I missed the debut of the new Power Man in Marvel's recent Shadowland event, but he must have gone down well with readers, as here he is co-starring in a five-issue limited series. Belying the 'all-new, all-different' strapline tagged to the classic logo, Iron Fist remains Iron Fist. That's fine by me as I've always loved Danny Rand, who shared the Power Man and Iron Fist series with Luke Cage for 75 issues before being inconveniently killed.
Part of my love for the character stems from his look: the striking lime and yellow suit he wore, with slashed shirt showing that killer dragon tattoo, plus high collar and yellow slippers. Of late he's donned a grey and yellow version that hides his chest, eschews the characterful collar and swaps the slippers for boots. He looks like he's sponsored by Poundstretcher.
|From this ...|
|... to this. Pitiful!|
But look at the cover corner box, and the intro page ... green. Please Lord, let Marvel be bringing the classic suit back. Just because an Avengers storyline changes Danny's look doesn't mean he has to stick with it in his own book.
Speaking of which, this is rather good. The aforementioned intro page tells me that Power Man is Victor Alvarez, 'a tough, smart aleck city kid' who can absorb chi - life force - and channel it as super-strength. My eyes tell me that Victor also has a rubbish costume, a very generic Noughties look involving padded panels, goggles and knee pads. Oh, and a chain-link belt as silly as anything Luke Cage ever wore - more tribute act than class act. It's a shame Janet Van Dyne is still filed under 'Dead' ... if ever there was an emergency requiring the talents of the Avengers' resident fashionista, this is is.
Never mind, Fred Van Lente's story is a spicy read, punchily drawn by Wellinton Alves and skilfully inked by Nelson Pereira. Danny has taken Victor on as his apprentice, to teach him how to use his powers. Victor, being a teenager, thinks he knows best. The pair's friendly clashes as they protect a street parade, then investigate a mystery involving an old friend of Danny's, are a joy. There are also some intriguing new villains, the Venice menace of Commedia Dell'Morte, the hilariously named Don of the Dead (a killer who's taken dialect lessons from Speedy Gonzales) and the mysterious Noir.
Joy Meachum is the Most Valuable Supporting Character, doing double duty as Danny's executive assistant and girlfriend. She's also sharp as a whip. I've not seen her since the Seventies, she's a lot more fun these days. Victor's dialogue is also excellent for the most part, though his street talk while fighting grates somewhat. I suppose it's Ch-ch-ch-chi talkin' ...
The Luke and Danny, Street vs Shangri-La dynamic was terrific in its day, but Danny's been in New York long enough to have gained street smarts. So instead we're offered the certainty of the young versus the wisdom that comes with experience. And it works - the new Power Man and Iron Fist have chemistry.
If only they also had decent tailors.