The Invincible Iron Man

I have been meaning to get around to commenting on the new Iron Man comic book that is set to come out in May. And look at that, it just so happens to coincide with the release of the Iron Man movie. Imagine that. Now, as any loyal follower of The Revolution knows I am a huge Iron Man fan. After the Legion of Super Heroes, Iron Man is my next favorite title. I have a full run on Iron Man and up until Civil War, I always picked up any comic book that Iron Man made an appearance in. I am obviously beyond giddy with anticipation of the new Iron Man movie. As a kid, I always dreamed about how cool an Iron Man movie would be.

Having said that, I have to admit that I have practically no interest in this new solo title “The Invincible Iron Man” that is set to come out this May. And look at that, it coincides with the release of the Iron Man movie. This new Iron Man title smacks of Joey Q just trying to cash in on the Iron Man movie by flooding the market with another Iron Man title. Hey, I know that it is a business and Marvel is going to try and cash in as much as possible, but at some point it would be nice to see Marvel not try and over expose a character.

>From what I have read about “The Invincible Iron Man” I can’t say that I am all that impressed. Now, I really like Salvador Larroca’s artwork and I’m sure he will draw a pretty comic book. But, Matt Fraction as the writer? Eh, I’ll pass. Fraction failed to impress me with his work on Punisher: War Journal and I found his work on The Order to be average at best. However, I do love Iron Fist, but I don’t know if that is due more to Brubaker’s efforts than Fraction’s. Either way, I would probably keep Fraction on a title involving a street based urban hero since that is a genre that better suits his talents. I definitely would not have placed Fraction on a title like Iron Man.

I am also less than excited about the storyline for “The Invincible Iron Man.” The solicitation for the new debut issue reads: “Tony Stark – Iron Man, billionaire industrialist and director of S.H.I.E.L.D. – faces the most overwhelming challenge of his life. Ezekiel Stane, the son of Tony’s late business rival and archenemy Obadiah, has set his sights, his genius and his considerable fortune on the task of destroying Tony Stark and Iron Man. What’s worse, he’s got Iron Man tech, and he’s every bit Iron Man’s equal and opposite…except younger, faster, smarter…and immeasurably evil.”

No thanks. Obadiah Stane was a classic Iron Man villain and I loved the stories that dealt with the Stark/Stane rivalry. They were great reads and I see no reason to ruin them by giving us Stane version 2.0. I have no interest in reading about baby Stane. I rarely enjoy it when a classic villain is replaced by a junior version. The Mandarin is a great villain and I always loved any stories involving his character. However, when the Mandarin died and his son took his place, the stories simply never matched what we got with the father.

This move to bring us Stane version 2.0 just shows me that Fraction doesn’t have anything original to bring to Iron Man. And the idea of having to watch Iron Man battle an evil Iron Man makes me yawn. As a general rule, I am not a huge fan of a villain that is merely a copy of the hero. Fraction’s story certainly appears to be nothing as daring or original as what the Knaufs are pulling off over on “Iron Man.”

For the most part, I hate it when one character stars in more than one solo title. All it serves to do is make that character’s continuity a complete and total mess. Plus, it usually leads to two radically different takes on the same character. It also leads to a watering down of the character. And too much of any character can lead to a burnout effect with the reader. Look, I love Iron Man, but I’m already sick of him appearing in every damn title in the 616 Universe due to The Initiative storyline. Another monthly solo title is about the last thing Iron Man needs.

I much prefer a single cohesive vision for a particular character and that is why I prefer it that characters only appear in one solo title. We are already getting a fantastic version of Iron Man by the Knaufs over on “Iron Man.” I would much rather see Marvel simply let the Knaufs control Tony’s character and give us a single unified interpretation of Iron Man’s character. It also makes Iron Man’s continuity and history much cleaner and easier to follow when there is only one solo title to deal with.

Another reason that I’d rather just stick with the Knaufs’ “Iron Man” is the fact is that the Knaufs are currently giving us what is by far the best take on Iron Man since Boy Layton and David Micheline’s run on Iron Man. I simply don’t see Fraction being able to keep pace with the Knaufs. Frankly, based on what I have read I firmly believe that the Knaufs would write circles around Fraction. The Knaufs are giving us an intense, complex and psychological read that comes across more like literature than a comic book. It appears that Fraction is going to give us a much shallow Iron Man that is based on lots of action scenes. I think that the two titles are going to be so different that it will be hard to reconcile how Iron Man can appear one way in “Iron Man” and then appear in a totally different manner over in “The Invincible Iron Man.”

I just don’t see “The Invincible Iron Man” having a long run or enjoying much success in terms of sales. Fraction has never been a writer that has produced a title that was a sales monster. And Iron Man has never been a title that ever posted monster sales numbers. Historically, Iron Man is a title that garners average sales numbers. I just don’t know if there is a large enough fan base out there to support two Iron Man comic books.

Maybe I’ll be totally wrong and “The Invincible Iron Man” will turn out to be a fantastic read. Honestly, I hope so. However, it doesn’t change my opinion that Iron Man simply does not need a second solo title. I’m sure that Marvel is prepared to burn me out on Iron Man like they did with Wolverine.

3 Comments

  1. Re: Iron Fist; Brubaker has said that Fraction does most of the work; you’ll have the chance to judge with this month’s “Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death”, which is all-Fraction.

    It’s quite obvious that this is intended to offer Iron Man adventures closer to the movie portrayal. I’d actually been expecting an announcement that the Knaufs were off the book in favour of some new team a couple of months ago, but when that didn’t happen and it was clear they were sticking around I was kind of surprised that that was all Marvel seemed to be doing (apart from Ellis’ “Ultimate Iron Man vs. Hulk” mini and the Michelinie/Layton “Iron Man: Legacy of Doom” mini and the upcoming “Iron Man: The End” one-shot and Casey’s “Iron Man: [Something] of the Mandarin” mini and all the various new trade collections). To me, this decision shows they appreciate the Knaufs’ run enough to want to keep them around.

    I generally enjoy Fraction’s writing, and Larroca’s art looks excellent in the previews, so I’ll give this a shot; after getting past the movie-inspired stuff, which should still be fun, I’ll be interested to see what he’s got in mind.

  2. I have to agree with just about everything you say. I am all the more irritated that the comic will be called “The Invincible Iron Man,” as I expected the current title would revert back to its original title after Tony steps down from his Shield duties. I have been reading Marvel comics for almost 35years and I am so sick and tired of the re-numbering of titles. I would not be surprised if they cancelled the current series and making the new series becoming the new ongoing.

  3. 16 issues until cancellation on this one. I would say 9 issues, but Q won’t want to look bad by axing it sooner when it becomes immediately apparent that Iron Man isn’t big enough to warrant the additional book.

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