If anyone was going to write the story of Fat Cobra's origin, it had to be Jason Aaron. Not because he had any previous history with the character, which he didn't, but because he has a sensibility that meshes perfectly with the world of the Immortal Iron Fist and he has that uncanny ability to take the most absurd situation and turn it into a kick ass good time.
Fat Cobra quickly became something of a cult favorite when he was introduced in the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven arc. It probably has something to do with fanboys envying his stable of wenches. Cobra's a bit of a party guy and that's where Aaron starts us off here. Fat Cobra, who we learn is not only 100 years old but he also has a healing factor (think Logan done right), has consumed so many "intoxicants" during his long life that he has virtually wiped away all of his long term memory and must have someone write a book about his life story so that he can remember any of it. From there hilarity, and tragedy, ensues. For all the times where we see a lighter side of Cobra's past, Aaron matches it with something doubly dark. As for the event that finally pushes Fat Cobra to the point where he could defeat the dragon Xiang Yao, I don't believe he wanted to kill his murderous offspring any more than he wanted to kill his mother in childbirth.
On the whole, I feel like Aaron has crafted a layered and entertaining origin while at the same time weaving Fat Cobra into the history of the Marvel Universe in ways that both make sense to the character and avoids interfering with existing continuity. As an added bonus, it's done in a single issue with no knowledge of any of the character's previous appearances required.
It's been well over a year since I had seen any of Mico Suayan's work, so I was very impressed with how his art has evolved. While at times the art could feel a bit posed, for his sections being almost exclusively talking heads the expressiveness of the characters was handled extremely well. In the past when flashbacks have been implemented they have been done on a page by page basis, but in this issue it was done panel by panel and I loved the effect it had on the story's flow. Most of the flashback work was brief, but in the case of the extended scene illustrated by Michael Lark the results were simply stunning.
With the backup story, Duane Swierczynski does the same thing he's been doing with the main title for months. It's kung fu, it's super hero, it's noir and it fucking kicks ass.
While at times Travel Foreman has been one of my favorite artists (check out his Ares mini written by Mike Oeming to see why), his work since taking over as the main artist on Immortal Iron Fist has been wildly inconsistent. While I suspect a lot of the experimentation he's gone through over the past year has been in an effort to keep up with the monthly schedule, it finally reached a breaking point in issue #27 when the finished product was an incoherent mess. Much to my surprise and delight however, it would appear that the solution to Foreman's current woes has been found. Stefano Gaudiano is quite clearly a miracle worker. His inks over David Aja's pencils help defined the look of Immortal Iron Fist early on in the series and with his return, Iron Fist looks better than it has in over a year.
Last edited by ****** on Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.