This book hovers somewhere in between the Marvel Adventures universe and the Marvel feature films universe. Tony Stark, as he is depicted here, has a bit of the scoundrel that Robert Downey, Jr. portrayed on the silver screen while also seeming altruistic in his quest to avoid creating weapons. The title quickly gets away from the Marvel Adventures side of things when one of the foes Stark faces is terminally punished for his inability to capture or kill Stark. Caramagna (if the name seems familiar, you’ve most likely seen it in the credits box as a letterer) handles this book well, introducing a great deal of characters and their situations to readers. The “Armor Wars” depicted here is a tale different from the Layton classic of the 1980s. In that story, Tony Stark’s tech was being used in the armor of other characters, but here the armor appears to be completely Tony’s, as the mysterious foe returns to attack Tony Stark after spiriting away all of the armor.
Rousseau’s art is well suited for a book with a Marvel Adventures vibe. He consistently renders people, regardless of apparel, expression, or attitude. Rousseau also masterfully avoids unnecessary detail, frequently choosing to simplify backgrounds into shapes and lines or to just let the negative space carry the tale with an assist from Staples’ colors. That said, some of Rousseau’s technology falls a little flat. Iron Man’s armor seems more like the plastic found on most cars nowadays than it does metal — at least the “contemporary” armor does. The old school suits, Crimson Dynamo, and the surprise adversary at the end of this issue all have a greater appearance of being metallic.
This book is clearly designed with the impending Iron Man frenzy in mind. Following Comic-Con International: San Diego and prior to the release of “Iron Man 2,” this book is an easily approachable tale for seasoned Iron Man fans or neophytes. While the more seasoned fan may find this tale to be rudimentary, the newbie is sure to be introduced to iron shavings here that are new to them. From Rhodey and Pepper to the Crimson Dynamo and beyond, all of the big pieces of the Iron Man story are here, with more on the way. If you’ve been “Dark Reigned” away from the main “Invincible Iron Man” title, this book offers a nice, continuity-free fix.