Comic Book Review: Iron Man: Director of SHIELD #27

The Revolution always has nothing but praise for the Knaufs’ incredible work that they deliver each and every month on Iron Man. This title is by far and away one of the best written titles on the market. The Knaufs are beginning to kick this story arc into high gear as the Mandarin is inching closer and closer to his ultimate desire. Let’s hit this review for Iron Man #27.

Creative Team
Writers: Daniel and Charles Knauf
Pencils: Carlo Pagulayan
Inks: Jeffery Huet

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: We begin with Iron Man having survived the clean nuclear tactical weapon that SHIELD deployed to take out the Mandarin’s lab facility. However, Iron Man was thrown three miles due to the force of the blast. Suddenly, Iron Man is surrounded by military tanks and instructed to surrender. The Air Force then surrounds the SHIELD helicarrier and says that the U.S. Government has ordered that the helicarrier be grounded at the nearest Air Force base.

We cut to Maya waking up in the SHIELD helicarrier medical bay. Tony informs Maya that SHIELD found her a few miles from the blast site. Tony tells Maya that the government is trying to try him and SHIELD on terrorist charges since SHIELD was forced to employ a nuclear device to take out Prometheus Labs. Tony says that SHIELD believes that Mandarin has successfully created a weaponized version of Extremis. That the Mandarin must have broken through Maya’s programmed cell death that acted as a safeguard on the Extremis virus.

Maya sobs that she had no idea that Tem was the Mandarin. Tony reassures Maya that Mandarin fooled everyone including Secretary of Defense Jack Kooning. Tony tells Maya that he needs her to give him the full genetic encoding sequence for the airborne version of Extremis. That this may be the only way to create a vaccine against the Mandarin’s weaponized Extremis virus.

Maya says that she will not do it until Tony provides her with hard evidence that the Mandarin has defeated all of her safeguards on the Extremis virus. That once she gives the secret encoding sequence for an airborne version of the Extremis virus then there is no turning back. That eventually it will fall into the wrong hands.

We cut to Tony meeting with Dum Dum Dugan and Maria Hill. Tony says that the three of them will be tried by the United Nations General Assembly in a joint session with the U.S. Commission on Superhuman Activities. Tony instructs Dum Dum to find out if the Mandarin has succeeded in creating a weaponized version of the Extremis virus. Tony tells Dum Dum to also find out any dirt on the members of the General Assembly that they can use against them before the joint session is held. Tony then instructs Maria to get him any and all information on Tem Borjigin.

We cut to the joint session where Doc Samson is being grilled by the Commission of Superhuman Activities for allowing Tony out of mandated psychiatric leave. Samson responds that Tony was fit to lead SHIELD and more psychologically fit than some members of the Commission. Norman Osborne takes offense to that obvious insult that was directed toward him.

We slide over to Kooning in a jungle in Myanmar. Kooning meets up with a group of soldiers. We cut back to Tony meeting with Maya. Tony shows Maya video footage of the interrogation of the Mandarin’s lead geneticist, Shearing. Shearing reveals that they managed to crack Maya’s safeguards on the Extremis virus. And that the Mandarin has initiated mass production of the weaponized Extremis virus overseas. Tony then tells Maya that he needs her sequence mapping of the Extremis virus immediately. Maya responds that she really doesn’t have a choice.

We zip over to Dugan meeting with the Chinese representative on the U.N. General Assembly. Jiang states that he cannot admit the existence of the Mandarin or a facility that he might have making the Extremis virus within China. That it would hurt the expected tourism that is to be generated from China hosting the upcoming Olympics. Dugan threatens to reveal that Jiang has been a mole for SHIELD. Jiang says that he would rather deal with that consequence than the punishment from the Chinese government for hurting the expected tourism to China during the Olympics.

We shift to Kooning meeting up with his old friend Xang who is hiding out with his army. Kooning tells Xang that he needs his help in killing a Chinese business man named Tem Borjigin.

We cut back to Maya handing over a disc with the sequence mapping for the Extremis Virus. Suddenly, the SHIELD medical bay turns into a jail cell. Tony turns into the Mandarin. We see that Maya is actually being held in the An Hu Po State Psychiatric Facility in the Nei Mongol Province in China.

The Mandarin asks Maya to forgive him for using mental manipulation on her to get the sequence mapping for the Extremis virus. The Mandarin contacts his lead scientist at the I-Clime Labs in the Hopeh Province of China. The scientist tells the Mandarin that they just received their first delivery of decommissioned SA-N-7 gadflies from the Minister. That the missiles should be more than adequate for the payloads of weaponized Extremis virus. End of story.

Comments
The Good: Iron Man #27 was another excellent read. The Knaufs turn in a well paced issue that moves with a steady and measured flow. At no point does this issue feel slow or aimless. This issue is also nicely plotted as the Knaufs continue to impress with their ability to possess quality long term vision that is vital to lengthy and complex story arcs.

The Knaufs have done such an impressive job cooking up a meaty story full of intricate and complicated plotlines that all connect with each other in a pleasing fashion. I love watching this story unfold in such a precise and smooth manner. And the Knaufs always make sure that answers only yield more questions and that nothing ever is as what it seems. Only Captain America rivals what the Knaufs are delivering on Iron Man.

The Knaufs crank up the tension with Iron Man #27. Just when you think the Knaufs can’t top themselves they go about and do it with the next issue. We have the Mandarin on the loose in China with a weaponized version of Extremis. We have SHIELD and Tony being brought up on terrorist charges. Plus, we have Kooning looking to enlist his old military buddy to take out Tem. This story just keeps getting wilder and wilder with each issue. The Knaufs run on Iron Man is certainly one intense ride.

I loved the fantastic swerve at the ending that the Knaufs throw at the reader with the revelation that the Mandarin was posing as Tony Stark in order to trick Maya into giving him the sequence mapping to the Extremis virus. That is how you end an issue in style. I feel terrible for Maya. She has really been put through hell during the Knaufs’ run. But, the reader’s sympathy is limited considering that almost all of Maya’s misfortune has been due to her own fault for making some truly terrible decisions.

As always, the Knaufs craft plenty of dialogue. All of the characters are well developed and the dialogue has a natural and enjoyable flow. The Knaufs continue to demonstrate a phenomenal feel for Tony Stark’s character. Outside of Layton and Michelinie, I have not seen a writer that understands Tony’s character better than the Knaufs. And I dig that the Knaufs continue to tweak the other myopic writers at Marvel who dismissed Tony as just a government stooge. The Knaufs turn that shallow perception on its head by having Tony a complete renegade as he routinely flouts both U.N. and U.S.A. rules and regulations.

The Bad: Carlo Pagulayan is a talented artist; however this simply is not the title for him. I don’t think that Pagulayan’s style of art works on a title like Iron Man. And I definitely find Pagulayan’s version of Iron Man to be terribly dull.

Overall: Iron Man #27 was another extraordinary read. The Knaufs continue to deliver what is one of the best written comic books on the market. Iron Man delivers a story that is beyond just a comic book story and reads like a literary work. I don’t care if you have ever liked Iron Man or not. If you enjoy titles that are wonderfully constructed and that boast strong character work and excellent dialogue then you will certainly enjoy Iron Man.

1 Comments

  1. My only complaint about this comic is that sometimes the espionage and intruige get in the way of the super heroing and action. I do concur that the Knaufs overall do a bang up job crafting this title.

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