Monday, June 29, 2015


Your name is Iron Fist, and for the first time in many weeks, the night air is quiet and filled with peace. No vendettas haunt your dreams, no old wrongs cry out for vengeance

No killer cults -- and no ninjas -- seek your life

Tonight, there is only you. And the girl, Colleen Wing, one of the few… friends you have in this strange, pulsing vibrant, frantic… alien city -- New York. A city you used to call home.

And now must call “home” again.

If you live that long.

Author: Chris Claremont | Artist: Pat Broderick | Inker: Bob McLeod
Letterer: Karen Mantlo | Colorist: Michele Wolfman | Editor: Len Wein

The Plot: As Danny Rand and Colleen Wing stroll through Riverside Park, a sniper opens fire, killing all the civilians nearby except a small boy. Danny rescues the child then runs across the street after the sniper. Colleen follows and both come face-to-face with a metal-skinned mercenary named Warhawk. Warhawk defeats Danny and kidnaps Colleen.

Danny awakens and, after a brief flashback to K’un L’un, changes to Iron Fist and tracks Warhawk t a waterfront warehouse. Warhawk, suffering from PTSD, believes Colleen is his Vietnamese wife, and fights Iron Fist to defend her. Iron Fist is victorious in the end, knocking Warhawk into the river. But when Iron Fist attempts to rescue the drowning vet, Warhawk chooses death over capture and allows himself to be washed away.

Continuity Notes: We're told via footnote that Iron Fist was unable to kill Harold Meachum in issue 18, and that he turned down immortality in K’un L’un in #16.

Friday, June 26, 2015


Story: Ken Siu-Chong | Artwork: Alvin Lee | Inks: Crystal Reid
Colors: Espen Grundetjern | Lettering: Simon Yeung
Guest Artists: Arnold Tsang, Skottie Young, Chris Stevens, Kevin Yan, Mark Lee, Sven
Project Manager: Jim Zubkavich | Managing Editor: Marshall Dillon | UDON Chief: Erik Ko

After a break of a year or so, UDON's ongoing STREET FIGHTER comics returned with a six-issue STREET FIGHTER II series. Though named for the classic video game, STREET FIGHTER II does not, in fact, feature the tournament which comprised that game's storyline. Instead, the series is more of a direct continuation of the previous volume, laying additional groundwork toward the tournament. If anything, both this series and the last seem to be more like the STREET FIGHTER ALPHA videogames, which served as prequels to the original installments.

Right off the bat we get an issue 0 which provides possibly the best look inside Ryu's head that we've seen thus far. Through first person narration, he clarifies the purpose of his trek around the world. He's seeking strong fighters to test his abilities, but more than that, he's looking to master the darkness within him -- the "Dark Hadou" -- so that when he fights Akuma he will be able to keep that darkness in check and win their battle on his own terms. Given that, until this point, Ryu's motivations (other than simply avenging his master Gouken) were a bit unclear, this explanation makes a lot of sense and is greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


You are Iron Fist -- and, far beneath the streets of New York, you face the ultimate test of your martial arts prowess.

If you fail, you must then accept the fact that for you, at least…

Writer: Tony Isabella | Artist: Arvell Jones | Inker: A. Bradford
Letterer: Karen Mantlo | Colorist: George Roussos | Editor: Len Wein

The Plot: Iron Fist and the ninja duel, but their fight is interrupted first by the Cultists of Kara-Kai, then by the NYPD. In the chaos, Shaya and Ushus escape. The ninja then confesses to Harold Meachum’s murder and grabs Iron Fist, teleporting them both to another dimension, where the ninja seemingly kills Iron Fist.

His foe vanquished, the ninja soliloquizes his origin: He was once a samurai in feudal Japan who was drummed out of the service. Adopted by the devious Master Khan, the ninja discovered the Book of Many Things, later to be known as the Sacred Volume of Kali. The ninja used the book to invade K’un L’un for Master Khan, but was defeated by Lei Kung the Thunderer. Yu-Ti then mystically imprisoned the ninja in the book.

The book was eventually stolen from K’un L’un and the ninja used it to possess its holder. It spent time with the Cult of Kara-Kai, but was lost and later found by Professor Wing. The ninja, sensing Wing could free him from the book, safeguarded his new keeper until Iron Fist came into his life, ultimately leading to the book’s destruction and the ninja’s freedom.

