If nothing else, “Captain America and Iron Man” #635 is a sparkling example of what a team-up comic book should look like. Barry Kitson’s clean, strong style, fundamental storytelling and keen sense of detail props the titular tandem up in such a manner that they can’t help but appear heroic, even when the battle is complete. Although Iron Man spends half of the issue in a suit of cobbled armor, Kitson delivers upon expectations quite nicely and even makes Batroc moderately believable. I would have liked to see Kitson have the opportunity to give the characters more of a dynamic emotional range, but the story calls for a bunch of dour faces and scowls.
Colorist Javier Tartaglia has his work cut out from him considering the range of characters facing off against Cap and Iron Man stretches from Batroc to A.I.M. foot soldiers in the beekeeper outfits: pink, orange, yellow, red, white and blue — it’s almost like an explosion at a marker factory. Tartaglia’s highlights get a little extreme sometimes, but for the most his work melts into Kitson’s drawings, giving these pages a little more life. Joe Caramagna is equally adept in the range of dialog styles he puts down. Having different word balloon styles for M.O.D.O.K. and Iron Man certainly helps crisply define the characters.
I really want to like this book, but the writing isn’t always suited to my tastes. Cullen Bunn is competent and efficient in what he does, but Captain America and Iron Man feel more like shadows of the characters I expect to read. Complicating matters is the manner in which the two characters interact — a trademark hang-up for this series since it became a team-up title. Cap and Iron Man are easily two of the Avengers most familiar with one another, something the dialog fails to reflect. Rather than insert character moments to inspire humor and wit, it feels as though Bunn prefers to have the situation define the character.
Unfortunately “Captain America and Iron Man” #635 keeps the action and dialog a little too pedestrian and slightly antiquated with Tony Stark showing some chauvinistic tendencies. The book feels like it wants to be a good all ages read, but the wooden characters and conflict resolution info dump prevent it from being exceptional, regardless of target audience.