Comic Book Throwback Review – Power Man and Iron Fist #85 (Marvel Comics)

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Power Man and Iron Fist #85

Writer: Denny O’Neil
Pencils: Keith Pollard
Inks: Dave Simons
Colorist: Christie Scheele
Letterer: Michael Higgins
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Maturity Rating: Everyone

Journey to Earth’s core in this week’s Comic Book Throwback Review, in Power Man and Iron Fist #85. The Heroes for Hire come face to face with the Mole Man for the first time.


Deeper Underground in Power Man and Iron Fist #85

Here we are once again with another Comic Book Throwback Review. Today we are looking at one of my favorite series: the original Power Man and Iron Fist series, with Power Man and Iron Fist #85. I love, love, love the original Power Man and Iron Fist series, the “OG” Heroes for Hire. Just something about these two characters together is like peanut butter and jelly—they just fit together. Danny’s K’un-L’un training and chill attitude with Luke Cage’s strength and hard-as-steel skin and attitude…they are wonderful characters. Plus the more ’70s early-’80s setting is just perfect for them.

Power Man and Iron Fist #85 (Marvel Comics) cover by Carl Potts
Power Man and Iron Fist #85 (Marvel Comics) cover by Carl Potts

I don’t have a big epic story of how I acquired Power Man and Iron Fist #85. I just picked it up, probably a few years ago while looking at some back issues. This particular issue did grab me because they are battling the Mole Man. And this is a time period in comics when the Mole Man was taken as an actual threat in the Marvel Universe and not a joke. This is one wild story as well, as 18 wheelers are going missing and the Heroes for Hire are tasked with figuring out why,

King of the Road

Denny O’Neil starts off Power Man and Iron Fist #85 strong as an 18 wheeler barreling toward our heroes. Luke Cage and Danny Rand jump out of the way and proceed to save the truck driver and a bystander. Danny Rand, the Immortal Iron Fist, heals the lady bystander by giving her a “Ki massage”. Which, you know, I have never had a massage, but I am not sure that’s how you heal getting run over by a big truck?

This leads us to the rest of the story as we find out the man that hired our heroes is having trouble with his trucks and truck drivers disappearing along a certain route. Which seems like an odd job to hire two superheroes for. Like, maybe don’t go that route? But, you know, I guess it works out in the end. Anyway, Luke and Danny go incognito as truck drivers and hit the road. Danny doesn’t know how to drive a big rig, but Luke apparently learned at some point in time, giving Danny a crash course, which I would think would take more than five minutes. 

So, the two buddies hit the road for an adventure, get in more fights with truckers, and then get kidnapped by the Mole Man and his Moloids. Mole Man is just stealing these trucks just to have stuff. No real grand plan; he just wants pretty things. Who knew Mole Man was so materialistic? He also has several truck drivers held hostage. Danny and Luke save the drivers and defeat the Mole Man. And, most importantly, get paid!

The Coffee was Good an’ Besides, I’m Feelin’ Mean!

Power Man and Iron Fist #85 is a pretty fun one-and-done self-contained story by Denny O’Neil. He starts it off strong and the pace keeps your attention throughout. The dialogue is a ton of fun and is really part of the charm of why I like this series so much. Luke Cage’s aforementioned “The coffee was good an’ besides, I’m feelin’ mean” is a great ending line. Or Luke Cage proclaiming to some testy truck drivers that “Okay suckers, you’re dealin’ with three hundred pounds a’ steel-hard skin an’ strength to match”. It is just fun to read, with Danny boldly standing up to the Mole Man with “You want a show…You’ve got one”.

O’Neil writes the characters well and it is just a fun straight comic book/superhero story. Again, I say this a lot sometimes but, I mean, the story isn’t earth-shattering or going to change your worldview. It is just fun entertainment, and that is okay. It is some nice escapism and just a delightful read.

Turn the Page

The art is fantastic as well in Power Man and Iron Fist #85. Keith Pollard provides the pencils with Dave Simons on inks, Michael Higgins letters, and Christie Scheele provides the colors. I love the character work in this book. There are a lot of different characters, from our titular heroes, to a wealth of angry truck drivers, to the Mole Man and his Moloids. They are all wonderfully detailed and wildly animated. They all have this great cartooning to them that looks fantastic on the pages.

The clothing is well detailed and there is just solid detail throughout the issue. I love all the animation and storytelling that the art does through the characters’ faces. I like the structure of Power Man and Iron Fist #85. The story is told well through the layouts and visually helps the story unfold perfectly.

There is a great sense of movement in the issue as well. The action is laid out well and the art team does a good job of showing off our heroes’ powers. I like how Pollard shows Iron Fist’s more acrobatic skills. Having thin blue ink lines showing where he was and having his full character at the end of the panel—it is an inventive way to show movement on the pages as he attacks multiple foes. 

The coloring is very solid as well. For a book from 1982 printed on newspaper stock, Power Man and Iron Fist #85 is still very bright and vibrant as ever. Especially with characters that wear as much yellow as these two!

Hard Traveling

Power Man and Iron Fist #85 is, again, just a nice classic one-and-done superhero story that just about anybody can pick and enjoy. O’Neil does a great job of dropping the reader in, but even if you have never read any of these characters, you feel right at home. O’Neil brings that old adage home: every comic book is someone’s first. He tells us who these characters are and what they can do through the story and just makes it fun. The art is very animated and detailed in Power Man and Iron Fist #85. Great use of panels and some great action sequences throughout.

If you happen upon this book it is worth a read; 3 ‘Ki massages” out of 5.

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About the author

Brent Jackson

Brent is happily married and an avid comic book consumer who loves nothing more than the smell of comics in the morning and diving through a long box of back issues. By day he is a nutritionist and has also been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 10 years. He is probably not the coolest person you have ever met. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @brentjackson30

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