His monologue over, the ninja is startled by the reappearance of Iron Fist. The Living Weapon fights and defeats the ninja, his enemy’s demise returning him to the real world. There, Colleen and Professor Wing tell Iron Fist he's been cleared for Harold Meachum’s murder.

Monday, June 22, 2015


Writer: Tony Isabella | Artist: Arvell Jones | Inker: Vince Colletta
Colorist: Stan Goldberg | Letterer: Joe Rosen | Editor: Len Wein

You are Iron Fist -- and in the wake of your passing you have left Batroc the Leaper’s once-proud brigade battered, broken and defeated in the halls of the Meachum Towers.

Though you are now far from those halls, your deeds have precipitated a somewhat loud argument between the master of savate and those who hired him to destroy you.

The Plot: Batroc argues with Ward and Joy Meachum over payment for his attack on Iron Fist, then departs Meachum Towers in a huff.

Meanwhile, Iron Fist returns to Professor Wing’s office to find the place ransacked and the professor and Colleen missing. While there, Iron Fist is attacked by a woman named Misty Knight. Iron Fist defeats her and follows a vision of the ninja underground to a hidden temple of Kali, the Hindi goddess of death.

In the shrine, the leaders of the Cult of Kara-Kai -- two women named Shaya and Ushas, together known as the Living Goddesses -- have the Wings captive. They order their cultists to kill Iron Fist. In the ensuing chaos, the Wings are freed and Professor Wing transforms into the ninja. The ninja’s sacred book is destroyed, which separates the ninja from Professor Wing. Thus freed, the ninja prepares to kill Iron Fist.

Continuity Notes: Ward Meachum’s inner monologue reveals that he knows Iron Fist didn't kill his brother, but he's playing along with Joy’s mistaken belief that was the case in order to use her for his own purpose.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


This was supposed to go up last Sunday, but the post office lost my package! It eventually arrived, though, containing one book: the second volume of the STAR WARS: THE ORIGINAL MARVEL YEARS OMNIBUS series. I went in-depth on volume 1 a while back, and pretty much everything I said there applies here as well: Great looking book, nice art, etc., etc. Fewer bonus pages this time, but overall it's a nicely presented package.

Since I've got nothing else to talk about this month, I'll blab a bit more about this book: sadly, it appears Archie Goodwin's run concluded around the time of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, with David Michelinie taking over for a lengthy scripting run, followed by Mary Jo Duffy, who would guide the book to its end. And the beautifully cartoony Carmine Infantino artwork comes to an end partway through these pages as well, which is unfortunate. Infantino's work in the first volume is a huge high point for me. But at least here he's followed by a good-sized run from Walter Simonson (!) and then Ron Frenz, all with Tom Palmer providing inks and finishes. The artwork here may not have the character of Infantino's earlier material, but it still looks nice.

For those who missed it previously, volume 1 can be found on Amazon right now, and volume 3 is available for pre-order with a September release date. All issues of the series can be found on Marvel Unlimited as well, and -- for those who somehow come here without visiting the delightful Gentlemen of Leisure blog, be aware that over there, Austin "Teebore" Gorton is covering the original Marvel series on a weekly basis.

And that's it for June. Looks like I'm expecting a larger delivery next month, so watch for that soon.

Friday, June 19, 2015


Writer: Ken Siu-Chong | Art & Color: UDON Studios*
Assistant Script Editor: Marina Siu-Chong | Project Manager: Jim Zubkavich
Managing Editor: Marshall Dillon | UDON Chief: Erik Ko

STREET FIGHTER's second story arc delves a little deeper into the series' mythology and characterizations, presenting what I would consider to be a much more enjoyable whole than the previous set of issues. Interestingly, the main thrust of this arc focuses on the two distaff members of the STREET FIGHTER II cast, Chun-Li and Cammy, to nice effect. Where previously Chun-Li's role in the story was as a liaison and partner to Guile, here she strikes out on her own, investigating Shadaloo activity in Hong Kong. She works alongside action movie star Fei Long and her former teacher, an assassin named Gen who was close with her father, to thwart a Shadaloo plot to control the Triad gangs. This puts her onto a new lead which sends her to Brazil to investigate Shadaloo activity there.

