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Review Group Immortal Weapons #1

I had the pick for new comics shipping July 22nd and most awesomely selected Immortal Weapons #1 by Jason Aaron, Duane Swierczynski, Mico Suayan, Travel Foreman, Roberto De La Torre, Khari Evans, Stefano Gaudiano, Michael Lark and Jordan White.

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The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week that we each take turns selecting. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse’s Newstand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate in.

This was the third time the Review Group has covered an Iron Fist related book.  The previous comics were fairly well received, let's see how Jason Aaron's origin for Fat Cobra fared...
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Review by Jack Burton

This was a really good issue that managed to be hilarious and really sad at the same time. It really makes you feel for Fat Cobra.

8.5
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Haiku by House of J

I will keep in mind
What Fat Cobra shows us here
Some books are discards

5.5
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Review by MrBlack

I am not an avid reader of Iron Fist by any stretch of the imagination, but when I learned that we were set to review this book, I took a little time to familiarize myself with recent events involving Danny Rand. Of the Immortal Weapons who have been introduced, Fat Cobra was definitely one of the more interesting ones, so I looked forward to reading this book.

I thought the first half of the book was fairly amusing (particularly the three page fight scene near the middle), but the ending was a little hard to swallow. I realize that Jason Aaron wanted to add some pathos to the character, but having him kill generations of his own children for no other reason than wanting to live just makes him a monster. Any positive feelings I had regarding the character were wiped away with this revelation, and I do not think I want to continue reading about a protagonist who has done such a thing.

While the overall story was alright, the character-defining tragedy that has become a staple of modern comics was just completely overdone, and the story is ultimately worse for it. On the upside, the backup from Duane Swierczynski was well done, and I would look forward to reading more if it meant that I would not have to buy another issue of this series.

The art was good overall, but having different artists do different pages was a little jarring, although I understand that they were meant to depict different parts of Fat Cobra's own life. The art for the main framing pieces was good, but there seemed to be an overabundance of cross-hatching.

Sorry guys, but I thought the story just did not cut it. I will give the art a good score, but the terrible story brings my overall score way done.

Story: 2
Art: 7
Overall: 4.5
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Review by McKegan

I wasn't all that impressed by this book. It's pretty standard for Iron Fist books of late: throw in a bunch of quirky flashbacks with the character popping up in moments of cultural significance, throw in a taste of MU history, and come up with some cool names for kung fu moves. This was a fresh approach under Fraction/Bru, but it's starting to feel old hat here.

The story, in itself is inoffensive. And is framed nicely, except for the fact that the story fails to mention one important little detail. Why the hell does Fat Cobra not remember his past? Cobra mentions forgotten glories, and I suppose the reason they're forgotten is because of the revelation at the end, but it isn't tied together very well.

I don't even have the moral problem with the ending that others seem to, it just didn't feel well set up to me. In a book consisting of multiple panels that jump all over the place in time, the key sequence at the end just felt like another thing that happened, instead of the big shocker I imagine it's supposed to be.

The art is okay, but really comes off as poor when compared to the few beautiful pages from Lark.

The Iron Fist back up is standard fair you'd get from the monthly book. I don't really see the point of putting it in a mini. I'm also becoming progressively less and less of a Foreman fan. I don't know if it's the boring color palate or the art itself. It's fugly.

Story: 5
Art: 5
Over-All: 5
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Review by starlord

I've grown very disillusioned with the whole Iron Fist comic so I stopped buying it. Wasn't really excited about getting this but I'm a firm believer in going with the pick. It's what this is for.

And I'm glad I did. This wasn't my favorite book I ever read, but I ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would. Although much of it seems repetitive with every other Iron Fist story lately, it was really funny and tragic at the same time. Well created character, but a few more pages of explanation may have been wise.

Story: 4
Art: 8
My Score: 6
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Review by amlah6

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.

Feature
Story: 8.5
Art: 8.5

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.

Backup
Story: 10
Art: 9

Overall: 8.75
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Limerick by guitarsmashley

There once was a fat cobra from Peng Lai
he fucked a bunch of women and couldn't die
the art was a bit too choppy
but the writing was tip toppy
to say this was a perfect comic would be a lie.

7.6
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Review by Punchy

Story - OK, I'm fired up, I've had 2 cups of tea, I'm going to rock the shit out of this review!

