tries to be irresistible, joking and grinning all the way.

David Walker is telling the tale here, but it’s Sanford Greene’s drawing that gives the title panache. His linework is scratchy, which lends the visuals a happy loose feel. And in rendering Luke Cage, he produces a massive figure, a colossus of a man, massive muscles on the cusp of overweightedness. That’s a satisfying visual appeal, and the scratchiness enhances it all.

The title is a step away from Deadpool nonsense, but I can’t help feeling that the jokey dialogue between Luke and Danny is an attempt to mimic the fun time atmosphere of those titles.

ABOUT THE IRON FIST MOVIE: It’s a Netflix series with “Game of Thrones” actor Finn Jones in the title role. Entertainment Weekly reports that he is training for the role, his daily routine “consists of hours of martial-arts practice (kung fu and wushu mixed with a bit of tai chi) followed by lifting weights (“to bulk me up”) and meditation and Buddhist philosophy studies. Says Jones: “I’ve always dreamed of a role that bridged spiritual discipline and badass superhero. There’s a contradiction in those elements that’s going to be very fun to play.”

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

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