I love the superheroes from the streets, or “street-level” as it’s sometimes called. There are a lot of characters who fall into this category, like Batman, Daredevil, and even Spider-Man, but one of my favorites was the original Power Man and Iron Fist series. They were an odd couple from the start, two Marvel characters who didn’t have enough juice to command solo titles, even though both had started in their own series before being put together.
Picking up after Power Man #49, when it changed to Power Man and Iron Fist with issue #50. The new series of the dynamic duo ran for another 76 issues, and was a great run. It culminated with the tragic death of Iron Fist in issue #125. Of course, like so many deaths in comics, the death of Danny Rand didn’t stick, but the series was over.
Since then, Marvel has brought them back under the banner of, Heroes for Hire, a couple of times, though none of those incarnations lasted very long. In my opinion, the biggest reason they didn’t last was because they deviated from the formula that made the original team up work. Power Man and Iron Fist are at their best when they are just by themselves, an odd couple. When you start adding in other characters, it muddies the water, and makes it a poor mans Defenders, which is a poor mans Avengers.
So when it came to the new Power Man and Iron Fist series, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be more of the unsuccessful conglomeration of heroes? Probably not, I hoped, since they went with Power Man and Iron Fist as the title as opposed to Heroes for Hire. Well, I’m happy to report, they did not disappoint.
The book, written by David Walker, does a great job of capturing the essence of the original series. This reboot is not trying to pick up where the old one left off, instead taking the angle of two old pals rediscovering their friendship. Walker does a great job of mixing in the old with the new. There is more humor infused into the storytelling than in the original series, but it works, especially when playing off of the dynamics of the original cast. One of my favorite things about the book so far is all the short cameos from their old rouges gallery.
I wasn’t sure if I would like Sanford Greene’s art on the book either. Not that there is anything wrong with his style, it’s spectacular, but I thought the series would be more serious than it is. That’s not a knock against the comedic aspect of the book, because frankly it’s quite refreshing (and works better than I thought it would). Needless to say, by the close of issue one I was sold on Sanford. He does the one thing that sets great comic artists apart from the average ones, he gives us a believable world in which the heroes move through.
What makes this book work is the fact that Walker takes into account the history of the two characters, and is using it, instead of starting from scratch, like so many other reboots do. This lets an old fart like myself, that enjoyed the original series so much, like the new series all the more.
Marvel has a lot of hits and misses these days. The former seems to come when they are trying to just give us a great story, instead of set things up for movies, or clone what is deemed as successful because of the movies. I am looking forward to a lot more of this book.