Comic Book Review: Iron Man #11

The Knaufs are doing an excellent job on Iron Man. Too bad that Marvel is busy killing Tony’s character over in Civil War. I’d be surprised if anyone outside of your hardcore Iron Man fan is bothering to read the title. That is too bad, because the Knaufs have made Iron Man a fine read. Anyway, for those of you that still like Tony Stark despite how Marvel is assassinating his character over in Civil War, here is the review of Iron Man #11.

Creative Team
Writers: Daniel & Charles Knauf
Penciler: Patrick Zircher
Inker: Scott Hanna

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: This issue starts with Iron Man and Sentry continuing the brawl that they started in the end of issue #10. Iron Man finally realizes that the Sentry has no physical weaknesses. But, he does have a mental weakness. Iron Man hacks through Cloc’s firewall and programs Cloc to flood Sentry with calls for different crises across the world. Sentry is unable to handle the massive flood of distress calls and collapses into confusion and inaction. Iron Man then takes off and calls his mentor, Sal, to ask him if he can get him a magnetic resonance imager.

We then shift to Wembley Stadium (where the English National Football team plays) where Karim Mahwash Najeeb is giving his speech. We see the hooded assassin in the crowd and see him use his Blackberry to command Iron Man to execute Najeeb.

We see Iron Man blasting off toward Wembley Stadium. We see Nick Fury, the Avengers and the Fantastic Four all wondering what is causing sonic booms in the area. It is Iron Man. (That was a pretty cool intro.) The Avengers and Fantastic Four scramble and take to the air to intercept Iron Man. Iron Man is heading in the opposite direction from Wembley Stadium. Iron Man tells Reed Richards that someone has surgically planted a bi-magnetic neural override device in his brain. That he is using a M.R.I. to reverse the polarity of the matrix. Iron Man continues that he blocked the last order and then sent out a data-burst. That he instructed the sending unit to generate a ping ever thirty seconds. Now Iron Man is tracking the sender.

Iron Man tells the Avengers, Fantastic Four and S.H.I.E.L.D. to standby for visuals. Over their monitor screens, you see the hooded assassin. Iron Man tells the Avengers, Fantastic Four and S.H.I.E.L.D. that the feed they are watching is from his visual cortex. We then see a hand reach out and grab the hooded assassin. Reed then tells Captain America that they have been busy chasing an empty Iron Man suit. That Tony is in the crowd and they are seeing what he is seeing right now. That Tony is not in the Iron Man armor. The Fantastic Four and the Avengers quickly break off from chasing the empty Iron Man armor and head back to Wembley Stadium. (Nice! And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Tony Stark is the man!)

The hooded assassin then this a button on his controller that causes Tony to fall to the ground in pain. The assassin tells Tony that he just triggered all of Tony’s pain receptors in his brain. The assassin tells Tony that he is another of Tony’s loose ends. That Tony’s weapons have hurt and killed so many people across the world. The assassin reveals that his father is Ho Yinsen! That the Taliban forced Yinsen to place the implant in Tony’s brain.

Tony asks Yinsen’s son if this is all about revenge for his father’s death. The son scoffs at the notion. He calls his father a monster. He says that Andrei Gorlovich, the first man Iron Man killed, was hired by the Taliban, to recover the sending unit that Yinsen had smuggled out of Afghanistan. That without the sending unit, the neural implant in Tony was useless. Gorlovich tracked down the sending unit to the only person that Ho Yinsen trusted, his wife. Gorlovich killed the assassin’s mother. That is why he is taking revenge. Not for his father, but for his mother.

Yinsen’s son then tells Tony that he has a dead-man’s switch buried in Tony’s brain and that if anything happens to the assassin then the switch gets flipped on. And what will happen will make what Iron Man has done up till now look like nothing. We then see a S.H.I.E.L.D. sniper with the assassin in his scope. Nick Fury gives the sniper the word to shoot the boy. The sniper fires and blows kills Yinsen’s son.

We then cut to Tony’s arsenal that houses all of his numerous suits of armor. They all suddenly come alive and are programmed to execute the assassin’s final program.

