Comic Book Review: Iron Man: Director of SHIELD #19: World War Hulk

Oh no! Iron Man #19 is a dreaded filler issue. The Knaufs get a break as Christos Cage takes over the writing duties for this obligatory World War Hulk tie-in issues. Now, I rarely enjoy filler issues and I certainly dread tie-in issues to large events like World War Hulk, Civil War and Infinite Crisis. The tie-in issues usually are nothing more than fluff, lack any substance and fail to advance any plotlines of the individual title or the plotlines of the large event. With that said, let’s go ahead and do this review for Iron Man #19.

Creative Team
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Butch Guice

Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: We begin with Tony Stark being alerted of a UFO approaching Earth’s atmosphere. Tony dispatches his arsenal of different Iron Man armors to investigate the UFO. The Hulk then directs the use of their EMP to knock out the drone Iron Man armors. Only the Stealth Armor survives since it is EMP shielded. We then see the Hulk attack from behind and destroy the Stealth Armor. Tony then immediately contacts the President.

We then see Hulk’s ship appearing over New York City. We then get a replay of this very scene of Hulk’s arrival over in World War Hulk #1. We cut to the SHIELD Helicarrier where Tony orders Dugan to not have any SHIELD agents engage the Hulk. Dugan comments how Tony doesn’t want anyone getting killed protecting him. Dugan says it is the job of SHIELD agents to responds to threats like this.

Tony retorts that they have twenty-four hours and there will be no first strike from SHILED. Tony then armors up. Dugan asks Tony if he is going to surrender himself. Tony says that he has ordered the evacuation of New York City and that SHIELD is to head up the evacuation.

Iron Man heads to his armory. Tony thinks how that ever since Hulk failed to arrive at the destination they had selected for him, that Tony has dreaded this day. But, he has also prepared for it. We see Tony getting into his Hulkbuster armor and blasting off for New York City.

We then get to see the same brawl between Iron Man and Hulk that we got over in World War Hulk #1 along with the same speech from Iron Man that we got over in World War Hulk #1.

During the brawl, Tony thinks how the decision to send the Hulk into space was the hardest one he has ever made, but it was absolutely necessary. That the Hulk was supposed to have gone to a planet with vegetation and game, but no sentient beings. Tony thinks how some people avoid hard choice. But, as a C.E.O., an Avenger, the Director of SHIELD and as a recovering alcoholic that Tony makes them on a daily basis. Some days it is as simple as not having a drink. On others, millions of lives hang in the balance.

Tony thinks how he does what he thinks is best and right. That Tony makes no apologies for that. Tony thinks that he does make a promise. That he will face the consequences. He makes the decision and he pays the price. We see Hulk laying waste to Iron Man just like we saw at the ending of World War Hulk #1.

The Good: Yup, Iron Man #19 was exactly what I expected. A waste of an issue. These obligatory tie-in issues almost always are time wasters. And Iron Man #19 was no exception.

Having said that, I will praise Christos Cage for his handling of Tony’s character. While not as impressive as the Knauf’s handling of Tony, Cage certainly has a pretty good feel for Tony’s character. Cage does a nice job presenting Tony as a hero who has many demons he has to battle and the weight of the world on his shoulders.

I love the page where Tony talks about his different roles in life and the hard decisions he has to make each and every day. From him being an alcoholic who has to struggle to not take a drink each and every day to him being a C.E.O., an Avenger and the Director of SHIELD where is daily decisions have an impact on people all across the globe.

This one page puts into perspective the incredible role that Tony plays in the 616 Universe. There is no other character in the 616 universe that has to make so many difficult decisions. Tony has to battle his own personal demons while assuming the uncomfortable positions of power that would make your average person crumble under the intense weight and pressure of those jobs.

The Bad: Other than the one page where Cage offers us a nice insight into Tony’s character, the rest of Iron Man #19 was a total and complete waste of time and paper. Just read World War Hulk #1. There is no need at all to waste your money on Iron Man #19. This issue is absolutely nothing but a regurgitation of the story in World War Hulk #1.

This is possibly one of the most pathetic excuses for a comic book. Marvel didn’t even attempt to make this issue anything more than a re-telling of World War Hulk #1 and just an issue long advertisement for the World War Hulk mini-series. Waste of time, money and trees.

Butch Guice is a very talented artist. However, he is simply the wrong artist for this title. Iron Man requires a hyper-detailed, slick and smooth style of artwork. Guice’s dark, rough, sketchy and artsy style of artwork is a terrible match for Iron Man.

Overall: Iron Man #19 was pure filler. It was a complete and total waste of time, money and trees. It was a joke. This issue is Exhibit A of why I absolutely loathe tie-in issues to big events like World War Hulk and Civil War. Unless you are a hardcore Iron Man fan like me, I would strongly suggest you save your money and pass on Iron Man #19. Just read World War Hulk #1. You don’t need to get both issues.

2 thoughts on “Comic Book Review: Iron Man: Director of SHIELD #19: World War Hulk

  1. I’m kind of surprised by the comment on Guice, since I was given to understand that he had a very well-regarded run as Iron Man artist in the 80s (I wasn’t reading then, so I wouldn’t know).

    You’re right that there’s not a lot worth noting here, although it continues the surprising trend of “World War Hulk” titles presenting the most consistently positive and heroic version of Tony we’ve seen in a while.

    I’m really waiting for Gage to be given a shot at a real run on one of Marvel’s major titles, rather than helping out with all these events (he’s writing the “World War Hulk: X-Men” tie-in in addition to this, several aspects of “Annihilation”, and some of the “X-Men: Endangered Species” backups), although his encyclopedic knowledge of continuity makes him a valuable person to have around for events.

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