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Iron Fist

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

No one ever accused Marvel Comics of being afraid to jump on a bandwagon. If there's a pop culture trend, they'll do their best to milk it. A prime example is the kung-fu superhero Iron Fist.

Honor. Dediction. And above all, purity of heart. Raised in the otherworldly kingdom of K'un-Lun as an unparalleled martial artist. Earth-born Danny Rand mastered the ability to focus his spiritual energy into an impervious fist of iron. Now, as the costumed adventurer called Iron Fist, he fights with the fury of his ancestors and a hope for a better tomorrow!

Iron Fist was actually the company's second martial artist hero, following Shang Chi. Though they're both still kicking around the fringes of the Marvel Universe, Danny Rand is definitely better known these days, thanks mainly to his long association with Luke Cage.

The only previous Iron Fist figure (other than the ToyFare-exclusive Minimate) was one of the limited repaints in the Marvel Gold line, so this is a figure that's been needed for a long time.

Iron Fist is a little over 6⅛" tall, and moves at the toes, ankles, shins, knees, hips, waist, torso, fingers, wrists, forearms, shoulders and neck. The hips, shoulders and head are balljoints, and the arms are on those pull-out hinges. For some reason, the balls used for his shoulders don't really match with the body - they're too big, so they really stand out as joints.

Surprisingly, Iron Fist gets a new Phil Ramirez body, rather than just a re-used Spider-Man. He's thin, yet muscular, and the sculpt is nicely restrained. His clothes would probably be made of silk, so they shouldn't have some crazy texture on them. He's wearing his classic green gi with the yellow mask, collar, belt and shoes. Or, well, "slippers," really. They don't even cover as much foot as those non-slip shoes people wear to the shower at the gym. The ties of his mask are sculpted to swirl around the side of his head, for some reason, and the black patches around his eyes are sculpted elements.

Paint is generally good, but you might have to look at a few Fists before finding one that's up to your standards. For some reason, his mask seems to take smudges really easily. The colors chosen really work well for the character - a nice, dark green and a yellow with just a hint of orange in it. There's a subtle wash on his skin, and the dragon tattoo on his chest is a deep black.

Out of the six figures in ML12, five have variants, including Iron Fist. When the mystical city of K'un-Lun was decimated in his abscence, Danny switched to a red costume to show his dishonor. The variant is wearing this alternate garb, but also has a battle-damaged mask that allows a bit of his hair to poke through. It's not a must-have, but if you're a big fan of the character, I bet you're thrilled to get the second version.

Danny has two accessories, translucent orange energy effects that suggest the focused chi that creates the power of the Iron Fist. One of the pieces is definitely designed to fit best on his left hand, which is sculpted in a flat "chopping" pose, while the other works equally well on either side. The sculpt is reminiscent of ML4 Gambit's playing cards, but the translucent plastic makes it work better.

There's one thing this figure is missing that should have been dead obvious: a Doop-stand to put him in all sorts of ninja poses! ML fans probably have a bunch of the things left over from ML10, so it would have been enough if he'd just had a hole in his back to accommodate one, but no. Your Iron Fist is grounded.

Marvel Legends 12 is "the Apocalypse Series," a return to the build-a-figure plan after ML11's "Legendary Riders." Iron Fist comes with Apocalypse's right leg, a 7½" piece that reveals just how big the assembled product will be - friggin' HUGE! It's detailed just like you'd expect, with the upper leg looking almost biological, but the knee, shin and foot definitely look technological. The leg moves at the toes, ankle, and double-jointed knee. There's also a cuff on the ankle that moves with the foot. The painted shadows are a bit heavy, but it's not really noticable under normal conditions, and will probably blend in totally once he's all together.

Iron Fist comes with a reprint of issue 8 of his eponymous comic. We get a recap of his origin and powers, which is exactly what is expected from these included comics. The story hasn't aged particularly well, but it's not terrible and introduces the character completely.

-- 03/22/06

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