By Tobey Cook
In addition to continuing the story of present-day Iron Fist Danny Rand, IMMORTAL IRON FIST writers Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker have spotlighted numerous Fists of yore, pulling their stories from the pages of the Book of the Iron Fist. Now, with IMMORTAL IRON FIST #15, the focus rests solely on Bei-Bang Wen, a Chinese wielder of the Iron Fist power in a story titled "The Story of the Iron Fist Bei Bang-Wen—The Perfect Strategy Mind and his Miraculous Travels to the Dark Continent, and What Mysteries of the World and of the Self that He Learned There (1827-1860)."
After soaking up the sheer awesomeness of that title, we spoke to writer Matt Fraction about what's in store for Bei Bang-Wen, as well as a little bit about the issue's guest artist—Khari Evans.
"It's a self contained sort of fairy tale," says Fraction. "It's a lesson about partnership, teamwork, trust and faith. And fishing.
"It's the story of Bei Bang-Wen, who had a kind of intelligence-based application for the chi of Shou-Lao," adds Fraction. "When we last saw him—in IMMORTAL IRON FIST #3—he was about to die at the hands of the British empire. But as that would make a pretty depressing, and short, issue, we learn that death was only the beginning for him."
According to the scribe, this is also the first time the Perfect Strategy Mind has misled Bei Bang-Wen, so he doesn't know what to do. "He suffers a crisis of confidence as the British condemn him to a lifetime of hard labor in India. This is about the NICEST thing that happens to him for a good long time."
What about new and unexpected applications of the Iron Fist power? Can we expect some more surprises with Bei-Bang Wen? "We've seen some already in IMMORTAL IRON FIST," notes Fraction, "but we'll see how it first entered the Iron Fist knowledge pool here."
Also previously seen in IMMORTAL IRON FIST: artist Khari Evans, who contributed to IIF #7. Now in for the full issue's art chores, Evans has his hands full. Fortunately, Fraction's not worried. "Nothing's too big, nothing's too crazy, nothing's out of the question for Khari," he insisted. "His storytelling is tighter than the very tightest thing manufactured at the tightness factory."
Still on the fence? Fraction has a few choice tidbits that will surely sway your vote—and your wallet.
1. "Did you know there is a Hindu equivalent to Iron Fist?"
2. "Prepare to encounter the Worldsoul!"
3. "Also, buy two."
Sounds like some sage advice, folks. You can see just what Matt Fraction and Khari Evans have in store when IMMORTAL IRON FIST #15 slices and dices on May 28.