By Matt Fraction (writer), Russ Heath, Nick Drgotta, Mike Allred, Laura Allred, Lewis LaRosa, Stefano Gaudiano, Matt Hollingsworth, Mitch Breitweiser (artists)

What a wonderful book. I always wondered what Iron Fist would be like if Ed Brubaker wasn’t around. Thankfully, it’s just as good, which gives Matt Fraction the “street cred” he so rightfully deserves. This one-shot centers around John Aman, The Prince of Orphans, and his pursuit of Orson Randall, an earlier version of Iron Fist.

The story’s broken up into four parts – each centering on a different time. For instance, part one is pure Golden Age Iron Fist – something that was briefly touched upon in the series. Here, we see more of his group, the Confederates of the Curious. They’re a fascinating team that very much resembles a circus act. I’m hoping we get a mini-series of their exploits down the line. The art teams on this issue are to be commended for rendering each of their sequences to match the era; it’s crazy because this book jumps all over the place. It feels nostalgic in essence – moving from Victorian to western to horror eras. It should feel uneven and chaotic, but some how Fraction makes it all gel.

As the story progresses, it skips through time. We meet Wendell Rand, father of current Iron Fist, Danny Rand, and we see him grow up and study Orson’s techniques. Eventually, Wendell ends up shot and Orson brings him to the most unlikeliest of places to have his wounds fixed – Frankenstein’s castle! But, in a stunning turn of events, the Aman comes to Orson and Danny’s rescue and from there, the entire story and relationship between the two men changes.

This issue answers a lot of questions currently being addressed in the current Iron Fist series. It also offers a wealth of information and backstory to Iron Fist mythos. Iron Fist was never this rich of a character (in terms of history and depth) until Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction restarted his series. Here, Fraction goes the extra mile, painting a lush tale and bringing so many mysterious characters to life. This is one of the best Iron Fist stories ever. (Grade: A+)

– J. Montes

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