I don't know too much about the Iron Fist mythos (please don't beat me up for not reading Brubaker or Fraction's Iron Fist run), so everything about this book: the history of Iron Fist and the guardians of K'un Lun is completely new to me; however, that being said, I really enjoyed this issue.
I've always liked Iron Fist, and to a person who doesn't know too much about him, this is a nice step into the history of that character, and more so, the mantle of that character. It's cool to see that the power of Iron Fist is something that may be able to take on the power that is the Phoenix Force, and in this issue, you catch a glimpse that maybe the Iron Fist can absorb the Phoenix Force, or does the Force absorb the Iron First?
This book is all about the fantastic art from Mike Deodato and Will Conrad. It's filled with giant two-page spreads, splash pages, and giant panels that take over the page and will blow you away with great, detailed art, and a whole bunch of the color orange. These pages all occur when Yu Ti is having visions. On the non-vision side of things, the art is still great. Colors are a bit washed out, and the pacing is slow, a complete opposite of Yu Ti's visions. I loved the variation between these moments.
This is a fantastic tie-in! You don't have to read this issue to understand what's going on in AvX, but it should give a nice back story to where the events of the main book could be headed. I like that this isn't an essential read for the overall arc, and even on its own, New Avengers 25 works as a great issue, regardless of whether or not it's a tie-in.
You will FLY through this issue in no time. There isn't as much dialogue, compared to other books on the shelves, so be prepared for that. The pay off is Mike Deodato and Will Conrad's art.
This isn't an Avengers issue. It doesn't even contain any of them, and the solicit states that Iron Fist learns the connection between these two forces, but the problem is, Iron Fist only appear on the cover of this issue and no where else. It's horribly misleading.
I loved this issue, tie-in or not. There's some great new history to the world of Iron Fist added in here, and I love where the story is going. The art is stellar throughout the issue, and you'll want to read it over and over just for that. This is also a great tie-in to the overall arc of AvX. It's not essential info, but it gives a nice background to where we think AvX may lead us.
On the down side of things, you'll read through this incredibly quickly. It's mainly art and not a lot of dialogue. Also, this book doesn't have any of the Avengers in it, not even Iron Fist, and the solicit is very misleading.
Take this book for what it is, an issue about the mantle of Iron Fist, if you can get past the fact that it has nothing to do with the Avengers, and it would be so much better as a mini-series tie-in, you'll enjoy the heck out of it. Overall, I recommend the issue. It was great.