This mini has been a lot like the old “Power Man and Iron Fist” issues, but those only took one month to read each and this tale took up five months. Make of that what you will. The overall story has been a little strange, and thin in parts, but the character work has been fun -- at least where the new Power Man is concerned. Iron Fist felt more like set dressing.
There has been an entire sub-plot about a prison that has directly affected the plot and yet still managed to feel tacked on or around the main thrust of this mini. It is relevant but it doesn’t exactly make you care. It’s the sort of thing that would have benefited from a longer form story to be properly told. Without complete time, the new characters don’t own the page and command your attention. They feel more like plot points and merely necessary to get to the end.
Two things Fred Van Lente does really well are making with the funny and the fighting. He does both here to varying degrees. Iron Fist takes on a prison full of white supremacists and this is the perfect time for Van Lente to unleash some new Immortal Weapon moves like we know and love. Not all of them are winners but the “Yancy Street Haymaker (Informal)” is clearly the best.
Victor Alvarez, the new Power Man, is a fun character and Van Lente uses him often to end scenes with a good line of dialogue. Alvarez has definitely been the character to best benefit from this mini as his style of operation and level of sass are now well defined. He is a more concrete character within the Marvel U and he’s one you can really like. He definitely needs more work in any young team getting about. Iron Fist, however, did not get this level of treatment and reverence. The only addition to his character depth has been his feelings about Misty, which still feel completely wrong or at least not well explained.
The art of this comic is fun in a quirky and easy manner. Wellington Alves structures some panels with thought and precision, yet other panels are inexplicably simpler. The fight scenes are fun but finally enter a territory where they are going to be compared to the work of David Aja. That’s not a battle many are going to walk away from without a limp and a lesson learned. Alves might make Iron Fist’s head too often feel like an aerodynamic test vehicle, but his character work with Alvarez has also helped that character greatly.
“Power Man and Iron Fist” was a comic from the past that didn’t exactly define a generation but it did entertain us. This new iteration is pretty much more of the same. There’s no elevation but there’s plenty of quality to make you smile and enjoy this for exactly what it is. It’s not the sort of comic to be remembered, but you kind of hope it’s someone’s first. Except for that final panel; who thought it would be a good idea to swipe the ending of Batman Forever?