SDCC 2010: POWER MAN & IRON FIST: Reunited For The 1st Time

Van Lente on POWER MAN & IRON FIST

Power Man and Iron Fist are back together, and in the immortal words of Foreigner, "it feels like the first time." Well, it is. The new Power Man hasn’t even made his official debut yet, and he’s already starring in two different series. His introduction’s coming in August as part of the four-issue crossover tie-in Shadowland: Power Man, from Fred Van Lente and Mahmud Asrar. Then during Thursday’s “Mondo Marvel” panel at Comic-Con International: San Diego, it was announced that Van Lente will be bringing the character back in January along with Wellinton Alves for a five-issue Power Man & Iron Fist miniseries.

The original Power Man, Luke Cage, forged a famous partnership with Iron Fist in the ‘70s that has lasted to this day, in the pages of New Avengers. Clearly, this team has a lot to live up to, so Newsarama consulted Van Lente via e-mail on what makes the new Power Man & Iron Fist different than the old, how this comic is similar to his work on Incredible Hercules and why new characters are vital to the overall health of the Marvel Universe.

Newsarama: Clearly, it looks like the new Power Man and Iron Fist will be teaming up post-Shadowland. How is their relationship similar to that of Iron Fist and the original Power Man — and alternately, how is it meaningfully different?

Fred Van Lente: The great thing about Power Man and Iron Fist in their heyday is that Danny Rand is in many ways a kind of an otherworldly innocent — in addition to his vast riches he was brought up in the mystic isolation of K'un L'un. Luke Cage, on the other hand, had seen a lot of hardship in his life — having been convicted for a crime he didn't commit, and running a rough Hero for Hire office out of Times Square. They complemented each other quite nicely, as friends and sparring partners.

The new Power Man, Vic Alvarez, is much younger than Cage — about 15, but he is in many ways vastly more powerful than Luke, with his ability to absorb chi and generate his explosive punches.

Nrama: So given the age difference, is Iron Fist's relationship with him more of a paternal or mentor one, rather than the equal partners Luke and Danny are? I'm sure Danny is interested in seeing the new Power Man "earn" the right to use the name.

Van Lente: Exactly. Except Vic doesn't think he need a tutor, much less one as ethereal as Danny, so a lot of fun banter will result from that — to a certain degree the dynamic will be similar to the one between Herc and Amadeus in Incredible Hercules.

Nrama: Is the partnership something that they're both kind of game for, or, if you can reveal this without spoiling much, are circumstances bringing them together?

Van Lente: A little bit of both. There's a new alignment of the streets post-Shadowland that make Iron Fist and Power Man realize they — and New York — would be better off as they paired as partners rather than adversaries.

Nrama: What about the goals of the partnership — originally, Power Man and Iron Fist were heroes for hire. What's motivating Iron Fist and the new Power Man?

Van Lente: They are Heroes for Hire, but they work specifically for Danny's Rand Corporation, headed by his former HfH secretary Jennie Royce. Part of Rand Corporation's mission is to free falsely convicted people from prison, and Danny has a very personal stake in this one, because his former ally El Aguila seems to have been framed for murder. (Or was he?) This first arc, “Men of Mystery,” follows Danny and Vic's quest to clear his name.

Nrama: What kind of conflicts are they going to be going up against in the five-issue series? Any specific villains can you discuss?

Van Lente: Brand-new villains for brand-new characters — including Don Pagliacci and his Commedia del'Morte and the mysterious, beautiful Noir — as well as returning PM&IF supporting cast members like Professor Gambit and the Black Tiger. Plus, a new love interest for Vic Alvarez — and Danny and Misty Knight might just take their own relationship up a notch.

Nrama: How important is it, to you, to continue to populate the Marvel Universe with new characters like Vic Alvarez? It seems a lot of times new characters pop up and then aren't heard from again, but now we see the new Power Man already in a new miniseries following his introduction in Shadowland.

Van Lente: It's very important to Marvel to keep these new characters in circulation, and it's a great vote of confidence Power Man is getting a new mini when his first hasn't even come out yet. Since Luke hasn't used the name in decades it seemed like a good opportunity to introduce a new hero of color to the Marvel Universe, which is awesome. And these various new characters — The Hood, [Michael Avon] Oeming's Ares, Lyra the Savage She-Hulk, et cetera — will stick around as long as creators want to keep working with them.

Nrama: Will the original Power Man play a role in this series at all?

Van Lente: Oh, yes. Luke has a vested interest in seeing the Power Man name is continued on with dignity. And Danny and Vic will need his help — for their investigation leads them to the Penance Corporation, the for-hire prison company that has taken the place where Luke got his powers, Seagate Penitentiary, for not-so-savory reasons.

Nrama: You're re-teaming with Wellinton Alves for this. Is that a heartening prospect, getting to start in on a new project with someone that you're already familiar with?

Van Lente: I was thrilled when (editor) Bill (Rosemann) told me he got Wellinton to do the project. I thought he blew the barn doors off our Zombie Avengers story from Marvel Zombies Return, and he'll really bring a gritty feel to this street-level noir action of this project.

Is the time right for a new Power Man & Iron Fist?

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