Comic Book Review: Iron Man #12

The Revolution has been impressed with the job the Knaufs have done on Iron Man. I liked HBO’s Carnivale, so I figured I’d like their writing on Iron Man. However, I have been surprised at how well the Knauf’s “get” Iron Man. I haven’t enjoyed reading Iron Man this much in a very long time. I’m sure that Iron Man #12 is going to be another fine read. I have a full mug of Café Bustelo and am ready for this review.

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

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: This issue starts with Iron Man taking on his five rogue Iron Man armors. We see Namor getting beaten by the rogue Stealth Iron Man armor. Iron Man arrives on the scene and saves Namor from the underwater Iron Man armor. Iron Man then destroys the underwater Iron Man armor.

Iron Man then helps the Fantastic Four battle the Subterranean Iron Man armor. Iron Man tears the feet off the Subterranean Iron Man armor and then carried it up high into the sky. Suddenly, the Stealth Iron Man armor attacks Iron Man. Human Torch arrives and takes out the Stealth Iron Man armor. Then Iron Man uses the remainder of the Subterranean Iron Man armor to destroy the rogue Argonaut Iron Man armor.

So, now all of the rogue Iron Man armors have been destroyed except for one: the Hulkbuster Iron Man armor. We see the Hulkbuster beating up the Avengers. Iron Man arrives on the scene and locks horns with the Hulkbuster. Iron Man decides that there is only one way to defeat the Hulkbuster armor. All the rogue armors have been controlled by Tony’s subconscious. Tony decides that the only way to stop the rogue armors is too kill himself. When Tony is dead then the Hulkbuster will be “dead.” Tony then blasts his chest with his own repulsor ray. Tony collapses dead and the Hulkbuster drops dead as well.

We shift one day later to a hospital. Nick Fury is outside of Tony’s hospital room. Nick is stunned that Tony would kill himself in order to save other people. (That my friends is Tony Stark. A hero. Not the crap you see in Civil War.) After doctors got Tony’s heart beating again, the Extremis virus kicked in and fully repaired Tony’s body.

We cut inside of Tony’s hospital room. Tony mentions that this entire event has shown him that he is nothing more than a gun that was used to commit crimes. That every super hero is a potential gun and could lead to the deaths of innocent people. Tony said the last time he checked, guns required registration. End of issue.

The Good: Iron Man #12 was a satisfying and well done ending to a great story arc. The Knaufs have really impressed me with their first story arc on this title. The Knaufs have displayed an excellent feel for Tony Stark that I was not expecting when they took over this title. The Knaufs have crafted the most interesting and intriguing Tony Stark that I have ever read. Tony Stark used to be a bit of a generic character. The one dimensional smart rich guy who liked to party. However, this has changed. Mark Millar probably deserves most of the credit for showing just how compelling a character Tony Stark could be with Millar’s Ultimate Iron Man. Suddenly, readers were treated with a deliciously entertaining Tony Stark.

Marvel has evidently decided to try and make the 616 version of Tony Stark a bit more like the Ultimate version of Tony Stark. The Knaufs are just the writers to accomplish this task. The Knaufs have made Tony a wonderfully complex character. Tony has a huge ego and his brilliant mind and incredible powers from the Extremis virus tend to give him a God complex at times. When faced with a problem, Tony feels that he is the only person qualified to properly handle it and anyone else’s opinion is unnecessary or wrong. However, Tony also has immense courage and the heart of a true hero and is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice if it means saving innocent lives. This is what makes Tony Stark such a wonderfully multifaceted and fascinating character.

I loved the scene where Tony kills himself in order to stop the Hulkbuster. That scene was a brilliant portrayal of the hero that I have always seen in Tony Stark. Not the villain that Marvel has been trying to portray Tony over in Civil War and all the Civil War tie-in issues. I’m glad to see the Knaufs, undeterred by the character assassination of Tony Stark that other writers are committing, are delivering the heroic Tony Stark that I have always known and liked ever since I was a little kid.

Iron Man #12 was excellently paced. We got plenty of action with some quality fights between Iron Man and his various suits of armor. The Knaufs served up more solid dialogue. The Knaufs craft dialogue that is a pleasure to read and gives the issue a nice flow. The Knaufs deliver a great ending that nicely dovetails this story into the current events over in Civil War. This story gives further insight into why Iron Man feels so passionately about the Registration Act. I’m thrilled that the Knaufs went in this direction.

Over in Civil War, Tony has been portrayed as nothing more than a government stooge. A total lackey. However, the Knaufs craft a gripping tale of how Tony and his incredible technology are controlled and used to commit numerous gristly murders. Tony himself has been used as a mere gun being controlled beyond his will. This traumatic event would make any hero feel violated and justifiably alarmed and concerned about how easily super heroes can be controlled. It makes sense that super heroes are just glorified weapons of destruction and killing much like guns. It further makes sense that, just like we register guns, that super heroes should also be registered. This back-story gives Tony more depth and makes his support of the Registration Act much more understandable. It also casts Tony in a much more sympathetic light than he has been placed over in Civil War and the various tie-in issues.

I’m excited to see what the Knaufs have in store for us with the next story arc. The Knaufs have been cranking out the best Iron Man comics that I have read in a very long time. It has been years since I was excited to read an Iron Man comic.

Zircher’s artwork is solid. It is a bit inconsistent from panel to panel at times. He seems to struggle a little with facial expressions. However, overall, Zircher’s artwork creates a pleasant looking comic book.

The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.

Overall: Iron Man #12 is a great ending to an exciting story arc. The Knaufs have really impressed me with their run on this title. I would highly recommend Iron Man to anyone who likes a good blend of Sci Fi tech based storylines with good old fashioned super hero storylines. This is a wonderfully constructed title with sound writing and above average art. However, the best part is that Iron Man is simply an entertaining read. I know Marvel doesn’t want you to like Tony Stark, but do yourself a favor and give this title a try.