Saturday, 23 July 2016

Power Man and Iron Fist: The Comedy of Death Review (Fred Van Lente, Pere Perez)

The former Heroes for Hire office manager, Jennie Royce, is accused of murdering one of their old foes, Crime-Buster - but Danny Rand/Iron Fist knows she’s innocent and sets out with his new partner, Vic Alvarez/Power Man, to find out who’s framing her. 

I’ve never been a big Power Man and Iron Fist fan because they don’t really interest me (and their names and concept are so ‘70s!), but I know Fred Van Lente can deliver a decent read with whatever characters he’s given and he does just that with The Comedy of Death. 

The setup is pretty standard for a superhero story with our heroes punching lots of goons to get to the boss, etc. but Van Lente spices things up with some imaginative characters like the Commedia Dell’Morte, a troupe of European stock characters/assassins who’re after an enchanted mask. There’s also a Bond-villain-esque underwater casino lair headed up by a ridiculous bad guy called Pokerface who, yes, has a literal fireplace poker sticking out of his face! The silliness of the character made me smile - he’s like a dark Batman ‘66 villain! 

You can see the origins of Van Lente’s excellent Archer & Armstrong Valiant series in this book with an Archer-like Iron Fist (in terms of the fighting scenes and appearance), as well as the kind of assortment of wacky villains that appear in the Sect Civil War storyline, and he’s even joined by his A&A artist, Pere Perez, who draws a couple of the issues here. Other than that though the story plays out like you’d expect without any real surprises or that much excitement and it gets wrapped up with a neat, predictable resolution.

Power Man and Iron Fist still don’t seem like amazing characters to me but The Comedy of Death is a decent outing for the duo whose strengths lie in Van Lente’s unusual and unique additions to the story.

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