But Chun-Li isn't the only fighter bound for South America. Cammy, the girl known previously as Shadaloo's Killer Bee, has joined a British special forces organization called Delta Red. Delta Red also crosses paths with Shadaloo and captures one of their "doll" agents, the same female warriors previously led by Killer Bee. The amnesiac Cammy unexpectedly gains the girl's trust and learns that Shadaloo is developing a new weapon in Brazil. In short order, Delta Red arrives in South America to pool their resources with Interpol. There they encounter Chun-Li, who recognizes Cammy as her father's assassin and the two get into a fight.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Introducing: Writer: Tony Isabella | Artist: Arvell Jones | Inker: Dan Green
Colorist: John Drake | Letterer: Ray Holloway |Editor: Roy Thomas

You are Iron Fist -- and this is the second time in as many days that you have faced the killers of the Cult of Kara-Kai!

Their methods have grown less subtle. But a spinning whip kick deprives your attackers of both breath and ceremonial dagger.

And while you prepare to meet his fellows, you momentarily wonder what kind of fanatics would go to these lengths -- risk so much bloodshed -- for a book.

The Plot: Iron Fist fights off agents of the Cult of Kara-Kai before they can kill Professor Wing. When the fight concludes, Iron Fist leaves for Meachum Tower to make peace with Joy Meachum. But she wants nothing to do with his overture and calls her Uncle Ward into the room. Ward summons Batroc the Leaper, who attacks Iron Fist and finds their skills matched. To gain the upper hand, Batroc summons his Brigade, a couple dozen fighters, into the room.

The ninja appears to aid Iron Fist against the brigade. Together they win, and immediatley afterward Iron Fist confronts the ninja about his murder of Harold Meachum. The ninja uses a mystical cloud to teleport Iron Fist and himself out of the Meachum building, then teleports away. He reappears elsewhere before Professor Wing’s ancient book, and then metamorphoses into Wing himself.

Continuity Notes: A week has passed since last issue and Iron Fist has accepted a Professor Wing’s offer to become his research assistant and bodyguard. It's noted that the Kara-Kai cultists have attacked Wing forty-five times in the nine years since he unearthed the book which holds the secret of K’un L’un’s destruction. We also learn that Wing has kept all these assassination attempts secret from his daughter, Colleen.

Monday, June 15, 2015


Writer: Doug Moench | Artist: Larry Hama | Inker: Dick Giordano
Colorist: Jan Brunner | Letterer: Ray Holloway | Editor: Roy Thomas

Vengeance was yours, Iron Fist -- as certain as the power you wield and yet you have refused it!

But Harold Meachum is dead, slain by one whose motive was invisible -- unlike your former glaring lust for vengeance!

The Plot: Iron Fist leaves the Meachum Building to be greeted outside by a woman named Colleen Wing. She invites him to join her for a cab ride to Columbia University to meet her father. Meanwhile, Harold Meachum’s daughter, Joy, calls her Uncle Ward to enlist his aid in gaining vengeance on Iron Fist.

Outside Columbia, two assassins attempt to kill Iron Fist and Colleen, but Iron Fist sends them packing before Colleen even notices their presence. Within the school, Iron Fist meets Colleen’s father, the university’s Professor of Oriental Studies. Professor Wing explains that he has studied K’un L’un and knows of Iron Fist’s past. He urges Iron Fist to make peace with the Meachums. Iron Fist calls Joy, who asks to meet him at a Times Square arcade.

But Joy has her uncle send assassins to greet Iron Fist instead. As he fights off the first wave, a second group waits in the shadows, but they're defeated by the mystery ninja. Once all the killers are down, the ninja departs, but not before handing Iron Fist a newspaper which declares him to be a suspect in the slaying of Harold Meachum.

Friday, June 12, 2015


Writer: Ken Siu-Chong | Art & Color: UDON Studios*
Assistant Script Editor: Marina Siu-Chong | Project Manager: Jim Zubkavich
Managing Editor: Marshall Dillon | UDON Chief: Erik Ko

UDON's inaugural STREET FIGHTER story arc sees young martial artist Ryu returning to the Japanese dojo where he lives with his master Gouken, only to find Gouken murdered. Ryu travels to the United States to enlist the aid of Gouken's other pupil, Ken Masters, to find their master's killer. Meanwhile, U.S. Special Forces officer Guile is investigating the disappearance of his old partner, Charlie Nash, who vanished while on the trail of a sinister organization called Shadaloo. Guile teams up with Charlie's Interpol contact, Chun-Li, to look into Shadaloo's apparent interest in Ryu.