'Bring me my Victory wenches!', It was with these words, in Immortal Iron Fist #9, that Fat Cobra established himself as one of the best new characters to enter the Marvel Universe in the last 5 years. He had just summarily kicked the ass of our hero, and now he wants Wenches? Come on, what's not to love? Along with the rest of the Immortal Weapons, Cobra became a regular fixture in the title, helping Danny Rand fight off the forces of Hydra and then the demons of the 8th City. But he has remained a bit of a blank slate, only now are we getting his origin, under the capable hands of Jason Aaron. As a huge fan of what the writing team of Brubaker and Fraction and then Duane Swierczynski have done with Iron Fist and his crazy Kung-Fu world, I am pretty wary of seeing other writers enter the arena, but not so with Aaron, he has proven himself to be a fantastic writer, both on gritty real world stuff like Scalped or The Other Side, but also bat-shit off the wall material in his excellent Ghost Rider run, and the story of the Fat Cobra seems perfect for him. I have not read his Kung-Fu Wolverine mini, Manifest Destiny, but on the strength of this issue, I most definitely will. On top of the main story, we also have an Iron Fist back-up story by the regular creative team of Swierczynski and Travel Foreman, but I'll get back to that later.

The premise of the Fat Cobra origin is brilliant in itself, our hero has consumed so much booze and other intoxicants that he has forgotten his own life story, so he employs a researcher to find out for him, this framing device is brilliantly fitting with the character and allows Jason Aaron to show us how Fat Cobra's own perception of himself contrasts with what actually happens, and that contrast is large. Aaron takes us through all of the Cobra's history, and it is frequently hilarious in how it undercuts Cobra's mysterious bad-ass persona, his parents were not great Warriors, they were Pig Farmers, he was an Opera singer, he failed to defeat his version of Shou-Lao, it's a litany of failures, but Aaron also places it within real-world context, like World War 1. Fat Cobra's story is also woven into Marvel Universe history in a variety of fun ways, he worked with also-rans such as Ulysses Bloodstone and the WW2 Union Jack, and Aaron puts Cobra into some truly off the wall 'only in comics' situations, a Speed-Eating competition between Cobra, Volstagg and Hercules? Genius! Teaching Elvis Kung-Fu? Fighting Werewolf Communists on the Moon with Nick Fury? That is balls to the wall awesome, the type of crazy-insane stuff Aaron does with Ghost Rider each month, and it's the kind of imagination I want from a superhero comic. We also see Fat Cobra try to become an Immortal Weapon again, but fail and get ripped in half by the snake. But he grew his legs back! Awesome!

But this story is deeper than ironic wacky events, in one quite frankly brilliant and almost beautiful sequence, Aaron has Fat Cobra transition between a fight with a woman, to making love. Since Fraction and Brubaker launched Iron Fist, I've been a big fan of the silly kung-fu names they've used, and Aaron gets to unleash his inner Crane Master with some of his own, putting his own good ol'boy spin on it with the 'South Alabama Shin Stomp', which undercuts the pomposity of some of the names. In a clever move, these moves, which are the only words in this scene change into Kama-Sutra like sexual positions, it's a very clever idea, so instead of the 'Krakatoa Tigerstrike' we have the very exciting-sounding 'Tantric Thunder Thrust'. It's a brilliant use of language. The scene is expertly illustrated by Michael Lark, and is just genius, I cannot overstate this enough. This segment is set-up to the tragic reveal of Fat Cobra's life, this woman is one of many he has bedded, and this has consequences. We've seen him do whacky shit, but now we learn his dark secret. The only reason he was able to defeat the Snake Xiang Yao and become an Immortal Weapon was because he killed hundreds of his own children, who had come to kill him. It's a pretty shocking reveal, and one that seems to have split fans, some feel sorry for him, some see him as a mass-murdering almost villain. I'm not sure where I stand, but it doesn't matter, it's an incredibly ballsy idea, and a fantastic scene which makes the character fascinating to me, when Fat Cobra faces the enormity of his past, the silent page where he burns the book is heart-breaking. And in the end, Fat Cobra asks for more alcohol, perhaps to reblock his memories? Tragedy!

