Luke Cage and Danny Rand AKA Power Man and Iron Fist are one of the top examples of bromance within the realm of comic books. They are an inseparable pair ever since the 1970s when, after low sales got Iron Fist’s own book cancelled, he was paired up with Power Man himself, Luke Cage and the rest as they say is history.
With Luke’s debut live-action debut on Jessica Jones and own upcoming Netflix series, as well as Iron Fist’s own Netflix adventures coming, and both joining Daredevil and Jessica Jones for the Defenders mini-series, sooner or later Luke and Danny would get books again and since Secret Wars helped get rid of the Mighty Avengers (pretty underrated book to me), why not bring back the Heroes for Hire together?
David F. Walker takes over the writing duties for this book and right off the bat, he gets Luke and Danny. One key to a book featuring the two is how much they do love each other and how they get along. With all that’s happened over the years, it still very much feels like damn good fun between the best of friends. Both have had books that studied how complex they are and that ran the range of emotions, but the same can be said for when they are together. Luke and Danny are incredibly entertaining together and make for one of the most effective teams in the Marvel Universe. Walker takes on a bit of a lighter tone with this first issue, and maybe the book itself, but we’ll see, it’s actually a nice welcome. This book is not only for those like me that have read their solo adventures and previous runs of Heroes for Hire, but new readers as well and that works too.
Family and trust make up the biggest two themes for the first issue as Luke and Danny reunite the team to help former employee and friend Jennie Royce who is being released from prison and that’s where the rest of the issue takes off, touching on what family means to some people and how important trust is. Trust certainly comes into play when Luke and Danny pay a visit to Tombstone and that’s where we get all of the action for the issue and that is fine. Right now we need the characters to be known and a book featuring these two characters should be about well, the characters. Sure action is great, I mean Luke has unbreakable skin and Danny is a kung-fu master, a few tussles are expected, but that doesn’t need to be the full focus at first.
Walker understands how they operate and why they are so tight and good together. Danny is fun and entertaining, while Luke has a cooler head and some more confidence to him, even some added motivation in heroism given he has a family to think about. They compliment each other brilliantly in and out of combat. Tombstone even has some nice characteristics to him and the handling of Jennie Royce is exceptional given the history surrounding her. Character work is amazing, minus the brief moments Jessica Jones shows up. This is a minor gripe, but the person who brought hard language into the Marvel Universe telling Luke to watch the cussing around their daughter, not so good. I mean Jessica has gotten more motherly over the past few years, sure being a parent would change anyone, but often there were still characteristics of what made Jessica, Jessica and that helped to balance it out. She had a bit of a wet blanket vibe to her, but again as such a good book as this is, its minor.
Walker here invokes more his work on Shaft at Dynamite (really recommended) with the street level work both characters are known for when working together and look and feel of the book. He balances fun and seriousness well. The end page reveal as to who the first villain is for this book ties back into classic Heroes for Hire stories that should make old fans happy, but again, not too overwhelming for new readers who will most likely learn of her past over the next few issues.
I’ve highlighted Walker’s writing enough its time for the art and man is this art great! Drawing the pencils on this book is Sanford Greene who feels at home with his style of art here. His designs look a bit cartoonish, but I love them. They feel down to earth really and for a book with the characters involved, it needs that. The art helps the characters to effectively emote what they feel in every scene and that’s a big key as to why this debut issue within the All-New All-Different Marvel line works. Luke and Danny care, they care a lot be it for Jennie or anyone that seeks out their level of help. The looks and postures conveyed by everyone in each scene helps to make the pages flow expertly. Every panel leading to the next like a well edited film or TV episode. I even like the moments out in public at the superhero cafe and just walking among the public who of course would love to get a shot of the heroes with their phones.
Greene makes the book look and feel fresh and new and some of the credit should go to expert colorist Lee Loughridge whose muted pallet, much in the vein of David Aja’s work on Hawkeye, gives the appropriate look and feel of the book even further and compliments everything going on in the book.
Power Man and Iron Fist #1 is great, it just works on so many levels that make it exciting for new readers and familiar enough for older readers of the characters. This book walks the balances gracefully and is worthy of a great amount of attention. Please pick this book up!
5 out of 5 fliers.