"Power Man and Iron Fist" #2 isn't as fast-paced as the previous issue, but it lets David Walker and Sanford Greene explore their characters and their premise. Even if the danger seems a bit vague, the dialogue is still funny and enjoyable. The issue is gorgeous and kinetic with a big fight scene in the middle, like an Oreo with face-kick filling.
Luke Cage and Danny Rand are still palling around, even though Luke refuses to recognize that the duo is a duo once again; even the villains can see it. After a decade in the Avengers spotlight, Luke Cage finds himself a man without a focus. Walker walks Cage back to his roots, and the exchanges between Cage and Rand are a hoot. This is a crew that was more ramshackle than the Avengers, a warts-and-all team up; it's a street-level relationship that behaves the way real street-level relationships work, in that they have to work their asses off to accomplish anything. There's no Quinjet, only Luke's undersized smart car. There's no supercomputer database, only hoofing it from source to source. There's no big headquarters, only the ruined Excelsior Diner booth where the two just wanted to enjoy a nice meal.
Rand and Cage are on the defensive rather than the offensive when a hit goes out on their heads for nabbing the Supersoul Stone from Tombstone under false pretenses. From the first page of last issue to the last of this one, Walker shows Luke slowly resigning himself to this dynamic (but we know he loves it). Rand is also in great form here. I like this version of the character a lot more than the moody brooder in Kaare Andrews' series. Rand is a guy that has that darkness in him, but his most entertaining moments come when glimpses of that Iron Fist happen in smaller doses. It makes those darker circumstances mean more and raise the stakes. It's also consistent with the character; so much of Danny's story is rooted in his past, from his father's death to the sins of K'un-Lun. Of course, he'd also be obsessed with looking back on what was also the best time of his life, which was certainly his most high profile role as a published character. Iron Fist is nostalgic, for better or worse, but here it's for the better. He won't take off the mask even at the diner, which is funny but also telling of how excited he is that the past has caught up to the present in such a positive way.
Greene cranks out some awesome work in this second issue. It's looser than the first, and he takes a few more liberties as he settles into the book. It makes for a distinctive visual flavor that I am so happy is permeating mainstream comics. The tone of this book needs an artist who can complement the entertaining dialogue Walker delivers; a house-style artist would likely bring the book down a notch. The artist's cartooning feels fresh while still delivering some big action. As the fists fly, the characters look powerful and full of life. Lee Loughridge aids and abets Greene with a palette that seems influenced by hard luck hero stories of the '70s: lots of warm Earthy tones for the heroes and cooler, darker tones for the villains. You can almost hear a saxophone playing off in the distance when a scene transitions.
Because it doesn't have to accomplish as much right out of the gate, this issue is slower than the first, but that allows Walker to give readers a chance to get a feel for the two main characters when they are between missions. Like the second episode of a new television series, it helps remind readers why they picked up the first issue and settles the tone of the series. The Supersoul Stone still feels like a MacGuffin, even though it reveals its dangerous nature at the end of this issue; I'm still nebulous on why it's bad, other than characters saying it is. However, with the rest of the story being this fun and entertaining, I don't mind the journey.