From that starting point the two duos travel independently to Japan and eventually cross paths. Along the way, Shadaloo's top assassin, Vega, duels with Ken while Guile and Chun-Li find Charlie, now brainwashed to serve Shadaloo commander M. Bison. When Bison himself appears, Charlie regains his senses and sacrifices himself to apparently kill the despot. Elsewhere, Bison's agent codenamed "Killer Bee" is spirited away by a mysterious gypsy named Rose and given a new life, free of her memories of Shadaloo.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Scripter: Doug Moench | Penciller: Larry Hama | Inker: Dick Giordano
Colorist: Petra Goldberg | Letterer: Artie Simek | Editor & Series Originator: Roy Thomas

You stand poised in shock, instinctively assuming the defensive cat stance, and you listen as your bizarre opponent speaks to you…

And you watch in awe as his weapon pulses with an aura of coruscating force.

The Plot: Iron Fist duels Triple-Iron and defeats him thanks to a clue provided by the mystery ninja. He makes his way at last into Harold Meachum’s office, to find the older man crippled, missing both his legs. Meachum explains that after knocking Wendell Rand off the cliff, he had wandered the Himalayas aimlessly until he was found by citizens of Katmandu. They nursed Meachum back to health, but his legs were lost to frostbite.

While he recovered, Meachum overheard a visiting monk describe his brief time in K’un L’un on the day it appeared. Thanks to the monk, Meachum learned that young Daniel Rand had made it to K’un L’un, where he was being trained in the martial arts and was expected to someday take up the mantle of Iron Fist. Now paranoid for his life, Meachum returned to the U.S. and set his deathtraps, then waited a decade for Iron Fist to come for him.

With Meachum’s story concluded, Iron Fist departs in pity, unable to follow through with his plan for revenge. Meachum tries to shoot Iron Fist in the back, but the ninja appears to spoil his aim, then kills him and escapes. As Iron Fist stands over Meachum’s corpse, his daughter enters the room and immediately pegs Iron Fist as her father’s killer.

Monday, June 8, 2015


Writer: Doug Moench | Artist: Larry Hama | Inker: Dick Giordano
Letterer: Artie Simek | Colorist: Petra Goldberg | Editor: Roy Thomas

You stand before the towering skyscraper, dwarfed by it in size… but not spirit. You have battled -- and defeated -- time, distance, assassins, the berserker called Scythe

…And now you are ready to confront the man named Harold Meachum, the man who waits within the gleaming steel citadel before you, the man who murdered your father

…The man who caused you to become Iron Fist --

--And the man whose projected death is the sole reason for your existence as Iron Fist.

The Plot: Iron Fist arrives at Meachum Industries and makes his way upstairs, past multiple deathtraps, armed gunmen, more deathtraps, a wolf, another deathtrap, a katana-wielding janitor, and another deathtrap. He enters Harold Meachum’s office to find a costumed assassin awaiting him.

Sunday, June 7, 2015


Last summer I decided to fill my time with what I called "...the comic book equivalent of a big, dumb summer popcorn blockbuster" in the form of DANGER GIRL. This year I'm doing much the same, taking a look at the STREET FIGHTER comics from UDON Studios.

UDON picked up the license to produce American comic books based on the STREET FIGHTER video game franchise (and a few other Capcom properties) way back in 2003. I didn't bother with the ongoing series at the time, but when it was released in a very large trade paperback called STREET FIGHTER: THE ULTIMATE EDITION, I picked it up. I had been a fan of the video games in the nineties and was somewhat familiar with the characters' backstories and world thanks to various adaptations into other media over the years (most notably the animated film which, it seemed, literally everyone on Earth had somehow seen when I was in high school). It was safe to say I was a fan of STREET FIGHTER, but more of the characters than of the video games, which I was never particularly adept at playing.

I read the ULTIMATE EDITION in 2006 and decided that, as far as I was concerned, this was the only definitive STREET FIGHTER continuity I needed to worry about. UDON borrowed elements from the games and various other media interpretations to create a unified storyline. It was a bit rough in places, but it was usually beautifully drawn and colored, and almost always entertaining.

Friday, June 5, 2015

BLACK CAT (2010)

Writer: Jen Van Meter | Artists: Javier Pulido & Javier Rodriguez
Color Art: Matt Hollingsworth w/Javier Rodriguez | Letters: VC's Joe Carmagna
Assistant Editor: Tom Brennan | Editor: Stephen Wacker | Executive Editor: Tom Brevoort
Editor-in-Chief: Joe Quesada | Publisher: Dan Buckley | Executive Producer: Alan Fine
Covers by Amanda Conner & Christina Strain

Also known as AMAZING SPIDER-MAN PRESENTS: BLACK CAT, this limited series was published during the "Brand New Day" era of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, as a sort of "side story" taking place during the events of the storyline called "The Gauntlet", in which Kraven the Hunter's family banded together to set challenge after challenge against Spider-Man in order to soften him up for their own final attack.

