NAMOR #21-25 (1991-1992): The Search for Iron Fist

After planting seeds throughout the first two years of his run, John Byrne finally brings the return of Iron Fist plot to conclusion.  And it starts with a trip to K’un L’un, where Namor believes he will find a cure for what is ailing Lady Dorma–because he was tipped off by Dr. Strange.  He’s accompanied by Misty Knight and Colleen Wing, who are tracking the mysterious, seeming return of their old friend Danny “Iron Fist” Rand.

Actually, it starts with Misty Knight–Danny Rand’s old girlfriend–admiring his exposed beams…

And then, ready for action, Doctor Strange teleports them to the mythical land.

Meanwhile, Plant Man is up to no good and Wolverine is hip to it.

Plantman is acting as a kind of a broker with an ancient plant species–whose poison is part of what has struck down Dorma. (The species first appeared way back in Iron Fist #2.)

Master Kahn of K’un L’un is part of the evil cabal.  Dorma had been cloned multiple times, and it turns out, Kahn is running a clone farm.  You see where this is going, right?  It’s not Danny Rand…It’s a clone. 

Lots of good action scenes…

…Which is something Byrne does very well.

Namor and the Daughters of the Dragon fight through Lei Kung and the plant monsters.

And find the clone farm.

Another Iron Fist being grown in a bubble, which is made possible by the plant species Plantman is working with on Earth.

The pointless inclusion of Wolverine merges with the rest of the heroes…

None of this is bad, but it is unnecessarily complicated. And speaking of which: How do we explain Iron Fist’s death?  Because, in order for the plant species to clone him, they have to capture and bubble-fy him.

That’s where it gets complicated.  Very complicated.  Remember how he died? Back in Power Man and Iron Fist #125?

It was gruesome.  He was beaten to death by a kid who could turn into a super-powered adult, Captain Hero, who was a lot like DC’s Captain Marvel.

Well, Byrne retcons, Captain Hero was actually Super Skrull.  But that doesn’t actually matter, because the guy he killed wasn’t Danny Rand.  It was a plant clone.  Actually, that wasn’t so complicated after all.

So why does the Super Skrull part matter?

I don’t really know.

So it turns out, Iron Fist is still alive? But where is he? This whole arc was the “search for Fist” but it was really just a retcon of his death.

Overall, this story was good but not great, and with a fan-favorite character like Iron Fist–and Byrne returning to Wolverine (a character he had a big part in making famous)–I was hoping for a lot more.

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