Written by Joe Caramagna
Art by Craig Rousseau
Looking for an easy Iron Man story to get into, one that doesn’t involve immense knowledge of the character or carry baggage from the last few years? Then this book is for you.
The premise of the book is seeing what would happen if someone stole all of the Iron Man armors and turn them against Tony Stark. This happens fairly quickly, as all the armors disappear and Tony faces the first of his stolen suits before the issue’s end. Quick is good, considering this is only a four-part miniseries. It’s well-paced, as everything happens so fast and is still easy to follow.
This feels like a summer blockbuster. Within its compact space, action and comedy are balanced decently throughout the issue. We start with some Iron Man action, but the bad guy of the moment is really a joke. Even during a sour mood after the armor theft, Tony snaps back into his playful self. Soon thereafter, Tony gets right back into action mode with a stolen suit attack, ending with a surprise appearance at the end of the issue.
Also like a summer blockbuster, story isn’t particularly deep. It’s very much what you see is what you get. That isn’t necessarily a problem. This title seems to take place before Tony reveals himself to the world as Iron Man, before all of Civil War, being director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the current manhunt he’s under. Marvel proper Tony Stark is buried deep within events built up over the last several years. Despite opinions on Marvel proper’s treatment, it’s nice every now and then to take a break and enjoy a story that gets back to the basics and plays from there.
Speaking of summer blockbuster, this book definitely keeps the popularity of the 2008 Iron Man movie in mind. Tony Stark moves to Los Angeles to match the setting and takes Pepper, Rhodey and Stark Industries with him. Tony also maintains his playboy persona and his passionate anti-weapons attitude. However, the book also stays true to its comic roots, keeping with the original cover story of Iron Man being Tony Stark’s bodyguard and having classic comic Iron Man armors show up in the background. Only the lightest familiarity of the differences between the comic and the movie would suffice any newcomer from the movie popularity to this title, making it an easy transition to the comic world.
Despite the title being Iron Man and the Armor Wars, the cover just has the Iron Man logo with a Armor Wars subtitle. Just keep in mind that this is not a re-release or remake of the 1980s Armor Wars story. There are similar themes, mostly being Tony going after people using his technology, although it’s just using Iron Man tech in the ‘80s, as opposed to flat out stealing and using his armors in this book. While we don’t know how the book will end up, for now it’s probably best for those familiar with the ‘80s story to not let that influence opinions or expectations of this one.
The art has a very animated look. The colors are very bright and vibrant. Some of the expressions are exaggerated. Characters’ features are fairly angular. The drawings are uncomplicated, from the character designs to the background. Even the color shading is simple with relatively few tones. The style is somewhat reminiscent of Image’s Invincible, ironic considering Iron Man’s oft-used descriptive adjective. It reflects the more relaxed feel found here versus the more detailed and realistic art found in the more complex monthly Marvel proper Invincible Iron Man.
With that said, the art isn’t necessarily great. A slight bit more detailing could have been used. While the simple style fits the story, there could have been some clean up here and there, add some definition to some important characters further into the background.
The art also makes a nod to the 2008 movie. In the one panel showing the exterior of Tony’s home, it looks quite similar to the home used in the movie. Otherwise, the art stays fairly grounded to the comics, from the Iron Man armor designs to even the design of the classic character appearing at the end.
One little oddity, a possible inconsistency that you occasionally see in some super hero books, is the blank white eyes on a mask with eye slots. One panel early in the book, you can see Tony Stark’s blue eyes through the helmet’s eye slots. When the helmet is off, the slots are empty. Otherwise, they’re plain white. While it’s nice to see the eyes through the iron mask to re-enforce the humanity inside, it’s kind of silly for the slots to be randomly open instead of having whatever visor interface down, not only for readouts but also for eye protection.
Another little slip up is the fuzz ball under Tony’s lower lip disappearing every now and then. I doubt Tony had time to shave during attacks, much less time to grow back parts of facial hair in full. He manages to keep the moustache on throughout the story though.
Iron Man and the Armor Wars is a fun and easy read for a character otherwise engrossed within the endless drama of Marvel’s big events. The art is decent enough and fits the mood of the work. It’s a good start to a short summer series.
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10