The story follows Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat, as Vasili Sidarov, a servant of the Kravinov family, kidnaps Felicia's mother and uses her to blackmail the Cat into stealing several items for him, which once belonged to the Kravinovs. But the Cat works with her gear suppliers, sisters named Kyoto and Tami, and her tech guru Poet, to turn the tables on Vasili, rescue her mother, and escape from the Kravinovs.

The artwork on this series is a bit of a let-down for me, personally. Don't mistake my opinion, however -- I think Javiers Pulido and Rodriguez are both excellent cartoonists. Their styles would fit an ongoing Spider-Man series wonderfully, especially alongside other similarly styled artists such as Marcos Martin, Paolo Rivera, and Chris Samnee. They draw a terrific web-slinger, and the general action and storytelling in this series are great. I can't state that enough before moving on: I like these artists quite a bit.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Writer: Len Wein | Inker: Dick Giordano
Colorist: Glynis Wein | Letterer: L.P. Gregory | Co-Plotter/Editor: Roy Thomas
And introducing the pulse-pounding penciling of Larry Hama!

You are Iron Fist -- and the odors that assault your tender nostrils this night fill you with a growing feeling of revulsion.

You have heard many stories of this strange place called New York -- this city that is hardly more than a memory to you --

-- And, unfortunately, it seems that all the tales are true.

The Plot: In a New York alleyway, Iron Fist is assaulted by a group of thugs out to claim a $10,000 reward on his head. As he fights them, Iron Fist remembers his decade in K’un L’un, where he was trained in the martial arts by Lei Kung the Thunderer. In the present, he defeats the thugs and sends them packing.

Iron Fist’s flashback continues as he recalls challenging a dragon called Shou-Lao the Undying. Upon defeating the creature, Danny Rand was branded with the emblem of a dragon on his chest and then, within Shou-Lao’s cavern, he sank his hands into a smoldering brazier and gained the power of the Iron Fist.

In the present, Iron Fist is attacked by a mercenary named Scythe. During their duel he flashes back to a week ago, after completing his trials. Yu-Ti offered him the fruit of the Tree of Immortality and the chance to live forever in K’un L’un, but Danny chose instead to leave the hidden city -- thus preventing him from ever returning -- in order to return to civilization for vengeance on his father’s killer, Harold Meachum.

In the present, Iron Fist defeats Scythe and learns that the bounty was placed upon him by Meachum himself. Iron Fist heads for Meachum’s skyscraper headquarters for revenge.

Monday, June 1, 2015


Planned, Plotted, and Polished by--
Roy Thomas, Author/Editor & Gil Kane, Artist
Inker: Dick Giordano | Colorist: Glynis Wein | Letterer: L.P. Gregory

You are Iron Fist. You stand tensely -- too tensely -- aware of their eyes on you: Yu-Ti, the Hooded One, and his four Dragon-Kings

And, facing you, four others edge closer, searching for an opening -- a moment of weakness -- the careless flickering of an eyelid.

For, this is your day of destiny, Iron Fist. Today you will eat of the fruit of the tree of immortality -- or else drink deep of the elixir of death--!

The Plot: Observed by Yu-Ti, the August Personage of Jade, Iron Fist spars with four men and defeats them all, completing the Challenge of Many. He then flashes back to a day ten years earlier, when he -- young Danny Rand – along with his parents and his father’s business partner, Harold Meachum, searched the Himalayas for the mystical city of K’un L’un. But their quest was cut short when Meachum killed Danny’s father, sending him plummeting into a crevasse. Danny and his mother fled.

Back in the present day, Iron Fist next faces the Challenge of the One, battling an unstoppable masked fighter called Shu-Hu. When Shu-Hu gets him on the ropes, Iron Fist flashes back again and recalls that his mother was mauled to death by wolves just as they discovered K’un L’un. The city’s defenders saved Danny from the wolves and took him in.

The memories spur Iron Fist to victory and he defeats Shu-Hu, which turns out to be a robot. Yu-Ti congratulates Iron Fist on his victory and offers him the choice between immortality or death.