Comic Book Review: Iron Man #8

I liked the Knaufs’ debut issue on Iron Man last month. I enjoyed it more than Ellis’ Extremis storyline. Iron Man has really suffered from a lack of continuity and some pretty weak storylines. Hopefully, the Knaufs will establish a consistently entertaining Iron Man comic book. Let’s find out.

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

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: The issue starts with the unknown assassin logging into his compute and getting the name of his next target: Dennis Kellard. We then cut to Dennis Kellard getting nicely sauced on his Air Francais plane ride. Dennis sees the outline of an armored figure outside of his window. Suddenly we see that the cockpit has been sheared off the plane and the rest of the plane plummets to Earth. Dennis Kellard is now terminated.

We then shift over to Columbia where a S.H.I.E.L.D. strike force is monitoring Sanchez, a Columbian drug lord. We cut back to Nick Fury on his Helicarrier giving the OK for the strike force to move on Sanchez. Sanchez is actually General Tanzerian. Dennis Kellard was an ex-arms dealer who made a ton of money reverse engineering Stark’s Sentinel Landmines and then brokering them through Tanzerian. Dennis Kellard was supposed to testify in Tanzerian’s war crimes trial. Nick then notices that one of Tanzerian’s known associates is Karim Mahwash Najeeb. (There is a typo between the name written in Fury’s file and the name he says. It is typed “Mahwash.” Fury says “Wahwash.” And what the hell is Nick Fury doing back with S.H.I.E.L.D. I thought that ball busting bitch Maria Hill was now in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D. Continuity problems).

We cut to Tony Stark in “The Garage” at Stark Industries. Nick calls Tony and asks him if he knows a Karim Mahwash Najeeb. Tony says that he is speaking at the Peace Summit. Evidently, Najeeb was also a leader of the Taliban and had ordered the execution of Ho Yinsen, who is the man that saved Tony’s life. Tony said it doesn’t matter since Najeed still single handedly negotiated the current cease fire. He is a leading moderate voice in the Muslim world and he is the only one who has the ear of the Jihadists. Tony says that nothing is black and white anymore. As Tony stands there surrounded by his arsenal of Iron Man armors he says that everything has change. (Cool scene.)

We then shift to The Raft where the New Avengers are dealing with an attempted break out by Graviton. Luke Cage, Wolverine, Spiderwoman, Spider-Man and Captain America are pretty much getting their butts kicked by Graviton. Suddenly, Iron Man arrives to save the day. Iron Man smashes into Graviton. Captain America calls out for a medic for a badly injured Spider-Man. Iron Man snaps and blasts Graviton with his chest beam. Graviton begins to roast and begs for Iron Man to stop. Captain America grabs Tony’s shoulder and tells him “I said, that’s enough!” Iron Man instinctively reaches out and picks up Captain America by his throat. Captain America can barely breathe. Iron Man lets go and asks if Spider-Man is ok. Captain America says he will be ok, but is Tony all right? Iron Man says he is fine although his body language clearly indicates otherwise.

We hop over to Avengers Tower where Wolverine is asking Tony why he was 22 minutes late showing up to The Raft. Tony counters that he came in at full burn 7.2 minutes after picking up their distress call. Wolverine thinks that is bull and is ready to “take it outside” with Tony. Tony’s Extremis virus tears off his clothing and armors him up. Tony says “Take your best shot…then you watch me heal…then I take my best shot. Bub.” (Nice! I like this new Tony!) Spiderwoman then kicks her pheromones into high gear and asks them both to calm down. She tells Wolverine to go to the bar downstairs and order them some drinks. Wolverine says no problem and leaves. Tony then gets up on Jessica and says it is just the two of them. Jessica then slaps Tony across the face and tells him to snap out of it. She asks Tony what is wrong with him. That she had to pump out enough pheromones to sedate Al Sharpton. (Zing!) Jessica adds that Wolverine was right. Tony was late. Tony says that is garbage. That he can channel data, emergency signals and satellite reconnaissance for every law enforcement, military and intelligent service in the world. Directly into his head. Tony says screw the time logs that there must be a glitch in its internal system. Jessica says that they should run diagnostics on the system. Tony said that he has already initiated a check of the system and that doesn’t she have a date to get to downstairs at the bar?

