It’s fair to say that Tony Stark has his share of vices – alcohol, women and an inability to keep his mouth shut to name a few – and this self destructive streak that gets put under the microscope in Ultimate Comics Iron Man Armor Wars.
Since that’s a bit of a mouthful, I think I’ll just stick with Armor Wars from now on…just don’t confuse it with the original Armor Wars released in the 1980s!
You needn’t worry if this is your first foray into the Ultimate Marvel, a body of stories set in an alternate universe containing Earth-1610, world. Armor Wars does a fine job keeping the story accessible for anyone who wants to read it.
All you really need to know is that after the near-apocalyptic turn of events that comprised Ultimatum, Tony Stark is on a mission to track down tech that’s been stolen from him.
Armor Wars is part whodunnit, part boy meets girl (given that it involves Tony Stark I’m not sure you could call it a ‘romance’ exactly!) and all action, which makes it a great standalone Iron Man graphic novel. It also contains what has to be one of the most brutally effective weapon demonstrations ever. See above!
Although it’s far from perfect, the pacing is quick and there are some epic battles. Even after a post-Apocalyptic showdown, Stark still has the cash to chase various suspects all over the world. Bonus for UK readers: one of Armor Wars’ big fight scenes takes place in a very accurate, if a little polished, representation of London!
What really sets Armor Wars apart is that the writing is, in places, pretty funny. With two of three Iron Man movies released at the time of its writing, lead writer Warren Ellis seems to have drawn some of his inspiration from Robert Downey Jr’s portrayal of Tony Stark, and it works to great effect.
A common complaint about the ending of Armor Wars is that it wraps things up a little too neatly. But I think that’s just the price you pay with any standalone graphic novel. Yes, it’s a short read (which means you can usually pick it up cheap!) and loose ends are tied up very quickly, but I can forgive that. Why? Because Armor Wars ends with a poignant coda that even had me, and I’m hardly the biggest Iron Man fan, feeling majorly sympathetic towards Tony Stark. It’s relatively rare that comic books evoke that sort of emotion.
Collects: Ultimate Comics Iron Man Armor Wars #1-4
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