Jason of Mayday Mondays and CSC fame presents Spidey’s first encounter with Iron Fist!
I promise that title will make sense by the end of this review. Welcome back Cloneheads, its that time of year again. Yes, Netflix is airing a new Marvel Series: Iron Fist. And we decided to go for the shameless cash grab and review the first time Iron Fist meets Spider-Man!
*Editor’s note, Jason you aren’t getting paid for this
*Jason’s note, Why not?
*Editor’s note, finish the review or it gets the hose again
Anyway, this story is called “For a Few Fists More.” Writing is Gerry Conway and art is Jim Mooney. Let’s get to it.
This issue starts with Iron Fist kicking a man through the window of a diner where Peter Parker is having breakfast. Right away this issue is unique in its narration. Spider-Man, and the comics he appears in, is usually written in the third person with Peter sometimes adding his thoughts to it. This issue is mostly written in first person, almost in a noir-like style and it’s kind of jarring.
The man Iron Fist has kicked through the window pulls out a knife and tries to continue the fight; he doesn’t succeed. Peter nonchalantly refers to Iron Fist as a David Caradine look-a-like. Quick pop culture side note, David Caradine was the star of a Kung-Fu show in the 70s called…Kung Fu. He was part of the martial arts frenzy at the time that gave rise to Iron Fist’s creation. Younger readers might know him as Bill from Kill Bill.
Iron Fist defeats his opponent and leaves the scene. Peter decides to follow him as Spider-Man, hoping he can take some pictures and make some money. Unbeknownst to either of them, they are both being observed by a man in a very 70s looking costume who speaks backwards. He fires some kind of beam weapon that snaps the webline Spidey is swinging on. Spider-Man falls directly onto Iron Fist. Spidey tries to explain that it’s a misunderstanding, but Iron Fist refuses to listen and starts to fight.
So like every superhero team up, they continue to fight until they realize someone else is manipulating them. In this case it’s the backwards guy we saw earlier. Spider-Man webs up Iron Fist who finally calms down when Spidey doesn’t attack back. He uses his fist technique to break free, before they have a talk. Spidey takes note that his webs should have been able to withstand that.
During their chat they get attacked by the backwards guy. Iron Fist gets knocked out and Spidey gets captured when his webs get turned to dust (DUN DUN DUN!) Spidey gets taken back to this guy’s secret lab where he is hooked up to a machine that will steal his life energy. Why does he have a secret lab you ask? Because Dan Slott has to steal his plots from somewhere and Doctor Who is off-season. We learn that this man is named Drom, the Backwards Man! He was apparently born an old man and is aging backwards through time. Like Benjamin Button or that one episode of Star Trek Voyager no one but me is going to have seen. And because he’s aging backwards, he has to steal life energy from others to live!
As he’s about to drain Spider-Man, Iron Fist breaks in and frees him. It turns out he was simply faking being knocked out so he could follow Drom to his lair. They start to fight, but being a 1970s villain, Drom has to monologue how if either of them touch him he’ll drain their energy. Thinking fast, Spidey and Iron Fist pick up a giant mirror and smash it over Drom.
Remember when we established that Drom speaks backwards? Well apparently this mirror is the only thing allowing him to keep a grip on reality, and being hit with it ages him all the way to infancy before he disappears. This man is dead. In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade one of the villains drinks out of the wrong cup and ages super fast, dying. That’s what this is but in reverse. Lets recap. Spider-Man and Iron Fist smashed a man with a mirror, effectively killing him. For those of you keeping score at home, Spider-Man and Iron Fist just committed third degree murder. At minimum, it’s second degree manslaughter. I’m a certified Paralegal; I’m not joking here. That said, murder or manslaughter, its still homicide.
The issue ends with our murderous duo parting on good terms, while Iron Fist ponders if someone who ceases to exist will be remembered. Sure enough Peter goes home and starts recording these events, hence the first person narrative. But at the end he forgets why he’s recording or what happened. Or why he’s thinking about Iron Fist. Besides the fact that Danny Rand is pretty dreamy.
So that’s today’s trivia kids. In Marvel Team-Up #31, Spider-Man kills a guy and forgets about it. It won’t be the last time he does something unforgivable and forgets what he did.
This issue is…strange to say the least. The first person narration is really weird for a Spider-Man story. And while I love Gerry Conway, this issue just isn’t good. Aside from, you know, Spider-Man killing a guy, there’s too many plot holes. Why doesn’t Drom set off Peter’s Spider-sense? Why can’t he catch himself or throw another web before landing on Iron Fist. Why doesn’t Drom just take their energy right away the first time he beats them. And if Drom can drain people’s energy with his hands, why does he need to strap Spider-Man to a life-draining machine? And how is it no readers remember that SPIDER-MAN KILLED A GUY!
I’m giving this 2 out of 5 cancelled Netflix subscriptions.
Author: Alex Evangeli
I’ve loved Spider-Man, Spider-Girl and the Clone Saga since I were but a wee lad living in the United Kingdom. Glad to be here!