Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Books to Watch: Immortal Iron Fist #8 (2007)

Immortal Iron Fist #8 (2007)

Soon Marvel Studios will be two seasons deep into their successful and critically acclaimed collaboration with Netflix.  This year will bring the second seasons of Daredevil (March 18th) (trailer breakdown here) and Jessica Jones (November); by the end of the year we should also see the first episodes of Luke Cage.  The popularity of these shows has breathed new life into key issues related to their starring characters, including Daredevil #1, #168, Amazing Spider-Man #50, #129, Alias #1, Hero For Hire #1 and many others.  Next to film will be Iron Fist, and last we heard the main character is cast but being kept secret.  Marvel Premiere #15 is the obvious key to look at, but the subject of this post is a cheap modern book that may be flying under the radar of many collectors.

The 2007 Immortal Iron Fist series adds a lot to the Iron Fist mythology and is full of first appearances.  Issue #8, part one of a seven-part arc, is the most important in my opinion as it introduces five new characters (the "Immortal Weapons") and the Seven Capital Cites of Heaven, both which are likely to feature in the Netflix series, in a second season after the legend and supporting characters are established, if not in season one itselfDisney's CEO recently said there is no end in sight for films featuring Marvel superheroes.  With storylines and contracts coming to an end in Phase 4, they will likely turn to a fresh batch of characters to keep the film universe going.   I believe the Netflix shows are serving to popularize characters that will move to the film universe post-Phase 4, and the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven would make an outstanding premise for a standalone Iron Fist film.

The Immortal Weapons are the champions of the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven.  They feature prominently in the remainder of the 27-issue run in addition to their own follow-up mini-series.  The characters which first appear in this book are:

Fat Cobra
Bride of Nine Spiders
Dog Brother #1
Tiger's Beautiful Daughter
Prince of Orphans

These characters are examples of what I call "retroactive legacies" - brand new characters inserted retroactively into comics' long and deep continuity (Peggy Carter being one of the most well-known).  Fat Cobra, for instance, is 111 years old, was inserted into the pre-war history of Ulyssess Bloodstone, the WWII adventures of Union Jack and the Kid Commandos, once competed against Hercules and Volstagg in an eating contest, is said to have taught Kung Fu to Elvis Presley, travelled to many of Marvel's mythical lands including Monster Island, the Savage Land, Wakanda and Atlantis, and fathered hundreds of children.

Matt Fraction seems particularly interested in fleshing out Marvel's early 20th century history and I'll talk more about other characters he has created in future posts. (It's too bad his days as one of Marvel's most talented creators seems to be over.)

As is the case when many characters are introduced in a single comic, one or more may be breakout hits (like Amadeus Cho in 2004's Amazing Fantasy #15) while others tend to vanish into obscurity.  With five new characters however the odds of this comic breaking out are good.

This was a sought-after book at the time of publication due to the popularity of Fraction's run, but I don't think it broke the $5 mark.  I see a copy on eBay for $4.52 with free shipping (which makes it practically free).  There is only a single graded copy in CGC's census (although other grading companies may have seen copies).  I would expect to see more than this if people were aware of its significance.

The book's cover imagery doesn't hurt since there are people who collect skull covers

Here is the Immortal Weapons interior and cover debut.

Intro of Immortal Weapons in Immortal Iron Fist #8

Immortal Weapons on the cover of Immortal Iron Fist #22

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