Publisher Marvel Comics
Writer Jason Aaron (Fat Cobra) Duane Swierczynski (Iron Fist back-up)
Art Mico Suayan and others (Fat Cobra) Travel Foreman and Stefano Guardino (Iron Fist)
Color Edgar Delgado and Others (Fat Cobra) June Chung (Iron Fist)
I think I didn’t like the origin of Fat Cobra. I say I think I didn’t like it because it should have been an impossibility for me not to have liked it. I have enjoyed the Iron Fist series, perhaps even more since Brubaker and Fraction left it, I love the Immortal Weapons themselves and Jason Aaron is writing probably the best comic on the stands in Scalped. So what happened to this book?
The premise is that Fat Cobra has indulged in so many drugs and drunk to excess that he no longer remembers how he got to where he is and he hires a writer to research his life. Now even throwing aside the improbability (even in a comic book) of a writer being able to access any records to validate what he says about Cobra and having access to hidden mythical cities and their records, the actual story demeans the character. Fat Cobra is in fact a rather vicious and nasty lout with few. If any redeeming qualities. They also retro-con a bunch of crap to show the Fat Cobra worked with Ulysses Bloodstone, Union Jack, fought underwater in Atlantis, was part of an eating contest in Olympus, taught Elvis to fight, fought alongside of Nick Fury and the list goes on and on. There is a part of me that thought this was really interesting and cool and another part of me that thought this was an easy and shallow story. Then we had the great love of his life after Cobra slept with any woman that was breathing and we had the “oh so cutesy” love making kung fu forms like “The Wheelbarrow of the Gods” and other such “clever” euphemisms.
Finally we learn Fat Cobra became the best fighter ever by killing all of his own children who came after him for being an absent father. The years of the hundreds of these children coming to kill him, allowed Fat Cobra to become a great fighter. Then he was finally ready to best the dragon then had defeated him twice before. After winning against the dragon he becomes the weapon for his city.
After learning his history does he become remorseful, sad or learn from his rather pathetic and amoral life? For a half a second, then he sends the writer home and orders a bunch of wine and finally burns the book.
It left me a pretty cold. I went from liking Fat Cobra to now thinking he is pretty much of a nothing person and if he dies so what. I can’t root for a guy who was so callous to others, especially his family. Even when he learns of it, he still believes in going back to a hedonistic life style. On some level I’m almost disturbed by the glowing reviews I have read here and there. Don’t get me wrong it was well written and the art was executed well. Also having a hero with feet of clay is almost de rigueur anymore, but this is more then feet of clay, it is a character that is a cartoon and a cartoon with no redeeming qualities. How am I suppose to care or root for this guy?
The entire book is rounded out giving us a chapter in an Iron Fist story that will run through all of the Immortal Weapons mini-series. The first chapter was okay, but this is not a story for the ages at this point. At least when you add this back up story into the package Marvel is giving us more then a decent page for our $4 and I can appreciate a bargain from that standpoint.
Overall Grade C – Well done book, but one that I thought diminished the character.