We then cut back to Sanchez’s (aka Tanzerian) house in Columbia. We see a shadowy armored figure killing Tanzerian’s guards. Rather violently, too. S.H.I.E.L.D. then arrives on the scene and finds Tanzerian dead and strung up. They then see Iron Man rocket past their S.H.I.E.L.D. helicopters. We see the armor’s system saying “stealth mode off.” “Ara Tanzerian terminated.” End of issue.

The Good: This issue was a great read! I am really enjoying the Knaufs’ storyline. I liked how all Kellard could see was a shadowy armored figure and then the next thing we know the cockpit has been sheared off. It was a pretty cool scene.

I liked the scene with Tony standing surrounded by his arsenal of Iron Man armors telling Nick that the world is not longer black and white. That everything has changed. Indeed it has. Especially for Tony Stark. He has really undergone quite a transformation recently. And it is for the better. Tony has probably never been this interesting before.

The scene at The Raft was great. Watching Tony just snap on Graviton and then grabbing Captain America by the throat and lifting him off the ground. Wow. Tony really has developed some anger issues since being exposed to the Extremis Virus. I especially like after Iron Man sets Captain America down. It is so awkward and you can tell that Tony doesn’t feel like he fits in and is disappointed with himself.

The scene between Tony and Wolverine was great! This really accentuates the new Tony since he has been exposed to the Extremis Virus. He is supremely confident in his abilities and will throw down with anybody at the drop of a dime. And Tony’s handling of Jessica afterwards was perfect. It shows that even thought he lost his temper, that Tony still thinks several steps ahead of the rest of the Avengers. And his little shot at Jessica at the ends shows the sarcastic side of Tony.

The ending was great. We finally confirm what we have suspected all along. That Iron Man (or someone in his armor) has been committing these executions. I can’t wait for the next issue! And that is a sign of a good comic book. I’m interested to see where the Knaufs are going with this storyline. Is Tony really the killer? Is he simply starting to crack under all the stress of being so superior to everyone else? Of putting to much burden on responsibility on himself to do too much? As advanced as he is, Tony is still just a man. At some point, his mind is going to snap.

I love how the Knaufs are writing Tony Stark. I’m glad that Tony is being written a little closer to the Ultimate version of Tony Stark. The regular version of Tony isn’t as much of a jerk or a scumbag, but I like his new found edge. I like that he sees the world for the much more complex creature than we mere common people do. I like that the Extremis Virus has given him a God complex. That he has more ego, confidence, arrogance, sarcasm and a nasty temper. It also makes his weaknesses more glaring. That as advanced as he is he still is not a god. He is still a man. This is the most interesting Tony Stark in forever. I hope they keep his character like this.

The Bad: I have no complaints with the story itself other than the confusion with Nick Fury being the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. instead of Maria Hill. Maybe I have missed something that addresses this continuity shift. This is simply confusing. I would imagine that Marvel would have addressed such an obvious continuity problem.

Personally, the artwork doesn’t really do much for me. I do like how Zircher draws Tony. You gotta give him a goatee instead of the cheesy 1970’s moustache. But, other than that I think the art is pretty weak. I definitely don’t like how Zircher draws Iron Man. I think Zircher would do better on another title. I don’t think his artwork really suites the hi tech look of Iron Man. Man, if this title had some great artwork to go with the storyline then we’d have a fantastic comic book on our hands.

At any rate, Iron Man #8 was a great read and the Knaufs definitely have Iron Man headed in the right direction. I have not enjoyed Iron Man this much in a very long time.