By Hervé St-Louis
February 17, 2009 - 21:58
Tony Stark and Maria Hill are on the run and the number one targets of Norman Osborne, the new director of H.A.M.M.E.R., the agency replacing S.H.I.E.L.D. that used to be under Stark’s control. Osborne is after Stark’s technology and he’s willing to use every means to get it. But Stark has one last ace up his sleeve, and that is the ultimate Iron Man armour ever created and that can only be manned by someone with enhanced abilities. But if Stark has to erase his mind to achieve his goal, he will.
It’s rare to read a series where some themes are continuously explored seamlessly without readers noticing much. So far, if there are one or two words to describe this new Iron Man series, it’s armour wars. This theme has made Iron Man great in the past and Fraction understands that. Whereas the previous armour wars in this series focused on the contraband of Stark’s technology, this current one is about appropriation of that technology through force, instead of deceit.
This type of conflicts allows Tony Stark to shine as a character and make readers forget that Iron Man doesn’t even show up in action in several issues. I also like the tension about Stark wanting to erase his mind. Of course it’s hard to believe and I keep wondering where he really wants to go with his wild but well calculated plot. The one complaint that I have about this issue is the lack of explanation of where the Iron Man suit that Osborne appropriated to himself fits in. In Dark Avengers, he discovered a haul full of Iron Man armour, yet in this issue Hill tries to destroy a similar vault containing older prototypes.
Larroca is a great artist that brings the human dimension of this story of a wider scale. He succeeds as well in drawing human interactions as big battle armour. Colourist D’Armata has to be mentioned for the way in which he channels the colour palette of French cartoonist Mœbius. It gives the book a realistic look mixed with some slight fantasy, informing the reader that this is not all real, but a comic book.
Rating: 10 /10