Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Excited to hear about new content for Marvel vs Capcom 3. Who would have thought that such a whacked out concept would become so revered as far as fighting games went?

I think what I really love about Capcom’s efforts as far as this series goes is how evenhanded they’ve been. It’s like every character from both pantheons are lovingly crafted to give the best performance in a fighting game that they can. So you don’t end up with Ryu just obliterating every fighter that comes along (well, I mean, sometimes you do).

The point I’m trying to make is: most of the Capcom characters were made FOR fighting games. A couple of have been transported from other Capcom titles, but it would be easy to end up with a game where the Marvel characters looked cool but ultimately didn’t measure up to all the Capcom because they weren’t as well suited to fight. The Capcom designers have to do more than just make the Marvel characters look and feel like their comic book counter-parts: they’ve got to make them competitive with the Capcom fighters. And in this, I think Marvel vs. Capcom has been wildly successful in maintaining a balance that makes all three incarnations of the game worth playing.

Anyway, long story short: I’m pretty stoked that Iron Fist is going to be a playable character.

It’s funny to me how comic books go in eras. And for a long time Heroes for Hire were just never that interesting to me. Nowadays? Luke Cage is like the STAR of the Marvel Universe. He’s certainly got the spotlight in New Avengers. Danny Rand hasn’t quite broken out the same way yet I think, but he’s at least a more recognizable figure than some others that you run into.

I think if there’s one thing we’ve learned over time, however, it’s this. As a comic, Iron Fist works best when it’s its own THING. That is, as a superhero, Iron Fist is a moderately interesting character who at least adds a little razzle dazzle to the New Avengers. As the protagonist of his OWN comic--in his own sort of self-contained Iron Fist universe--Danny Rand is incredible.

Don’t believe me? Go pick up the Immortal Iron Fist omnibus. A collection of the comic’s re-launched modern volume, this moody and dark take on the mystical background of the legendary warrior tradition of the Iron Fist is a martial arts masterpiece.

Seriously Iron Fist is really at its coolest as a comic when it feels like you’re watching a Bruce Lee movie amped up to the power of three. In this sort of version of the Marvel universe, eastern sorcery, mystic gateways and crazy, over-the-top kung fu are what makes the world tick. Not superpowers, or mutants, or anything else. Cage, Misty Knight and other Heroes for Hire cameo to back Danny up, but mostly there’s more ‘harnessing your chi’ than any other central force at play.

For me, I think it takes a long time to grow up and appreciate how a character’s limitations make them cooler. The idea to me that Iron Fist could only use his move one time a day seemed lame to me as a kid. The fact that several versions of comics I’ve read involved Iron Fist storing up his attack and then missing the target didn’t do much to endear him to me. I mean, this was bound to happen sooner or later, but for some reason, I just never ended up with a comic in my hands where he landed an attack. Chance, maybe, that it turned out that way for me.

Immortal Iron Fist--featuring incredible, watercolorish panels by Spanish artist David Aja and co-written by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction--does this character justice like nothing else I’ve seen. The legendary and mystical background they provide is simply astonishing, demarcating Danny as the sixty-sixth Iron Fist to actually inherit the title. Moreover, it’s revealed that Danny is the champion warrior of one of seven hidden ‘Cities of Heaven’.

Each of the other city’s have their own champions. NOW imagine each of them have some SICK, over-the-top fighting maneuver (usually, only executable once per day). They’ve all got corresponding crazy names too like Fat Cobra or Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter. The Iron Fist is just one technique like this. And all seven of them fight in a big-@$$ martial arts tournament. I think you can see how the rest writes itself here.

Anyway, just to bring it all around.

Excellent pick for a fighting game, right? For that matter (and I know this is a pipe dream) but wouldn’t an Immortal Iron Fist fighting game be pretty incredible!? Cage and Misty could feature and everyone else could just be the ‘weapons’ featured in Immortal. I’d like to see Capcom put that together…