Characters Appearing: Chiantang, Colleen Wing, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Master Khan, Maxine Walters, Misty Knight
Power Man & Iron Fist #122
Issue(s): Power Man & Iron Fist #122
Priest and Bright were teasing the idea that Tyrone King was a vampire. Besides the cape and the "What's eating Misty...?" title, there's the fact that King casts no shadow (a fun bit of trivia: Jerry Acerno wasn't in on the vampire thing and he kept adding the shadows back in, requiring them to be erased again).
The vampire thing was meant to be a red herring but it would have been interesting to see where Priest was going with it. Maybe something could have been done to clear up the mystery of Janos Trevorik from Power Man & Iron Fist #76 (M.D. Bright's first issue on pencils). Priest says he no longer remembers what he intended to do with Tyrone, but John Byrne, later acting on an idea from Roger Stern, will turn him into Master Khan, which definitely wasn't Priest or Bright's original intention.
Priest had some unpleasant things to say in general about inker Jerry Acerno on his website a few years back:
In #122's "What's Eating Misty...?" Doc revisualized Misty Knight, doing a terrific likeness of one of Shooter's secretaries, but the work was continually butchered by an over-eager and arrogant inker who loathed creative direction, whined incessantly about not being offered other work, and continually experimented on Doc's gorgeous work. In fact, I think the biggest weight on the run was the inker. Not his work so much as his attitude and his seeming disregard for Doc's pencils, which were routinely obliterated by his heavy-handed experimentation.
I've never seen the raw pencils, but i've been liking the Bright/Acerno combination on this series and i'm surprised to learn that Priest felt otherwise.
Also, is it a little creepy that Bright was drawing Shooter's secretary in a nightgown?
Luke Cage, claiming that something is wrong with Misty because she's left Danny for Tyrone, tries to chew him out, but Tyrone coolly ignores him.
Cage refers to his act as his "'loud angry Negro' bit".
From that same page on Priest's website:
Issue #122 is also ground-breaking in that, here Cage admits his "loud angry Negro" routine is a put-on something many whites do not realize. Many whites are shocked to see Queen Latifa or Usher or the late Tupac Shakur in film or on television shows speaking in complete sentences with a calm, even voice. It seems many whites don't realize the gregarious street voice is something we can turn on and off.
Priest referring to his own work as ground-breaking is a little off-putting, and i have a hard time believing that (unnamed) Marvel staffers would accuse this guy, who purportedly hung a Malcom X poster in his Marvel office, of not being black enough and i wish we could get more context around that. But the intent here, to retroactively say that when Cage was at his most explosive it was actually something of an act, is an interesting and positive development. I actually think, especially when compared to other depictions of black characters in 1970s comics, that Luke Cage came off fairly well. But i'm not black and i can't say how it might have felt to have been growing up reading those books in realtime, as Priest was. And this does give us an out for those moments where Cage fell too much into a stereotypically angry black guy mode.
In any event, this is a tiny thought bubble that is pretty unobtrusive in the larger scale of the comic and one could bypass it entirely without affecting the story, so let me move on.
Misty has been with Tyrone but hasn't yet told Danny about it (although both Luke and Colleen Wing are aware). Meanwhile, as we saw last issue, Danny has received his boss Maxine Walters as an overnight guest. Danny himself has changed as a result of the radiation poisoning and events in K'un-Lun a couple issues back, so it's not clear how receptive he was to Maxine's advances. On the one hand he's wearing a different set of clothes, but it also seems like he's just been sitting on the couch the whole time...
...and Maxine doesn't seem to have dug into her bag of sexy outfits that she brought (as seen last issue) until right before Misty shows up to confess.
That awkwardness is interrupted by Luke Cage getting thrown through a wall by Chiantang, the K'un-Lunian dragon man. Chiantang uses a gas to knock out Danny and carries him and Luke away, leaving Misty behind. Misty calls in Colleen and Tyrone (who was in the middle of upsetting his boss, named Denny just like the editor of this series).
The Daughters of the Dragon and Tyrone show up at the docks where Chiantang has taken Luke and Danny. Chiantang shows up disguised as Luke, and does an especially bad job with the dialect, but he manages to fool both Misty and Colleen.
I have no problem with Priest and Bright setting up Tyrone King as a highly competent badass, but it shouldn't be done at the expense of making longtime friends of Luke look like idiots.
Nonetheless, some fun scenes as Misty rescues the real Luke and Danny...
...Tyrone blows Chiantang away...
...and it is Colleen that ultimately slays Chiantang with her samurai sword.
The issue ends with a conflicted Misty taking a flight out of town.
Don't let my talk about the racial issues, or the back biting behind-the-scenes stuff about the inker, distract from the fact that this is a fun, well crafted comic. The fact there's what's basically a racial subtext adds to the depth if you want to delve into it (the fact that only Tyrone recognizes Luke's changed dialogue is something to consider), but let's not lose sight of the fact that this issue also has a rogue motorcycle-riding cop fighting a dragon.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Based on Maxine's visit at Danny's place, i'm placing this soon after issue #121. But it is possible that she's actually visiting on a separate day, considering the clothing change.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
The tease that Tyrone King was a vampire might have worked better if fanboys didn't already know all vampires in the Marvel Universe had been eliminated a few years before. Granted, one might wonder if this was a way to reintroduce them, but PM & IF isn't he most likely title to do that.
