Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon #1 Review: A Comic as Quick as Iron Fist's Punch

After a brief hiatus, the Immortal Iron Fist returns with his own title—a stab at the character by Marvel Comics legend Larry Hama. While the solicitation teased the return of fan-favorite supporting characters, the story unfolds quickly and melds into the ultimate Iron Fist fan-service story, for better or for worse. The first issue picks up some pieces left untied in earlier Iron Fist stories like Immortal Iron Fist, Iron Fist: The Living Weapon, and Immortal Iron Fists, hoping to help resolve loose ends left in some of the character's most popular series.

Right out of the gates, readers see the return of the beloved Fooh as he works on the "Heavenly City" gate at the bottom of Rand Tower, the portal that previously was able to grant its user quick access to K'un-Lun, even when the city wasn't naturally appearing on Earth. Again, it's one of those situations where readers forget about the ultimate Iron Fist plot device, until it's brought back among a whole host of others.

Throughout this issue, readers begin to see the return of more Immortal Weapons like Dog Brother and Tiger's Beautiful Daughter, though not all of them make it to the final page alive.

Heart of the Dragon speeds by at a rapid pace, and it's likely some new readers will get lost in all the mythology dropped on their laps in this issue. There's the mythos of K'un-Lun and the other Heavenly Cities to unpack, the story of the Immortal Weapons, and much more—it's just a lot to take in with only 20 pages.

Yet, the overall narrative here is something also well-known to fans of the character. In the life of Danny Rand, the fate of the Heavenly Cities always seems to reside in his hands, regardless of the plot or any of the devices writers introduced. Tiresome by now, it's probably time to concede it's just something central to the character, as he always tends to take it upon himself to play savior. At least this time, he has his best friend Luke and mentee Pei by his side.

That said, it works—at least for fans who've managed to keep up with the character through thick and thin. Unlike some other recent series like The Phantom Limb or Ed Brisson's Iron Fist ongoing from a few years back, this is debut delivers an excellent nod to the stories that have come before without needing to provide a hard resets. While those two stories were solid, more often than not, the creators decided to start fresh and do their own thing with this character. Here, Hama makes sure to pay tribute to previous runs and it's something that makes this take even more interesting.

What also works well is Wachter's line art, filling the pages with a rough-and-tumble style perfect for the tale at hand. His action work is excellent, especially in the sequences where Rand has his Iron Fist lit and ready to go. Between the hordes of zombie warriors and horses, mixed with a few other spoiler-y action pieces—Wachter is an excellent fit for this mini-series.

For fans of stories with an expansive cast, Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon has no shortage of talent. In addition to the three supporting characters mentioned earlier, there are a few Immortal Weapons with sizable roles, an intriguing new character introduced in the closing moments, and two antagonists that are favorites among Marvel's street-level heroes.

Its brisk pace will be attractive to those looking for page-to-page, blood-pumping martial arts action, even though it's often easy to get lost. Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon wastes zero time getting into the thick of it and these 20 pages zip by in the blink of an eye with one beautiful action set piece after the next. It might be too fast at points, but that's entirely forgivable for the fun you'll have when reading this comic book. Iron Fist is finally back with his title, and this debut delivers an exciting start.

Published by Marvel Comics

On January 20, 2021

Written by Larry Hama

Art by David Wachter

Colors by Neeraj Menon

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Letters by Travis Lanham

Cover by Billy Tan and Monica Mu