The surprising thing about Power Man and Iron Fist #7 isn't that it is a competent Civil War crossover, rather that despite the parameters and potential pitfalls of that editorial requirement thrust upon him scripter David Walker uses the occasion to place the duo of Danny Rand and Luke Cage into a tense and difficult position and deliver a script that is impressively heavy on words, and equally deep in character.
It would be a fair observation that under any other penciller than the gifted Sanford Greene Walkers script would lack in the required visual flair and trivia he brings to every page and scene, and this issues tone set by Walker and illustrated by Greene is a good deal darker visually than any previous installment. Opening in a darkened Cage household with Misty Knight visiting a subdued Cage all of David Walker's confident character touches are present. We are queityly imparted with who Misty is, her break-up with the jailed Danny Rand, and what her position on the current dillema facing Luke is. All this put across on just one page!
But then we pull back and see Luke has other guests, two computer literate helpers aiding in deciphering a captured notepad that may hold a clue as to what the forces targeting the Power man/Iron Fist duo are. And further afield, investigating other leads, is Lukes other half and friend Colleen Wing. Whether Misty is aware that he partner Colleen is helping the duo is unclear, but in keeping with the theme of feuding aand taking sides one can make the assumption that Colleen is working independently. He own ties to Danny Rand being perhaps as strong as Misty's own, but less complicated by emotional history as Misty's are.
Emotional ties and the simple emotional pleasure of friendships and relations are at the heart of the success and appeal to David Walker's treatment for Power Man & Iron Fist, what could be a rehash of the past, a nostalgia exercise for those who remember the original partnership between the two, is instead reprocessed and rethought. Reworked into something that is entirely respectful to the history between these two very different men but dedicated to rooting them in the here and now. Luke's current status is a world away from the independent freewheeling days of the of the Heroes for Hire, but with wife Jessica Jones David Walker has embraced all of the possibilities and avenues for good character and story and with this issue makes full use out of all of them. The Heroes for Hire are under threat from unknown and unseen forces, and all of their friends will be needed to help them through these dark times...
Choosing a favourite moment or Sanford Greene illustration is no mean feat in a book that is filled with no end of such talking points, but Greene's genre sampling tribute to Japanese manga for the two page diversion to Danny Rand's eary years in K'un Lunn is certainly one such highlight. The sight of Colleen playing patta-cake with Danielle Cage as working mom Jessica phones Luke is another.
Just who is the enemy Cage and Danny Rand face, is there one, is the enemy in fact something far more abstract than another crimelord or crooked law official, or has the world moved on so far from the wild and free days of youth that Cage remembers that it is simply a matter of the world no longer accomodating the unregulated movements of a mercenary duo like these two?
The pleasure of David Walker and Sanford Greene's chosen vision for Power Man & Iron Fist as a production is in its choice to fly in the face of the mainstream Marvel method as seen in the likes of the X-Men and Avengers books. Unconcerned with generating angst and turmoil this is a special and thoroughly pleasant seperation from that tired and glum formula, its aims are to entertain the reader but also to deliver a cast that are actually worth caring abount. And you will care about these characters. Believable people living in an extra-ordinary world... the true Marvel method, in fact that is how it all began.
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