Power Man and Iron Fist #5

A comic review article by: Jamil Scalese
The concluding chapter of the “All-New, All-Different” Power Man and Iron Fist limited series attempts to wrap up a very involved detective story and does not spare a page in doing so. Nearly every entertaining and action-packed panel of this issue tries tie up loose ends and justify plot devices.

Without spoiling the big reveals of the comic, the last two pages are basically an infodump tying together the previous issues with a common plot thread or two. The amount of the text on the page dwarfs any other moment in the series and left me, as a reader, both informed and slighted. Fred Van Lente had a lot of moving elements in this plot, and it left him with some hanging limbs by the conclusion. Had the story been better crafted, those last two pages could have served the characters more than the narrative. I kind of felt like the writer was sitting me down at the end of the story and spooning the missing pieces to me. I love to be spoon-fed, but only by models.

(If Fred Van Lente is a model, I apologize.)

Beyond the convoluted ending, the rest of the issue was a romp and a half. The Iron Fist action scenes were superbly done by Van Lente and Alves, and there were a few surprises in the murder mystery plot that caught me slightly off guard. Alves' art was extremely strong, and his effort was probably the best since the first issue. I would love to see his shadowy, earthy style in some more Marvel stuff in the future, especially if part of the street-level world of Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Daredevil and the like.

The limited series overall was above average and the last installment was a satisfying and appropriate addition. Van Lente writing style features tinges of the zany and the absurd and those traits flow into his characters and dialogue. He does serious and cheeky in the same breath without coming off as inconsistent. Another element of his work that I picked up on, capped by those previously mentioned last two pages, is his propensity with creating and utilizing international characters. In this story we met characters from Mexico, Europe, Spain, Korea and even a group of white supremacists. Not only that, but our title characters of Danny Rand and Victor Alvarez represent one of the main divisions the world round, rich and poor (what were you thinking?). Van Lente reaches for new places for his stories with a respectful nod to the past, which is one of reasons he’s one of my favorite creators right now.

This was a satisfying ending to a quality limited series about two characters that aren’t mightily important. You should definitely consider picking this up once it gets collected in trade.

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