Iron Fist #8-10
Issue(s): Iron Fist #8, Iron Fist #9, Iron Fist #10
The gang is lead by a fighter named Chaka (sometimes referred to on websites as Chaka Khan, although it's always just "Chaka" in the comics as far as i can see). Chaka's brother, William Hao, opposes his gang activities.
Chaka is also owed money by Ward Meachum, so he shows up to attack at the same time Danny Rand is there with Jeryn Hogarth and Misty Knight to settle the matter of collecting the Rand half of Rand-Meachum. In a desperate attempt to protect his secret identity, he lets Chaka throw him out a window (on the top of a skyscraper!) so that he can come back as Iron Fist.
Chaka defeats Iron Fist and poisons him, telling him that if he comes to China town and defeats Chaka he will give him an antidote. Danny then fights his way through a number of Golden Tigers, getting weaker with each fight. As he gets weaker, he becomes more likely to use lethal force. Meanwhile, Chaka has dressed his brother William up as himself. Correctly suspecting that Chaka was lying about the antidote, Iron Fist uses his chi to heal himself, but he then fights William and seemingly kills him. He spends some time being wanted by the police, but with the help of Misty and Colleen...
...he eventually destroys the Golden Tiger gang and defeats Chaka, at which point William reveals that he's been alive and in hiding at the recommendation of Lt. Scarfe.
Alan Cavenaugh, the ex-IRA agent from issue #5, takes a job on a ship heading to New York. Two assassins trail him but have orders to not attack until he meets up with Iron Fist.
In issue #8 we again see the mystery man with the partial dragon tattoo. He's identified as Davos.
Fun fights with nice art.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Placing this before Iron Fist's appearance in Marvel Two-In-One #25. Mary Jane and Peter Parker are dating at this point, so placing this after Amazing Spider-Man #165 works well.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Iron Fist vol. 1
Inbound References (2): showAlan Cavenaugh, Chaka, Colleen Wing, Iron Fist, Jeryn Hogarth, Joy Meachum, Mary Jane Watson, Misty Knight, Rafael Scarfe, Spider-Man, Steel Serpent, Ward Meachum, William Hao
At the mercy of Chaka Kahn? I feel for you...sorry, couldn't resist a Chaka Khan jest. I am enjoying all of your reviews---I must've read fifty by now---and concur with their clear-eyed viewpoint, by and large. There is a certain cache attached to fondly-remembered titles; taken as a whole, there is nostalgia and atmosphere and the relative place in the development of comics. We forget, really, how little was often expected of this genre, and occasionally find stories that would've worked better in another medium, but there are some fine comics. It's fair you make a C "something only a Marvel fan would like" because consuming their comics en masse has certainly given me forgiving tastes for certain material. It's the ambitions to be different and the strangeness that makes second tier efforts (like Iron Fist here) so appealing. Without a doubt, one needs richer sources of literature and art to mature properly, but I can kick back with a "C" grade comic book sometimes and just lose myself, after all these years.
Posted by: Cecil | May 28, 2011 12:13 AM
That's an Abe Vigoda cameo in the 2nd panel.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 21, 2011 10:10 PM
Steel Serpent's first appearance was in Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #10, which never gets referred to in this series(probably because Claremont didn't write it).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 31, 2013 7:13 PM
The reason it was never referred to was because that was a different Steel Serpent. He was an Earthman trying to enter K'un L'un, not an inhabitant of K'un L'un who came to Earth.
Posted by: Michael | March 31, 2013 7:21 PM
And Claremont named his guy after that one? That's...weird.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 31, 2013 7:41 PM
It's been awhile since I read these issues, but I think Chaka was always referred to just "Chaka" rather than "Chaka Khan" or "Chaka Kahn."
There was a Shang Chi villain around the same time whose name was Shaka Kharne. I've wondered if either or both characters' names were inspired by the singer, Chaka Khan.
Posted by: Matthew | March 20, 2014 9:39 PM
With the digressive Master Khan plot finally wrapped up in #7, Claremont and Byrne really hit their stride on this title, IMO, with this arc. For starters, there's the classic cover for #8, the first that Byrne contributed to the series. (Most of the previous ones, which were good but not this good, had been done by Gil Kane, the original IF artist.)
Also, Chaka and his gang seem like enemies of the right level and type for Iron Fist. Too often, he had previously faced opponents who really should have been out of his league, like Warhawk, Iron Man, and Ravager/Radion. (And next up would be the whole Wrecking Crew! But Cap, Sabretooth, Wolverine, and, of course, The Steel Serpent would be excellent adversaries.) Or he had faced generic and forgettable figures such as The Ninja, Scythe, and Scimitar.
Btw, Chaka actually has one thing in common with Galactus: After appearing bare-legged for two issues, he gets pants with his outfit for #10.
Even though some of the plot devices are a bit creaky or cliched, the action scenes are marvelously and fluently executed here. At this point, just about every single panel looks great.
And given his later appearances in, e.g., IF 15 and prominently in FF 262, wonder if Byrne should be included among Characters Appearing . . . .
Posted by: Instantiation | October 16, 2015 9:49 PM
Just to clarify, i don't track real world people as Characters Appearing, including comics creators. The MCP does have an entry for John Byrne, if anyone does want to see all the books he's appeared in.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 17, 2015 11:02 AM
That's what I figured. My ellipsis points were intended to indicate my point was basically tongue in cheek, although Byrne does do more than just make a cameo in some issues.
Thanks for mentioning the listing in the MCP. I see it lists Byrne for IF #15 but not #8.
Posted by: Instantiation | October 17, 2015 9:28 PM
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