Tag Archives: Iron Man

Today’s Super Comics — The Ultimates #1-13 (2002-03)

ultimates_vol_1_1The original Ultimates series basically asked, “What would the Avengers be like in the real world?”

They’d be really messed up people, apparently, and hardly straightforward heroes.

Written by Mark Millar, it’s a more cynical take on the team than I’d normally like, but as a change of pace, it’s excellent and full of interesting ideas. The reinterpretation of Thor is particularly amusing—it’s ambiguous whether he’s actually the son of Odin or just a delusional hippie who happens to have powers. Also, when the team battles the Hulk in New York City, collateral damage is shown to be a real concern; super-action has consequences. And at one point, Nick Fury suggests Samuel L. Jackson should play him in a movie, several years before Jackson cameoed in the first Iron Man.

Artist Bryan Hitch creates exactly the right visual tone for this down-to-earth series. The art is detailed, and people look like people rather than cartoons.

The series is easily the second-best usage of Marvel’s Ultimate Comics imprint (after Ultimate Spider-Man, of course). Let’s just be thankful these aren’t the Avengers of the proper Marvel Universe or even the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Writer: Mark Millar

Penciler: Bryan Hitch

Inker: Paul Neary

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; The Ultimates: Ultimate Collection (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 15 and up

Today’s Super Comics — Iron Man #17-18 (1969)

Iron_Man_Vol_1_17Iron Man takes on a classic sci-fi trope—the invention rising up to replace the inventor. This wouldn’t be the last time Tony Stark’s technology causes trouble, but it’s the first time it happened in an exciting story that holds up pretty well compared to its contemporaries, thanks to the exceptional writing of Archie Goodwin, one of the all-time greats of the industry.

In an earlier issue, Tony made use of a Life Model Decoy (LMD) to help preserve his secret identity, but a freak accident causes the robot to come to life…and this time, it possesses the ambition to become both Tony Stark and Iron Man in the eyes of the world. It has his exact looks, all his knowledge, and none of his heart troubles, and it easily convinces people that the real Stark is actually the imposter. And in order to get his life back, Stark has to resort to working with new villain Madame Masque.

These two issues culminate in an Iron Man vs. Iron Man battle, with Tony donning his original, less sophisticated armor to fight the tireless LMD. And the victory is not without a cost.

Goodwin puts Tony through hell, and in doing so, he gives us one of the highlights of the late ‘60s.

Writer: Archie Goodwin

Penciler: George Tuska

Inker: Johnny Craig

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Essential Iron Man vol. 3 (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 9 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Ms. Marvel #6 (2016)

ms-marvel-6It’s only natural for teen superheroes to screw up from time to time, and in Ms. Marvel #6, Kamala screws up big time…literally big time.

Like many teenagers these days, she’s so over-committed that she’s trying to be in multiple places at once (also literally in her case). In doing so, she risks missing out on all the important things and winds up fighting a giant-sized clone of herself (maybe not so much like many teenagers).

I’m pleased to see that the series, as well as Kamala, values input from adult role models. Captain Marvel (her hero) and Iron Man (her boss in the Avengers) both show up. Their Civil War II tensions appear without much subtlety, but no knowledge of that storyline is required (I haven’t read it yet). Despite their differences, though, both adults genuinely care about Ms. Marvel … not only her career, but her personal well-being.

Such a fun series, with excellent heart at its foundation.

Writer: G. Willow Wilson

Artist: Nico Leon

Cover: David Lopez

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Ms. Marvel vol. 5: Super Famous (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 11 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Invincible Iron Man #11 (2016)

invincible_iron_man_vol_2_11This sure is a consistently entertaining series. I worry that Civil War II might have derailed it (I haven’t read that far yet), but it makes it through the second story arc with the quality intact.

In #11, Rhodey and the Avengers track down the missing-in-action Tony Stark, who’s gone undercover to investigate a new threat. Meanwhile, the task of saving Stark’s company from its own board falls to one Mary Jane Watson. And a teenage girl tests out the Iron Man–like suit of armored tech she built in her dorm room.

A lot going on, all of it fun, and enough remains unresolved to make a compelling case for reading #12.

It’s no secret that the aforementioned teenage girl, Riri Williams, will be taking over the book as Iron Maiden (while Doctor Doom becomes the Infamous Iron Man). Tony Stark is pretty inimitable as Iron Man, so I’m wary of replacements. But Riri, if approached as a new character rather than “the new Iron Man,” does show potential. A genius teenager who literally builds her own powers is prime comic book material. So I’ll keep an open mind.

In any case, Invincible Iron Man has been a thoroughly enjoyable read through this point.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Mike Deodato

Cover: Mike Deodato and Rain Beredo

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Comixology; included in Invincible Iron Man vol. 2: The War Machines (HC)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Invincible Iron Man #8 (2016)

invincible_iron_man_8In yesterday’s review, the kids bantered when Ms. Marvel dropped in on the younger Spider-Man. Now the adults banter when the older Spider-Man helps out Iron Man.

There’s nothing like a good team-up, and this…is a perfectly good team-up. Spidey provides the comic relief while Tony is preoccupied with trying to locate Rhodey, who happens to be fending off hi-tech ninjas at the moment. Meanwhile, Mary Jane rethinks her employment situation.

