POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #3
Written by David Walker
Art by Sanford Greene & Lee Loughridge
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: April 20, 2016
So maybe this particular dynamic duo is getting played.
Luke is busy working through his closet as he and Danny try to get to the bottom of the issue of Jennie and Black Mariah, while Jessica is busy giving some real talk to the reluctant pair. As they learn about the Supersoul Stone and its legacy, events begin to unfold that reveal the truth about their friend and the mystical energies coursing through her body.
Let’s be real: Power Man and Iron Fist #3 is yet another great story grounded in a viscerally cultural understanding of how people work. Luke remains the voice of reason while Danny feels unencumbered by reality and they’re both just trying to sort out what mess they’ve gotten themselves into. The comedic interplay between the titular characters, as well as others throughout this issue, help to push the story in a way that combines levity and humor with rather chaotic mystical forces. There are so many things to unpack about this issue, from the recognition that culturally Black elements often go unnoticed or ignored by White people to the fact that even speech and dialogue conveys important cultural considerations about Black people that White people may not be quick to notice.
David Walker has crafted a story that is complex not only in its use of humor, but in the parallels between characters in the story. Luke as the grounding force and Danny as the free-spirit demonstrates the relationship between these two friends that is rather unexpected. The inclusion of Tombstone’s henchman juxtaposed with Luke and Danny’s interactions helps to propel the plot while also expressing a subtle comedy that makes this issue more enjoyable. Walker also instills a culturally rich atmosphere within the story that sets it apart from other cape comics, revealing the importance of diversity of characters and creators.
Stylistically, this issue is rough, and that’s exactly the touch it needed. Sanford Greene’s pencils capture the rough and chaotic nature of the story, especially involving Jennie, without forgetting to employ a more docile tone in quieter parts of the issue. The scenes with an increasingly powerful and gruff Jennie are messy and clouded, expressing her growing disorientation and might, and other scenes feel much more quiet. Greene has created an ambience within this issue that is both parts everyday and hectic, further emphasizing the disparate parts of this chapter’s plot. Lee Loughridge shines with rusty sheens and muted schemes that further enhance the art. Less is more with Loughridge’s colors, as they give each scene a distinct feel made to capture their unique elements separate from the others throughout the issue.
So let’s talk Jessica Jones. She’s more prominent in this issue, but to the same bent of the previous two. Initially I was disconcerted about her being more firmly put into the ‘nagging’ territory, further supporting the need for a solo series for her, but my second read revealed something different. As I saw her dialogue, I thought, “She seems familiar.” Then I realized: She’s my mom. More than that, she’s many Black women I know. This isn’t to say that Black women are a nagging stereotype, but she has many behaviors, speech patterns, and mannerisms that fit Black women in various parts of my life. Thus, Jessica feels like a Black-coded White woman, which means that calling her a “nagging housewife” is not as simple as we thought before. She reminds me of real Black women I’ve met, which further complicates the narrative that surrounds her. It’s something many people may not realize or get, but considering we have a Black man at the pen of this series, it makes sense and it’s worth investigating.
While initially I wanted something different for Jessica Jones in the context of this series, and still do, I also understand why she would be characterized the way she is. Power Man and Iron Fist #3 is the continuation of a narrative that is wholly distinct from the rest of cape comics because it has a feel that is uniquely cultural, something we don’t often see. I appreciate the fact that it feels like something I grew up with and the people remind me of the Black people I grew up with in my daily life and that I saw in Black-created media. This series is a gem that I’m not sure many people see, and this issue further cemented that reality.
The Verdict: 9.0/10