Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Review Catch-Up, Pt. I: All Iron Man Edition!

We're kind of all over the map here, but I wanted to get reviews out today before everyone stops reading for the last time, even if these comics are a bit dated in some cases. Ha! Ha! I am, of course, kidding. Ish.

OK, need to get the Iron Man stuff out of the way today, then the other reviews (Detective, Captain America, X-Factor, Green Lantern Corps, Jonah Hex, Checkmate, Birds of Prey) tomorrow. As always.... Massive Spoilers Ahoy!

IRON MAN #20 - #21

Well, on the one hand, #20 was the World War Hulk tie-in, and served zero purpose other than to illustrate that:

A) Dum Dum Dugan has a grudging respect for Tony Stark, which, you know, blah, and

B) Tony has a doomsday weapon that will level Manhattan and everyone in it should it come to that, which, you know, stupid.

Because we already know that Marvel's not killing off 95% of their heroes, and I don't think even Quesada would blow up two American cities in one year, right? RIGHT?!?

Which means this ish is a lot of pointless yammering between Dugan and Tony (who's captive and talking through his suit via his Stupid New Powers™. The only redeeming factor: I confess, I didn't know Dum Dum's real name was "Tim".

(Side Note: Then again, it might be funnier if it wasn't Tim, and Tony was just being a douchebag, intentionally calling him by a different wrong name every issue on account of the fact that the executive officer of SHIELD probably shouldn't have a name like Dum Dum if for no other reason than it's not really building public confidence, is it? See? Why aren't I writing Iron Man?)

(Additional Side Note: Yay! The run-on sentences are back!)

Buckle up and grab on tight, though, because reading the next issue (#21) right after this one is likely to give you whiplash, as we're yanked back into the Knauf's Mandarin storyline, there's no mention of WWH, Tony's still Director of SHIELD, etc. And two quasi-notable things happen here:

1) Graviton crushes an Initiative hero into a little ball made of hero and steel, which... Graviton? Someone decided we need to give Graviton some teeth? And didn't the Sentry throw him into the sun last year? I'm just baffled, because this is twice now that the Knaufs have used Graviton in their run, and we hadn't seen him once in like eight years before that.

2) Regular readers will note that I've generally liked the Knaufs' run thus far; this is true, but for the love of God get on with it, already. I know WWH intervened for a couple months, but it's taking far too long to get to some supervillain bashing, and frankly I'm getting bored with SHIELD.

That said, the stuff showing how Gadget (the smushed hero ball I mentioned earlier)'s death affect Tony is pretty well done, and the Maya Hansen reveal (she's working for Mandy now) is an interesting move, though I can't help but feel that they wasted two potentially good supporting characters for Tony too early (and, let's not forget, they killed Happy Hogan.)

Best Moment: I really can't think of one, for either comic, and that's not a good thing.

Worst Moment: Hey, look everybody! Tony Stark has a doomsday weapon! And Tim Dugan is the only one he trusts to employ it, which.... WTF? Avenger much, Tony? I can smell the lazy writing from here! (Also: "Tim".)

Comic Book Goodness: 1/5, but there's hope for the future. As much as I like the WWH main event, the two IM tie-ins have been wastes of issues, and Mandarin storyline needs to get going yesterday.

So, that's the state of in-continuity Iron Man. On the other hand...


Joe Casey writes, Eric Canete draws, and while I'm not sure what the point is (which, sadly, is a feeling I get with most of Casey's Marvel work) , it's charming in its own way.

Basically updating the Mandarin's origin story, but in a way that we don't even see most of it (!), this shows Iron Man being asked to investigate some mysterious new power broker in China (guess who), Mandarin telling the Chinese government that he's more powerful than they are (and that takes waaaaaaay too long), and IM and Mandy getting ready to throw down by issue's end.

I mentioned early on that it's charming, right? That's due almost entirely to Eric Canete's artwork, which is so different from your standard superhero fare that it reminds me more of something you'd see in Mad Magazine, believe it or not (and I'm thinking of a specific MAD artist, but damned if I can remember his name). And I think it works beautifully, really setting itself apart style-wise.

Best Moment: Seeing Tony, Happy, Pepper and company interacting like we're used to seeing them, back in the day. This is definitely old-school.

Worst Moment: That whole pissing match between Mandy and the Chinese generals could have (and probably should have) been done in one page.

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. Interested to see how they're getting 6 issues out of this, I love the artwork, and it's old-school Iron Man. Yeah, I'm on board.

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Anonymous Kanedoras said...

Graviton did slaughter most of the not-Thunderbolts Thunderbolts back around T-bolts 55, including crushing the Ringer's daughter into a ball. Nicieza called it the most shocking decimation of a superhero team ever, though I suppose two of the deaths were undone. So I guess some people have tried giving him teeth before.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Solstar said...

quote:fare that it reminds me more of something you'd see in Mad Magazine, believe it or not

i think it refers to the 50's vision of the future,or the rocketeer,which is VERY(if not blatantly)similar....

7:53 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Kanedoras: Ah, see, that's what I get for not reading Thunderbolts! Thanks!

Solstar: I'm with you on the Rocketeer thing, but it's in particular the elongated feet of Iron Man that Canete draws that reminds me of a specific MAD Magazine artist. Damned if I can remember who, though.

8:25 AM  
Blogger KAHNEHTEH said...

Thank you for the kind review of the first issue. I am always paranoid as to how my work will be perceived, but you make being stylistically different a boon rather than a curse. Much appreciated. Though this the first time I've ever been compared to a MAD Magazine artist - a compliment for sure.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Holy Crow, Eric, thanks for checking in! Yeah, I thought the art definitely set it apart in a good way, and look forward to seeing more of it!

7:55 AM  

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