Comic Review: All Things Iron Man

It’s been a really long time since the last comic blog and I finally got over to The Realm to pick up my stack. The nice thing about not reading too many titles is that even after almost two months of not picking up my books I only had nine in my box.

I won’t be reviewing all nine in this blog – that would be insanity!!!!! Instead I’m going to break them up over three blogs:

  1. All Iron Man! Invincible Iron Man #16, War Machine #8 & Iron Man Armor Wars 1 of 4
  2. Unsung Comics That Are Awesome! (That title may change) It will cover the final issue of Captain Britain & MI13 #15 & Agents of Atlas #8. This will be up in a couple days.
  3. A Bunch of Avengers Books: The New Avengers #55, The Mighty avengers #27, Avengers: The Initiative #26 & Young Avengers: Dark Reign 3 of 5. This will be up a few days after the last.

So let’s get down to it!

Eisner Award Winner For Best New Ongoing Series The Invincible Iron Man #16: I love this creative team! Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca continue the “World’s Most Wanted” storyline exactly where it left off last issue: Pepper Potts was tied up after being tortured by Madame Masque, Tony had been knocked to the floor and incapacitated, and Masque was forcing Tony to tell her whether or not he had truly loved her back when they were an item. She’s completely obsessed going so far as to try and blow them all up just because Tony no longer loves her. It’s the little details that make me enjoy this run so much. It was, literally, decades ago that Tony Stark and Madame Masque were the most conflicted couple since Batman and Catwoman. Her father was Count Nefaria – yes as in “nefarious” – who was a MAJOR Avenger’s villain. Madame Masque was a major player in the Iron Man books from issue number one back in 1963. In the late 80’s, during the dark times of editor negligence, she fluctuated between being a clone, going completely good and becoming a bad guy again – she (or her clone) even joined an Avengers team for a short while. I’ve been really pleased as Fraction digs deep into the Iron Man mythos to bring these characters back. Right now every major player in this story arc either got their start in, or was a major player in Iron Man comics: Madame Masque, Pepper Potts, The Black Widow, The Controller(!), The Crimson Dynamo, even Maria Hill – a new character but one who is explicitly linked to Iron Man’s current situation.

Speaking of Maria Hill and The Controller, it is so impressive to see how scary this character is now. Maria is still suffering from the effects of The Controller’s slave disk and she is not well. We’ve never seen the effects of a slave disk represented so well and it continues to be good story telling. Whatever demons are in her past seem to be coming to the surface. It is really rounding out the Maria Hill character making her someone that I care and want to read about.

Now on to my complaints.

Story wise I feel like this is being “written for the trade.” Although I really enjoyed this part of the story, it was just that – a part of the story. I was left wanting more and not in the “Oh boy! I can’t wait for next month!” more like, “Really, we leave off here? Couldn’t we get just a bit more?” Also, I think a couple scenes were re-ordered. If they weren’t then I feel like the story telling was clunky. I refer you to the scene’s with Black Widow and Maria Hill. Did anyone else think that the shower scene was intended to happen before the table scene? It also makes more sense since the Black Widow left then to go have the hard drive examined.

By the way, I’m writing down this prediction right now – although I’ve assumed this since it was first mentioned: I think that hard drive is a back up of Tony’s brain a la the “Hypervelocity” mini-series. Just putting that out there.

My remaining complaints are art related and really just seem like the proof reader was rushing the job. The first is a clear error when Madame Masque takes off her mask. It looks like her eyes are attached to the mask and can also be seen correctly positioned on her face in the same frame. To me it looks like a Photoshop mistake. And on the last page, as Iron Man flies away in the classic armor, his shoulders are colored red even though they shouldn’t be and weren’t just a page before. These are minor, but I noticed it and I don’t want to notice it. Still, over all, the emotional impact and characterization in this story are fantastic and I’m so looking forward to seeing how it all plays out!

War Machine #8: I know, I know I said I would drop this title. I still might. I’m really conflicted on this book. Greg Pak writes and Leonardo Manco on art. I had a small discussion at my LCS about how Greg Pak is usually really good about coming up with things that are new and different on the titles that he writes however, although this is new and different, I’m really not a fan. The West Coast Avengers show up in this issue to stop Rhodey from going after Stark in a jumbo jet. Yes, I said the West Coast Avengers – even though Ronin, Mockingbird, Tigra and Wonderman are tossed to the four winds in continuity right now. And they show up in a Quinjet! The Dark Avengers barely have a Quinjet and none of the other Avenger teams do for sure! All geek bitching aside, it was nice to see the West Coast team back together. Maybe when the Dark Reign is over that might happen for good?

So the Ultimo storyline continues, still, in this issue. Turns out it was MORGAN Stark not Tony Stark who was responsible for the whole Ultimo fiasco. Morgan is the “evil” Stark cousin who was all kinds of annoying back in the 60’s and 70’s. Every decade or so they try to bring him back, but he never proves to be much of a villain. Even in this he’s just a red herring who then turns into the Ultimo – spoiler – and then blows up – another spoiler. What really turns me off from this series is the fact that two other characters are flying around in War Machine armors, Bethany Cabe and Jake Oh. I know where Jake got his armor (issue #7) but where’d Bethany’s come from?! So, yeah, things blow up, Rhodey gets compromised by the Ultimo stuff and Norman Osborn shows up on the last page in the Iron Patriot armor acting like he’s going to save the day.

I don’t want to sound like a petty fan boy, but I don’t have a lot of extra money so the next issue needs to impress for me to keep picking this up.

Iron Man and the Armor Wars 1 of 4: Written by Joe Caramanga, art by Craig Rousseau and covers by Skottie Young. I found out about this book by accident. I actually thought it was the Ultimate Comics Armor War that will be coming out in a month or two and was surprised that Skottie Young, who just finished up a great version of “The Wizard of Oz,” was doing the covers. When I finally picked this up I thought it was cool that it was a 616 Iron Man story from back in the late 80’s when Stark Enterprises was in California and Stark was flying around in the Neo-Classic armor. It really felt like one of those old stories when Tony was still both a playboy and on top of the corporate world. There were a few changes, though. Where was Mrs. Arbogast? At that point in Stark history Pepper and Happy Hogan were off on the East Coast. What about the rest of the supporting cast from back then? I’m hoping they’ll show up in future issues. The conflict comes when all of the Iron Man armors are stolen by the Russians led by Crimson Dynamo and then Doctor Doom shows up. I know, totally confusing, but that’s what issue #2 is for! The art is fun and cartoony, like the old Marvel Comics Presents they used to do in the early 80’s. This is a series for the Iron Fanboy more than the casual reader, but if you are a long time Iron Man reader I suggest checking it out.

See you tomorrow!

1 Comment

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One Response to Comic Review: All Things Iron Man

  1. Just an FYI, in regards to War Machine, issue #12 is the final issue of the series.

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