Overall, this was an excellent single issue, brilliantly fleshing out what was previously an awesome, but rather one-note character. Fat Cobra is now a part of Marvel History, in a way that makes sense, and we see all sides of the character, the fun-loving fat guy, but also a tragic figure, Fat Cobra is now a full, deep character, all in only one issue. Jason Aaron is a perfect fit for this crazy, brutal kung-fu world, and I would certainly not mind seeing him revisit Fat Cobra or Iron Fist himself again, maybe a Wolverine/Fat Cobra story? Let's hope the rest of these issues will do as good a job at exploring the other Immortal Weapons as Aaron does here.

The Iron Fist back-up story is a different type of Iron Fist story than we're used to, but a welcome one. Danny Rand has to deal with a troubled student of his, and the kidnapping of her brother by drug-dealers. It's a more grounded story, almost a crime story, and from his novels we know Duane Swierczynski is adept at these. For me, the character of Iron Fist has always been about a man who straddles two worlds, the magic insane fantasy Shangri-La of K'un Lun and the mean streets of 1970s Harlem. In the current volume we've seen lots of the fantasy, but not so much of the real world, and though this isn't the 70s anymore, it's still a good way for us to see this side of the character. It's too early to judge now, it's only 7 pages, serialized across each issue of the mini, but it's good so far, adding to the great package of this book. Could do with a bit more Power Man though.

Art - There are a lot of artists in this book, Mico Suayan handles the framing sequences of the Fat Cobra story, and his art is very strong, it is realistic, but not too realistic, and he handles the changing facial expressions of Fat Cobra well. The other artists are also suited to their sections, Roberto De La Torre handles the grittiness of the Cobra's early years and WW1 very well, and Khari Evans' bright cartoony style meshes well with the hijinks Cobra gets up too in his 'fun' years. I've already mentioned Michael Lark's segment, which is beautiful, I've liked his work for a while now, on Gotham Central and Daredevil, but this may be even better! Arturo Lozzi illustrates the scenes where Cobra kills his family, and he's an artist I'm not familiar with, and only a few panels at that, but he does a good job. One thing I did find interesting was that the flashbacks were done on a panel-by-panel basis, so on one page you will have art by 2 artists, Suayan in the present, and someone else in the past, it was an interesting way to go about the flashback structure and made the book flow very well.

Travel Foreman provides the art for the Iron Fist story and it's very different from his work on the ongoing, which was very kinetic and stylized, often to the point of being hard to read, but not so here, maybe it was the inks of Stefano Gaudiano which reined him in, but this is much better, it's still recognizably his style, but it's much more refined, I hope he continues to use this style.

Best Line - 'It was your kids'

8/10
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Review by SuperginraiX

This comic was awesomely ridiculous.

Some of the scenes just got me to laugh out loud... or at least giggle. Soviet Werewolves on the moon? Nice. Where's the tattoos? Why does he only have them with one artist? Does he write them on with a marker? Inquiring minds, yo!

Anyway, it's awesome but still ridiculous. If you're looking at it logically, you've gotta wonder how this guy was able to nab all this information. Those Soviet Werewolves certainly didn't make the paper and I'd bet the government files were still very much closed. And why were his kids trying to kill him? Because he didn't know he was their daddy? That's motivation? I can see a few kids going for the kill but ALL of them? They should have worked a bit on why he had to fight his kids to the death. They already said why he was doing it: because they were trying to kill him. They just didn't do a good job establishing why the kids were. From the way it was described, he didn't even know he had kids even when he had the memories.

The back up story was pretty good stuff. The art could have been better (those eyes just stare at you) but the story had promise.

Immortal Weapons, you get a 7. You made me laugh.
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Review by Mr_Batman

I had no previous knowledge of Fat Cobra before this, so from the little background information I knew, I thought he sounded like a cool character. Indeed he was, and still is. This issue's main story was heartwarming, but extremely freaky and messed up at the same time. The whole kids thing was something I wasn't expecting at all. The history behind him was interesting, and it was funny to see his reaction about the things he didn't know. The scene when he was fighting the girl, and they were saying all the moves was funny too. I felt a little sad for him, but at the same time I was thinking "Wow, that's so messed up". The different artists were good for the most part.