Posted by: Chris | October 25, 2013 11:21 PM
The other problem was that Priest apparently didn't realize that Tyrone King and Master Khan are basically synonyms until after it was already in print, and Khan was already stated to be absent from K'un-Lun, so some readers assumed Tyrone was Khan.
Posted by: Michael | October 25, 2013 11:31 PM
Khan and King work as rough synonyms, but the line I remember from the Namor issue---"Tyrone means king"--is incorrect: the name Tyrone looks a little like "tyrant" but they're unrelated, and Tyrone doesn't mean king in any sense.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 2, 2013 6:34 PM
According to this website, Tyrone means king when used as a first name but not as a last name:
Posted by: Michael | November 2, 2013 6:42 PM
Tyrone is likely of gaelic origin. Tyrone is a county in Ireland meaning "land of owen". In turn, "owen" could mean "born of the yew" or possibly "noble born". Presumably "land of the noble born" is somewhat similar to "king", but I agree it is stretching it. Most likely, someone made a mistake.
In any form, anything that managed to salvage the character of Iron Fist is welcomed. Priest was a good writer, but this last story arc is terrible probably for reasons not under his control.
Posted by: Chris | November 2, 2013 6:53 PM
OK, I found this website- it explains that the name Tyrone is of uncertain derivation:
Posted by: Michael | November 2, 2013 7:08 PM
"Priest and Bright were teasing the idea that Tyrone King was a vampire."
Or, given the cape and moustache, they were teasing that he was really Lando Calrissian.
Posted by: Erik Beck | June 6, 2015 8:59 AM
The scene with King and his superior is a play on tropes from "Batman". In the 70s/80s he often made Commission Gordon jump by turning up suddenly, and left while Gordon's back was turned. When he visited him in his office he also came and went through the window.
King's coat suggests a vampire's cloak, but also Batman's cape, and his super-competence resembles Batman's.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | June 6, 2015 1:36 PM
Christopher Priest really seemed to want some hard-ass cool black guys, like Ace and Tyrone, that were "cooler" than super-heroes. (I know Ace was from Peter David but Priest was the editor and had influence clearly). Kinda "Shaft"for the 80s (or Action Jackson, I guess)
The problem with that those of us who read superhero books dont want our heroes upstaged by cool "normals". So the characters are just annoying. Ace in particular dates horribly (was he cool even back then?).
Luckily, nobody else thought they were interesting badasses so it was a shortlived phenomenon that left with Priest.
Posted by: kveto | March 19, 2016 3:17 PM
I think Priest was just a little ahead of the curve. Characters like Cable, Bishop, Nomad, and Johnny Blaze are all non super-hero (though not always non-powered) cool tough guys that got popular in the late 80s/early 90s.
If Power Man and Iron Fist had somehow stayed alive until then I could easily see Tyrone King getting his own mini-series or spin-off.
The vampire angle aside, the trenchcoat and big gun make the character seem pretty similar to Avery Brooks' Hawk character from Spenser For Hire.
Posted by: Red Comet | March 20, 2016 1:42 AM
True. Maybe its just me. But Cable, Bishop, Nomad and Blaze are all crap characters, IMO, so I guess I'm biased against this type of "too cool for school" characters.
When writers try too hard to make you think a character is cool, my natural reaction is to feel the opposite.
Posted by: kveto | March 21, 2016 4:03 PM
@Red Comet - I am genuinely curious what Owsley / Priest originally intended Tyrone King to be. Seems extremely unlikely we will ever know, since Priest himself says he can't remember what he intended.
I don't know if Priest was "just a little ahead of the curve" though. I mean, I have serious problems with any writer who relies on upstaging long-established title heroes like Spider-Man or Luke Cage & Iron Fist in order to drive home just how awesome their brand-new creation is supposed to be. fnord rightly critiques that sort of thing in his overview of this issue.
Yes, I know, it might seem odd for me to be saying this, considering what a huge fan I am of the character Mantis, since a number of readers regard her as a glaring example of a "pet character." But I will be the first to acknowledge that it was ridiculous for Steve Englehart to depict her easily defeating both Thor and Captain America in one of her very first appearances.
Since you mentioned Nomad, I regard him as a good example of a pet character done right. Fabian Nicieza reimagined Jack Munroe as a cool, no-nonsense tough guy... and then had him get his rear end handed to him half the time. Seriously, if you read the Nomad series from the early 1990s, Jack is very often in way over his head. What makes him a cool tough guy is that whenever he gets a beating, afterwards, no matter how much pain he's in, he struggles to get back on his feet, dust himself off, and try again. That, for me, is one of the things that really makes him awesome, rather than the ability to just waltz in and effortlessly win fights.
Posted by: Ben Herman | March 21, 2016 4:04 PM
Which implausibility came first, Karate Kid in the Legion of Super-Heroes holding his own against Superboy or Mantis karate-chopping Thor and the Vision?
Posted by: Oliver_C | March 21, 2016 5:26 PM
The Karate Kid/Superboy fight happened in 1966.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 22, 2016 11:06 AM
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