Pardon the lack of insightful commentary, but this one’s just fun and that’s that.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Mike Deodato

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Invincible Iron Man #7 (2016)

Invincible Iron Man 7Brian Michael Bendis writes Tony Stark and Mary Jane Watson talking for much of the issue. So of course you know it’s highly entertaining.

That might have been enough, but the issue also introduces an intriguing new villain, gives us a cameo of another new character who will play an important role, and makes room for Spider-Man and War Machine.

Everything I’ve previously said about this series still applies. It hasn’t let me down yet.

And don’t let the “Road to Civil War II” logo dissuade you if you’re averse to crossovers. The issue is entirely accessible if you’ve just been following this series.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Mike Deodato

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — The Invincible Iron Man #150 (1981)

Iron_Man_Vol_1_150Iron Man vs. Doctor Doom…in Camelot.

Yep, it’s classic comic book action that places its protagonist out of his element, doubly so. Not only is the electronically powered superhero stranded in a pre-electronics era, with no way to recharge his armor, but he also has to battle magical forces, which are basically the opposite of his comfort zone.

And Doctor Doom fits very well as an Iron Man foe, representing the dark side of technology. And yet he’s also perfectly comfortable with mysticism in a way Iron Man will never be, giving the bad guy a distinct advantage. (All of which is why Doctor Doom has been a welcome addition to recent Iron Man issues.)

The Invincible Iron Man #150 holds up as lots of fun, though it’s easy to picture how differently it would be written today. Tony Stark of the 1980s was much more Tom Selleck than Robert Downey Jr., and an adventure of this scale could easily fill six issues or more, rather than being set up in #149 and playing out in the double-sized #150.

As it stands, however, it’s a memorable time-travel story with a ridiculously fantastic premise and enjoyable execution. It’s not literature, but it sure is a wild ride.

Writer: David Michelinie

Penciler: John Romita, Jr.

Inker/Co-Plotter: Bob Layton

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; Iron Man vs. Doctor Doom: Doomquest (HC)

Appropriate For: ages 9 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Invincible Iron Man #6 (2016)

Invincible_Iron_Man_6Iron Man and Doctor Doom have breakfast together. How’s that for a compelling hook?

Just an ultra-quickie review this time, as The Invincible Iron Man’s stellar quality continues in the latest issue added to Marvel Unlimited. Not the latest-latest issue…I have this unfortunate allergy to paying $3.99 per issue. I remember the days of paying a buck and a quarter, gosh darn it!

James “War Machine” Rhodes joins the action this issue, and so does artist Mike Deodato, who can always be counted on to deliver aesthetically pleasing pages. The breakfast with Doom showcases writer Brian Michael Bendis’s flair for snappy dialogue, especially with Tony’s new romantic interest, Amara, thrown into the mix.

It’s a fun time all around, almost enough to help me overcome my $3.99 allergy. (Well, no, but maybe subscriptions are a better deal…?)

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Mike Deodato

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology

Appropriate For: ages 13 and up

Today’s Super Comic — The Avengers #32 (2012)

Avengers_Vol_4_32Brian Michael Bendis kicked off his nearly decade-long stint of writing the Avengers by demolishing the team in the “Avengers Disassembled” arc, so it’s fitting that his final storyline reunited the classic team and un-killed the Avengers’ original heroine.

Issue #32 is the second part of what we might as well call the “Bringing Wasp Back from the Dead” arc, though it’s technically dubbed “End Times.” The team’s roster has swelled considerably and branched off into two squads (maybe three if you count the Secret Avengers, but they’re secret, so…shhhh!), but here much of the focus narrows onto Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and Giant Man has they shrink into a micro-world to, they hope, find the Wasp and bring her home, like she’s Matt Damon or something.

So, if you don’t count the Hulk and if you want to grandfather Cap in, that means the story focuses on the original Avengers in all their original glory. Whether it’s due to the history or the characters’ chemistry, watching these five working together is always a treat.

In particular, Bendis’s lively characterization of the Wasp is spot-on, and the reunion scene is about perfect. Even at the end of his run (which finished two issues later), Bendis still had it.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Pencilers: Mike Mayhew and Brandon Peterson

Inker: Brandon Peterson

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Avengers vol. 5 (TPB) (2013)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Invincible Iron Man #5 (2016)

Invincible_Iron_Man_5I hereby continue my ringing endorsement of Bendis’s Iron Man series.

Issue #5 wraps up the first storyline. It maintains the same balance of character, action, and humor that made the first four issues so enjoyable—and David Marquez’s great art brings it all to life. Mary Jane Watson officially joins the cast, which is an excellent decision, though it’s a toss-up as to whether she or Doctor Strange gets the issue’s best moment.

I briefly wondered why Mary Jane and Tony Stark didn’t seem to know each other. I could’ve sworn they met in the early issues of New Avengers when Spider-Man joined that team … but of course Spidey and MJ were married at that point, and a deal with the devil has since erased their marriage from continuity (rest assured, I will not be including that particular storyline in this series of all-positive reviews). So Tony and MJ are meeting as strangers. On the bright side, a fresh start enhances the book’s accessibility to casual readers.

In any case…more, please. When does the collection of the second volume come out?

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: David Marquez

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Invincible Iron Man vol. 1: Reboot (HC)

Appropriate For: ages 13 and up