The back-up story was very cool too. I liked the art, and I really can't wait for more. It'll be interesting to learn about the other Immortal Weapons. I definitely want to go back and read the Iron Fist stuff

Story- 7.5
Art- 8
Overall- 7.75
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Review by Chubbles

This wasn't as much fun as I thought it'd be but it was still a pretty good read. The art was definitely the best part but the writing certainly wasn't sub par by any means. I understand the hate by some of you once you learn that he killed all of his children but I don't feel quite as strongly. He had no connection to these kids and after all they came hunting him, not the other way around. I actually did find myself enjoying the back story a little bit more though and I look forward to seeing that story through. A good old fashioned karate revenge story is exactly the type of stuff I enjoy so this should be fun.

Story 7
Art 8
Overall 7.5
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Review by 48THRiLLS

I loved Bru and Fractions Iron Fist (especially with Aja's pencils!) I even loved Swiercynski’s run (despite Foreman's pencils but I will say he got much better towards the end of his run). I really liked this but did not love it. I did not care for the present day art which sadly was the majority, I think it was the faces I did not like... all the flashbacks were great, especially the Lark penciled flashback. The story was good, sort of a downer... I was hoping for a Chinese Hercules type thing and somewhat got that but I didn't want to feel like shit after reading it. The flashbacks were not only the best of the art they were also the best of the story, seeing Fat Cobra getting Tijuana Two-Step on was funny as was his creepy ass checking out the Swiss college girls. I felt that I got all the things I wanted out of a Fat Cobra book but I still felt like this could have been better.

The backup story seems like a pretty cool setup, I glad I will be able to get some sort of IF fix while the title book is on hiatus, Foreman is either really coming around or I am just used to his art. I hope when this mini is over they keep IF going with Swiercynski, he did not get enough credit for keeping this book awesome after Bru and Fraction left.

STORY - 8
ART - 6
OVERALL - 7.5
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Review by young neil

The last trade of Iron Fist, contained the one-shots, and although being very well written, killed the momentum of the story. Immortal Weapons #1: Fat Cobra has re-invigorated my love for The Immortal Iron Fist and the rich tapestry of characters that has been created as his supporting cast.

Immortal Weapons #1 focuses on Fat Cobra, and draws on the idea that he has hired someone to write about his life to re-tell his origin. This narrative style is unbiased and gives us a look at the characters own reactions to his life and what he has done to make it to where he is today.

I liked the idea of using different artists to portray future and past tenses. I loved the art, all of it, and that’s a steep call. All art styles are independent and great for their own reasons.

Jason Aaron can again do not wrong, and I tried not to let the fact that he was writing sway my opinion when I was reading this issue. This issue made me sorry, yet again for switching to trade with Iron Fist. Great read, highly recommended.

Story – 8
Art - 8
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Review by thefourthman

I liked this book a lot. I liked the epic scope of Cobra's story and the Heroes for Hire feel of the back up. Lark's art was amazing in his bit and the Suayan stuff was nice too. Foreman sucks almost as bad as Stroman and should be left in a closet with no clothes and Yoni as his only companion.

Story 8
Art 8
Overall 8

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That gives Immortal Weapons #1 a group score of 7.11.  Not everyone loves Fat Cobra?  This is indeed a shocking turn of events.

For further discussion about this issue, feel free to join us in this week's thread (http://www.theouthousers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=26462) found in the Newstand forum where you are also invited to join the group by posting your own review.
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young neil has the pick for July 29th and he as selected Mice Templar: Destiny #1 from Image Comics.  Look for the new thread after it becomes available Wednesday morning to join in on the fun. 

Mice Templar: Destiny #1

Story MICHAEL AVON OEMING & BRYAN JL GLASS
Art VICTOR SANTOS & MICHAEL AVON OEMING

The second chapter in the saga of the Mice Templar begins here!

The Templar have fallen, leaving the natural world in the grip of tyrants and ever-increasing chaos. The promise of restoration for the Templar and the salvation of all creatures now lies in the paws of the newly-knighted Karic. But as sinister powers seek to thwart him, others are desperate to use his mission for personal agendas. Now Karic is anxious to complete his training so that he might rescue his family from slavery. But his new master, Cassius, is a bitter Templar exile who does not believe in Karic's destiny. Their journey takes them to the legendary Haunted Wood, a dead forest inhabited by Diabhlan, ancient evil spirits hungry to feed off of living souls.


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