Page 45 Review by Stephen
Wake Me Up Before You Dojo!
Heavy-weight, 20-issue collection from the creators of HAWKEYE. Yes, you like HAWKEYE, dont you?
Mystical martial arts thriller with a powerful kick partially provided by artist David Aja who on icy, wind-swept mountains, deep underground or out in the pouring rain creates a similar atmosphere to DAREDEVIL and SCARLET artist Alex Maleev. His choreography's sharp, and that's vital on a book like this or DAREDEVIL where athletic prowess and hand-to-hand combat are part of the book's draw.
Brubaker and Fraction, meanwhile, balance the present with a broad sweep of the past, bringing the history and heritage of the Iron Fist to the fore, breathing new life into the legend in order to propel it further forward. That's where the heart of this lies and what the series looks set to explore: the actions of the individuals who've previously earned and wielded the power of the dragon Shou-Lao, their impact on the city of K'un-Lun and its rulers, and in turn the repercussions for the current Iron Fist, Daniel Rand.
Daniel, charmingly, is a slightly dippy guy for someone who's trained hard enough to defeat Shou-Lou The Undying then harvesting the chi from its heart; nor is he your typical hardened businessman who owns such a successful and wealthy corporation. So when Wai-Go Industries offers him ten billion pounds for new rail technology his company has developed, given China's human rights record at home and in Tibet and its proximity to the mountains of K'un Lun, he's unwilling to hand the goods over without first delving behind the corporate front. Which is just as well because behind it lies Hydra, a neo-Nazi terrorist organisation, and behind Hydra lie forces with ties to the Iron Fist's past who've set their sights on K'un Lun, on Danny himself, and on his immediate predecessor, Orson Randall.
That's where Danny's education really begins: he thought that only one man or woman could channel the chi of Shou-Lou that there was only one Iron Fist a time but Orson brings with him far more than a helping hand. He brings with him knowledge of Danny's dead father, a whole history book of the Iron Fist legacy, and some baggage that only spells trouble.
As the series progesses, it widens in scope, encompassing a mystical martial arts tournament played out while the threat of revolution hangs in the air. And martial arts game fans are going to love those battles, although they might be a little taken aback by their poetry and grace. Back in our dimension, Luke Cage, Colleen and Misty discover that if a certain train does run on time, it's going to punch one hell of a hole in K'un Lun's crash barriers.
Brubaker and Fraction have given a weight to a title whose previous incarnations had none, and by building the book on its own unique legend, they've given it a reason to exist. There's also plenty to make you smile, not least the return of long-standing friend Luke Cage, and it's very much in keeping with Danny and Luke's most recent interpretations in DAREDEVIL and NEW AVENGERS by Bendis.
The excerpts from history are handled by artists other than Aja, which is a shame because Aja's so mighty fine, but it does at least serve to sign-post that they're flashbacks. These concentrate on the sixty-six men and women who have have carried the mantle of this martial arts warrior over the centuries. Unfortunately apart from one, they all die at exactly the same age an age which Danny Rand is fast approaching