Book Review – Ultimate Iron Man by Orson Scott Card

Title: Ultimate Iron Man

Author:  Orson Scott Card

Illustrator: Andy Kubert, & Mark Bagley

Format: Paperback

Published: 2006

 

As I said last review the book there was only a short reprieve and I am here to present you yet another comic.  This time I bring you something from the Marvel Universe which isn’t all that common for me. Today I present to you Ultimate Iron Mann.  This is a comic that I almost didn’t pick up.  I saw the tile realized I should probably read a bit of Iron Man considering that I am rather fond of the movies.  Yet I saw the cover art and the way the suit is designed is very different, rather round and not what I’m used to as I have seen Iron Man featured in other comics such as the Guardians of the Galaxy comics which I will say is a must read!  (Seriously a 5 out of 5 if I were to review it.)   Yet, before putting it back I looked at the back and realized that the comic was written by an award winner and with that I decided why not it’s not like I’m risking money on this book as I was at the library at the time.

 

I picked up the book and was a little surprised that this was starting with the store of Howard Stark.  I was confused but continued to read and continued to be confused.  This story was something of an origin story but not in the way that I sort of know the story via the movies or what I have heard.  Pretty much Tony Stark was a genetically altered child.  His mother was exposed to a virus of sorts that was killing her and causing baby Tony to grow up as more than just a child but as a brain child.  He looks normal but all of his flesh is also brain matter so if you attack his brain in the normal sense of the word you have no effect on him.  In addition to brain being his entire body, he also has the ability to regenerate and re-grow body parts.

 

Because his entire body is a brain and his cells constantly regenerate Howard Stark uses a chemical on his son that acts as a personal shield.  No punches or punctures can harm a person with this stuff on and the only way it can come off is with anti-bacterial soap.  The side effect – Tony is blue, at least until they find a formula that is invisible that Tony can wear, allowing him to go to normal school and meet Rhodney. With a few more complications of issues, Tony also meets Obadiah and other familiar characters to the world of Iron man but it is all different than I know it as most of them are teenagers going to the same school.

 

If what little I’ve shared of the book is any indication it was a weird read and it took my thoughts and conceptions of Iron Man/Tony Stark and turned them on their head but there were little things that seemed to keep the same.  I don’t know if I would read more in the series but this oddity did keep my attention and I would also give it a 3 out of 5.

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Book Review – Road to Marvel’s The Avengers

Title: Road To Marvel’s The Avengers

Created By: Various/Multiple Authors and Illustrators

Format: Paperback/Comics bound as a graphic novel

Written: 2010-2012

Published: 2012 (this binding)

This book features four ongoing comics – “I am Iron Man!,” “Iron Man 2: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” “Iron Man 2: Public Identity,” and “Captain America: First Vengeance” – and runs at least a hundred pages (they’re not numbered, I’m totally guessing).

These are supposed to be the lead up to the Avengers movie (and movie cannon).  The first part was written after the movie and based totally on it.  The other two Iron Man parts are sort of a lead up to the second movie.  Captain America is a lead up to when Rogers was chosen to be Cap –so the first bit of the movie.

Here’s the thing, I tend to like comics for their artwork.  (There’s not enough substance to the story for me to justify them otherwise.)  The artwork in here was –dark.  It sort of lost a little for me.  Most of the backgrounds are dark, there is hardly any white, etc.  I think that it would have benefitted from brighter artwork.

And the story lines are meant to be related to the movies, but the drawings don’t exactly look like the Tony Stark or Pepper Pots that we’ve seen so many times on the big screen.  If this was really done as a way to bridge comic fans and the movies…  what did they draw?  A hybrid?  Whatever they wanted?  I’m not familiar enough with the comics to know if they kept that aesthetic or started a new one.  But for what it is, I sort of expected Tony Stark to have an uncanny resemblance to Robert Downey, Jr., instead of just sorta looking like they could pass for the police sketch. Nevermind Chris Evans – he doesn’t look a thing like the drawings of Captain America.

Which brings me to another issue that I have with this.  There’s like one page that mentions something about old magic and shows a drawing of Odin.  Not even Thor.  If this is really the road to the Avengers, why don’t we have a Thor story of some sort, something about Hulk, etc?  There’s a bit about Natascha (Black Widow), since she goes undercover to keep tabs on Stark, but that’s it, and not a single word/mention/nod in Hawkeye’s direction.  I would have liked to see it a little more rounded.

In fact, I think that if it weren’t for the Captain America/Daddy Stark connection that they would have considered discluding him, too.  (And yes, I probably made that word totally up.)  This also opens my rant that they did stuff bass-ackwards and I would very much have liked to see Cap before Iron Man, just so you get the chronology and Iron Man’s history in the right order.

In the end – if you’re a fan of the Iron Man movie franchise, go ahead and pick this up.  If you’re psycho into the Avengers, you should have it because I’m quite sure you have everything else.  But if you’re a casual fan, you can watch the movies, skip this entirely and not have missed anything at all.  Not sure where that fits on the pages scale, I guess a three?

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