Retro Review: Marvel Premiere #15

by Jason Laframboise on March 17, 2017

Written by: Roy Thomas
Art by: Gil Kane

Okay right off the bat, I have to admit there are some biases on this review. For one thing the book's artist is Gil Kane who's work for DC during the 60s are some of my favourite comics of all time. The writer is Roy Thomas. I'm going to write a blog about how Roy has influenced me, but let's put it this way when I realized I couldn't draw so I could never be Jack Kirby, I wanted to be Roy Thomas. With that out of the way, today's retro review is Marvel Premier #15 the first appearance of Danny Rand, Iron Fist who's Netflix show premieres today. Unless you are reading this in the future. In which case the show is on Netflix right now!

We have a cover date of March 1974, published in May. The book opens with action right away, as Iron Fist fights his way through some lower level, umm karate guys. He wants to challenge the leader Yu-Ti. So we get Iron Fists origin in flashback. Iron Fists father leads Danny, Danny's mother and his business partner in search of the mysterious K'Un-Lun mountain, and the business partner of course murders him(saw it coming) and leaves young Danny and his mother for dead. Back in the present Iron Fist fights  Shu-Hu as his next challenge. As he is nearly beaten luckily Iron Fist starts day dreaming the rest of the origin story where Danny's mother sacrifices herself to save Danny. Back in the present the fight has an expected outcome, with a twist, and we end on a cliffhanger. The last words in the story is a dedication of the story to Bill Everett who died in February of 73.

Gil Kane's art is awesome. He adds a lot of life to the action scenes. The framing of the panels is really good with some of the panels just popping out of pages. The style is just so different from today's comics, the colours are bright and the pages have life. The books today just seem so dark and muddy in comparison.

It pains me to be critical of one of my heroes, but at times Thomas falls into the post Stan Lee writing era of Marvel, where writers are using the same Lee style of over the top flowery prose. It feels like we are reading poetry instead of a comic book. Besides that tiny criticism, it was a really well written issue. It mixed enough emotion with high level action. Newer comics really suffer from decompressed story telling, this was like reading 3 comics in one as far the sheer amount of words to read.

Overall it was a fun issue to revisit. I've never really been into Iron Fist, so I'm glad the series coming out led to me reading this. I actually didn't know that this was the creative team behind the book. It was good fun read and if you get a chance to pick it up or have Marvel Unlimited go ahead and give it a read.

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