"The Immortal Iron Fist on Netflix! When are we getting our matching dragon tattoos?!"
That was my level of excitement leading up to Marvel's latest Netflix series, and it's a level that seems unmatched by anyone who has actually watched the show. As I settled in to watch the first six episodes I wondered what it was about Iron Fist that didn't measure up to Daredevil, Jessica Jones, or Luke Cage. Honestly, I really like the show so far, but even I have some qualms. To say that I'm not qualmless would be another way to express my opinion if I wanted to make up words... and use a double negative... but it sounds nicer that way, doesn't it?
Basically all of my Iron Fist knowledge comes from the Fraction/Brubaker/Aja comic book run so, from this point forward and without any contradicting point of reference, we'll refer to that run as the definitive Iron Fist story. If we start there then my biggest complaint about the show is the absence of humor. Danny Rand is supposed to crack wise even in gritty television versions of Hell's Kitchen, and he hasn't. If my math is correct, not even once. Not yet, at least. Some of the dialogue and delivery is a little corny, and not in the blaxploitation homage way of Luke Cage. It might also be missing the subtext that carries the other Netflix shows: gentrification, power and consent, race and communities... pretty powerful stuff when compared to the plot-driven origin story of Iron Fist.
All that said, I happen to like the plot-driven story of Iron Fist! The story picks up when he returns to New York from the mystical city of K'un-Lun, fifteen years after being presumed dead. There are short flashbacks to what happened when he disappeared, but the majority of the show is present day. From what I've read it doesn't sound like this season will show us how he became the Iron Fist, opting instead to show us how easy it is for someone with no business acumen to show up out of the blue, claim his inheritance in the form of fifty-one percent of a company, and wreak self-sabotage havoc on a morally dubious corporation. If this sounds decidedly less exciting than fighting a dragon then I can't help you. The first six episodes are laying groundwork, establishing characters and weaving the fourth member of the Defenders into the fabric of Marvel's Hell's Kitchen. The cast is good, the fights are exciting, and I'm a sucker for glowing fists of iron.
I guess the point of this post was really just to ask one simple question: where exactly should I get my tattoo of Shou Lao the Undying?