By Andy Frisk
Aug 8, 2009 - 22:52
Iron Man and the Armor Wars is a new 4 issue mini-series chronicling the adventures of Tony Stark/Iron Man after he relocates to Los Angeles, and remakes Stark Industries into a non-weapons manufacturing company. Tony was the greatest weapons maker “on the planet” according to his best friend Jim “Rhodey”
Are you confused, readers of Marvel Comics and followers of Iron Man’s current adventures? Don’t be. This series has nothing to do with anything that has to do with the current Invincible Iron Man title or Dark Reign. Iron Man and The Armor Wars is a completely free standing and continuity free mini-series. It’s an adventure based on elements from the Iron Man movie (where Tony Stark is a billionaire playboy genius with a heart), the old West Coast Avengers series (where Tony was based on the West Coast), and a bit of the early Iron Man tales’ defining Cold War origin roots thrown in (with the appearance of The Crimson Dynamo and a character resembling The Red Barbarian from way back in Tales of Suspense #42). With the subtitle of Armor Wars, we also get a reference and homage to the many “Armor Wars” storylines that have been told throughout Iron Man’s many years in publication in comic books. These storylines have defined, and subsequently redefined, Tony Stark/Iron Man as a character and concept many times.
Basically, what we’re getting here with Iron Man and The Armor Wars is an Iron Man tale that is familiar to long term Iron Man readers, but completely fresh and accessible to new readers of ole’ shellhead’s adventures. This series looks to mix all of the best elements of every major Iron Man story (including elements from the feature film), and present a tale that captures all of what is best about the Iron Man mythos. Judging from the first issue, it succeeds in this goal.
Iron Man and The Armor Wars #1 is an easy to follow read that will appeal to all ages, and particularly younger readers. There’s only one rather harsh scene, but it’s not overly violent or even completely shown. The plot is easy to follow, but not simplistic. Rousseau’s art is cartoonish without being silly. It’s not incredibly detailed, but not boring. Staples’ colors are sharp, crisp, and pretty simple, but that’s the goal. The coloring definitely is cartoonish, but that’s not a bad thing as it’s a simpler book than the current Iron Man ongoing books. The bright colors will appeal to a wide age range of readers as well, and again, especially younger ones. Older readers shouldn’t scoff at this style as bright shiny colors appeal to a sense of nostalgia for the old days of simple color schemes, and a time before comic books in general became dark, literally and figuratively. It’s a comic book that can be given to the younger kids without worry, as it’s no more violent or dark than many Saturday morning cartoons (well, there aren’t many Saturday morning cartoons left, but you get the idea).
While not exactly breaking new ground, nor exactly retreading the past, Iron Man and The Armor Wars is a nice introduction to Tony Stark and his superhero identity Iron Man for younger readers who may not have picked up an Iron Man title before, and older readers who just don’t want to have to worry about a lot of continuity. It also serves to help keep Iron Man a more visible presence on the comic shops’ shelves while stoking the flames of interest in the character in anticipation of Iron Man 2, due next year.
Rating: 7.5 /10