Couple more books from last week. One is wrapping up a mini-series of sorts, and the other was me giving the second issue of an ongoing a chance.
Avengers #5.1, by Mark Waid (writer), Barry Kitson, Mark Bagley, Sean Izaakse, and Ro Stein (pencilers), Mark Farmer, Scott Hanna, Mike Perkins, Ted Brandt, Sean Izaakse, and Drew Hennessy (inkers), Jordan Boyd, Matt Tackey and Wil Quintana (colorists), Ferran Delgado (letterer) - After last issue I wondered how many people they'd need for the next issue, but I didn't envision it would get this bad. 4 pencilers, 6 inkers, and 3 colorists. For one 20 page comic. Jesus Christ.
As it turns out, the Kooky Quartet was only mostly dead, but the remaining Original Four helped them fake their funeral as a trap so they could take down Cressida themselves. Easier said than done since she's copied their powers for a bit, but she makes the number 1 mistake Avengers' foes make: She dismissed Hawkeye. Exhausted and disoriented, she runs, straight into the remainder of the Frightful Four, who take a little vengeance. I assume this all ties in with the story Waid and Michael del Mundo are doing in Avengers Whole Numbers with Kang, but I have no idea how. So from my perspective it's a fun but inessential little story, which is fine.
But the art is a mess. The coloring shifts wildly from one page to the next. The sequence starting with the funeral up to the point the battle moves into the mansion is in this color scheme dominated by blues where all the characters faces are extremely pale. Then you turn a page and the colors have shifted to something much brighter. But it also signals a change in artist, and the faces take on a distinctly unfinished look. And the shifts continue like that throughout. At least everyone has a sufficiently distinct design there aren't any problems telling who's who, but it definitely disrupts the flow of things. Not exactly sticking the landing there.
Iron Fist #2, by Ed Brisson (writer), Mike Perkins (artist), Andy Troy (color artist), Travis Lanham (letterer) - Here we see Danny entering the section of town known as "Artist is Running Behind and Hasn't Drawn It Yet". It's very quaint in how old-fashioned it is, nothing there, just like in the moments before the universe came into existence. Can't get more old-fashioned than that.
The island of Liu-Shi has several Masters, and Danny is being set against them one at a time. A mysterious Master Wolf waits at the end, though Danny doesn't look as though he'll get past the Master Rat at this rate. Also, his chi is being reignited by the fact he's somehow absorbing the chi of the masters he defeats. Which is creepy and really should have triggered the warning bells, but this Danny seems like a junkie, jonesing for his power back. This is all part of Liu-Shi's plan to take K'un-Lun's place as the 7th City of the Heavens. Will it start only connecting to Earth every 7 years if it manages that?
Danny losing his chi isn't unusual. Davos seems to steal it away every six months, which forces Danny to get it back simply so Davos doesn't kill people with it. But Danny's rarely shown as someone desperate to get it back. It's a burden on him, that he'd just a soon be free of. Instead of having the expectations of his parents, he has the expectations of this entire, strange city weighing on him, while still regarding him as an outsider. The fact Danny frankly sucks as a protector doesn't help. His first opponent called him a fraud, and he's got some points. Danny's the first Iron Fist not to win the Tournament of the Heavens and he lost in the first round, the first match. K'un-Lun's been destroyed how many times on his watch?
So having a Danny rushing into this to get the power back, with no issues about what might be happening to the fighters whose chi he absorbs (didn't Davos nearly kill him doing that once?), it's not a great look for him. And doesn't he draw his chi from somewhere? It's not a supply within him, it's a vast ocean that's he's connected to and can pull from. Drawing from these guys shouldn't be doing anything to undo whatever is blocking him from that.
Artwise, Perkins and Andy Troy are doing a couple of interesting things. When Danny enters the village to fight the Rat Master, the final panel on one page the border is red, and the red extends into the panel to fill the outlines of the rats that are coming at Danny from both sides. On the next page, as Danny gets tossed around, the Master's hand is in the panel, but as an outline with no color or detail. A white void. I won't say I understand the significance of it, since his hands are colored in for the panels before and after that one, so maybe it's just a mistake, but it's distinctive. A presence announced by absence, something not right or out of place. Beyond that, a lot of shadows, heavy use of black in most scenes, a dark book. Fits with the story.
The fight with the first Master varied in pacing a bit. The early stage, when Danny's mostly getting trounced, had more of that interrupted, here are a series of moments feel, and as the fight goes on it gets more into one panel leading to the next and then the next. I wouldn't call it great fight choreography, but there's not much back and forth. The Master kicks Danny's ass until Danny dodges one punch, then unleashes his own barrage that wins the day.
As usual, my curiosity about where things might go is grappling with my feeling that I'm not really digging it enough right now over whether to stick around to find out.