Power Man & Iron Fist 75 was written by Mary Jo Duffy, pencilled by Kerry Gammil and inked by Ricardo Villamonte and opens with Master Khan (Long time Iron Fist villain) riding a jade tiger, being followed by Luke (Power Man) Cage and Daniel (Iron Fist) Rand’Kai through a portal.
They are deposited on a cold mountain top, above them is an ancient city, which Iron Fist recognises as K’Un-Lun, the city where he was raised from boy to man and where he received the power of the Iron Fist.
After a brief misunderstanding with the city guards, the pair are welcomed and treated as honoured guests, Daniel treated more honoured than Luke. Luke notices how different everything is from his home in New York, often seeing the women treated as afterthoughts and objects to be protected and kept away. Yu Ti, the August Personage in Jade, who acts as leader of the city asks for Daniel’s help against the Hylthri, a race of plant-people who live nearby and are in a state of constant war with their immortal human neighbours. Daniel is not keen to involve him and Luke in this, but asks for Yu-Ti to answer some questions in return. Yu-Ti is angry at this, but is reminded by Lei Kung, the Thunderer (love these names) that Daniel is needed and the answers will do no harm. After Yu-Ti tries, and fails, to get Luke to leave before talking, Yu-Ti gives some background on why he considers Daniel his nephew.
We get some flashback of Yu-Ti and his father , being saved by an american called Wendell Rand. Wendell is injured by the dragon Shou Lao and brought to the city to be healed. Yu-Ti’s father (at the time the Yu-Ti) adopted Wendell, who married a local called Shakari (who his adopted brother also loved) and had a daughter Miranda Rand’Kai. This means Daniel has a half sister. Shakari died shortly after at the hands of the Hylthri and this caused Wendell to leave K’Un-Lun and return to the US. What follows is the origin of Iron Fist again.
The next morning, just before the battle, Daniel is training with local warriors, who take it a bit too seriously and after a long stirring speech by Yu-Ti, the army marches to the Hylthri. The battle is fierce, but ultimately ends up a one sided slaughter. During the battle, Daniel finds the body of his friend Conal and who he now knows as his sister Miranda. Both were killed by the Hylthri years ago and their bodies used as food for the Hylthri children. Daniel is tore up and when the battle is over and the survivors celebrate, he just wanders the city, but is attacked from behind as he decides to find a way back to New York.
He wakes strapped to a huge emerald, to find that Master Khan is one of the gods of K’Un-Lun and intends to sacrifice warriors to the Hylthri as he has done for centuries, although outside of Yu-Ti, no one knew. Just as Yu-Ti is about to kill Daniel, Luke and Lei Kung burst in to rescue him. There is a pitched battle and Master Khan summons his ninja to battle Daniel, while Luke takes on the entire army of K’Un-Lun. Luke gets to Master Khan and holds him in place, while Daniel threatens to kill him with the power of Shou Lao, which Master Khan both needs and fears and bargains for their return to New York. Rather than simply leave and let this state of affairs continue, Daniel shatters the emerald, cutting K’Un-Lun off from the rest of the world. Danny and Luke walk through the closing portal and start the long walk to civilisation, leaving Lei Kung, the man who raised him as the last honest man in the home he leaves behind forever.
Notes: This is something of an unevenly paced story, very front heavy, but the dialogue is good and the undercurrent of racism and xenophobia is clear to see.
The art is serviceable and the softer colour palette helps bring it out and the action scenes are very entertaining. This issue would be better served spread over a few more to delve more into the city and it’s ways and the growing intrigue but that is the only real problem I could find.
Still Iron Fist was a great action lead and Power Man was bad-ass and that’s always good.
Next time: Fantasticast’s Steve Lacey’s favourite villains