The Good: Wow! That was a kick-ass issue! The Knaufs continue to impress me more and more with each issue. The Knaufs have constructed a very tight storyline. This issue is well paced. The Knaufs also create very nice dialogue that has a nice flow and is enjoyable to read. The Knaufs kicked up the intensity with Iron Man #11 and left me immediately wanting to read the next issue.

I love how the Knaufs’ write Tony Stark. They get his character and know what makes him tick. Plus, the Knaufs’ Tony Stark is a total stud. The Knaufs give us a Tony Stark that is continually a step ahead of everyone. Tony’s greatest weapon is not his Iron Man armor. It is his mind. And Tony’s mind is one of the scariest weapons on earth. Instead of the unlikable and despicable Tony Stark that we are reading over in Civil War and the various tie-in issues, the Knaufs are giving us a Tony that makes us go “Damn! He is the man!” Here are the various examples of that in this issue.

First, when faced with a superior being in the Sentry who has no physical weaknesses, Tony uses his mind instead of his armor’s weaponry to turn Cloc against Sentry and reduce him to a babbling incoherent mess. That was perfect!

Then we have Tony fooling the Avengers and the Fantastic Four combined (Yeah, that includes Captain America and Reed Richards) into following an empty suit of armor headed away from Wembley Stadium while he feeds them a visual feed of him sneaking up and catching the assassin. How sweet was that? Tony catches the assassin, clears his name and lures both the Avengers and the Fantastic Four far away from him so they can’t get in his way. Stud!

And the way that Tony uses his mind to figure up a way to track down the assassin shows that you may initially get one up on Tony, but he will always end up out-thinking you in the end. And make no mistake about it, Tony is always in control!

Plus, the series of “BOOMS” that S.H.I.E.L.D., the Avengers and the Fantastic Four hear before Iron Man even appears at Wembley was a pretty slick entrance.

The Knaufs’ Tony Stark is probably the best version of Tony outside of Millar’s entertaining Ultimate universe version of Tony Stark in the Ultimates. The Knaufs have shown that Tony can be a very cool character. Marvel needs to back off making Tony look like a total tool over in Civil War and go with the Tony that the Knaufs have crafted in their run on Iron Man.

And the Knaufs’ dropped several bombs in this issue. First, they revealed that the assassin is Ho Yinsen’s son! That was awesome! We learned that the Taliban had Yinsen place the implant in Tony’s mind. I thought that would be the case while reading the last issue. I liked how they explained the son’s motivation for killing off all the terrorists connected with having his mother killed.

I also liked how the son is the embodiment of all the pain and death that Tony’s weapons have created across the world. The son’s little speech was very well written and had quite the impact on the reader. Tony’s soul certainly bears a very heavy burden and has to live with his past actions as a premier weapons inventor. The Knaufs did a fine job fleshing out this theme.

The second bomb was at the end of the issue when the S.H.I.E.L.D. sniper kills the Yinsen’s son and then we see all of the Iron Man suits suddenly come to life in Tony’s arsenal. That was a great ending. That certainly hooked me! I cannot wait for the next issue to see the insane amount of destruction Tony’s arsenal of Iron Men are going to dish out. Plus, we are going to get to see all the various interesting versions of Tony’s Iron Man armors in action. It should be fun watching Tony try and figure a way out of this predicament.

I have really warmed up to Zircher’s artwork. I like it more and more with each issue. Zircher doesn’t draw my favorite Iron Man, but he still draws a pretty cool one. Plus, Zircher delivers a visually pleasing comic book. The fight between the Sentry and Iron man was especially well done.

The Bad: This was a great issue, but I guess I have one very small complaint. This storyline seems to be recycling a theme that we have seen over and over in Iron Man. His technology falls into the hands of an “evil” outsider who uses it to hurt the general public. Don’t get me wrong, I think an entire arsenal of rogue Iron Man suits engaging in rampant destruction is going to be very entertaining. I just wonder if we need to continually re-hash this theme of Tony’s creations being hi-jacked by an “evil” person and used to harm the general public.

Overall: Iron Man #11 was a great read. The Knaufs served up a fast paced issue with several twists and turns. They mixed plenty of drama with lots of action. Add Zircher’s solid artwork to an already excellent story and you have a fantastic comic book. I know that Iron Man is a comic book that is really flying under the radar. However, it is a well done comic book that is certainly worth your money.