Comic Book Review: Iron Man #9

The Revolution has really enjoyed the Knaufs’ first two issues of Iron Man. It has been a long time since I have had this much fun reading an Iron Man comic book. Is it possible that the Knaufs are on to something and that they are going to keep the ball rolling? Well, I’m enjoying my second mug of Café Bustelo and am ready to do this review. Let’s see how Iron Man #9 reads.

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

Art Rating: 7 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 Tony Stark in his armory questioning how his armor could have been used in the killing of Ara Tanzerian at the end of last issue. Tony knows that it appears that he would have good reason for killing Tanzerian and Dennis Kellard. Tony then thinks about Dr. Ho Yinsen who saved his life in Afghanistan 15 years ago. That Dr. Yinsen died giving Tony time to escape.

We then cut to Langley, Virginia where Nick Fury (This really should be Maria Hill) is meeting with Secretary Kooning and the rest of the defense council. Nick Fury tells them that Tony Stark has gone rogue. That they have video of Iron Man killing Tanzerian’s guards and that the forensic evidence from Dennis Kellard’s death shows that Stark technology was used to destroy the airplane Kellard was in. Nick informs the council that Kellard and Tanzerian were two of the men responsible for the death of Dr. Ho Tinsen. That two of the other men responsible for his death are still at large. They are Zakim Karzai and Aftaab Lemar. The last remaining person for Dr. Ho Yinsen’s death is Kareem Mahwash Najeeb who is the keynote speaker in the upcoming Peace summit sponsored by Stark Industries.

Fury continues by saying that he knows it is Tony and not someone else in the armor because the Extremis virus has allowed Tony to jack into the armor. Now, nobody else on the planet can wear the armor other than Tony. Fury also presents evidence that the Extremis virus has been shown in lab animals to create paranoia, increased hostility and social isolation. Fury states that Tony has exhibited all of these behavioral changes. Secretary Kooning is horrified that a genius like Stark with armor capable of destroying several battalions may now be a bad guy. Secretary Kooning states that the upcoming Peace summit will have to be cancelled.

Stark then appears on the large video screen and addresses everyone at the meeting. He says that he has been listening to Nick Fury this entire time and that all the evidence is compelling and indisputable, except that he is innocent. Stark says that the Peace summit must be held since it is too important. However, since it is only one week away, Stark doesn’t have enough time to clear his name before the summit. Nick asks Tony what he suggests doing.

We then cut to Tony Stark being led into Fort Leavenworth Penitentiary. Nick Fury visits Tony in his cell. Tony mentions that the S-block of Fort Leavenworth is the last purely analog cell block in the federal system. That Extremis would allow him to access and interface with any digital security system now used in all of the other prisons. This is the only way to guarantee that Tony cannot break out and escape. Nick tells Tony that his armor is under heavy guard at an undisclosed location. We then see guards outside Fort Knox where the armor is being stored. Tony then warns Nick that if anyone tries to wear the armor that they will die. Tony tells Nick that he is innocent. Nick says that he hopes so. Nick then leaves.

We then shift to a library in London where the hooded hitman is at a computer. The hooded hit man marks Zakim Karzai and Aftaab Lemar as ready to be executed. We see an Asian medallion next to the hooded hitman’s computer.

We cut back to Fort Knox, where Iron Man’s armor suddenly springs to life and assembles itself. The Iron Man armor then smashes its way out of Fort Knox.

We then shift to southern Iraq. We see over forty T-72’s, mobile anti-aircraft batteries, artillery ground units and Sikorskies in the air. This is Lemar and Karzai’s personal army and air force. Suddenly, Iron Man’s armor comes streaking in at Mach 8.7. Iron Man’s armor engages the small military and we have one massive braaaawl!! Iron Man destroys everything. Helicopters, tanks and soldiers. (This is five pages full of massive destruction!)

We see Lemar and Karzai making an escape in their personal helicopter. Iron Man’s armor smashes through the helicopter and grabs Lemar in one hand and Karzai in the other hand. Iron Man heads straight almost to the edge of the atmosphere. Both Lemar and Karzai start to choke due to the high altitude. Iron Man’s armor then stops and hovers and then lets go of both Lemar and Karzai. They plummet to their deaths. (Damn. That was awesome.)

Iron Man then takes off his helmet and inside it is Tony Stark!! (Wow! Didn’t see that one coming. So the armor wasn’t empty. It came and got Stark!) Tony says “My God…What have I done?”

We then cut to Nick Fury being informed that the Iron Man armor punches a whole in the wall to Stark’s prison cell and freed him. Nick Fury then contacts the Sentry and tells him that Iron is a priority 5 fugitive and the Sentry is to engage in a search and neutralize mission. We get a nice big shot of the Sentry in the final panel. End of issue.

The Good: This was a great issue! I love how the Knaufs’ are handling Tony Stark. They are making Tony a more interesting character than he has ever been. What is so interesting is that Tony has never been as literally powerful as he is now and yet he is also at his weakest emotionally and mentally right now. It is such a delightful dichotomy. The Knaufs’ are doing such a nice job giving Tony more depth and personality.

I also like Tony’s massive power boost since Ellis’ Extremis storyline. Iron Man is now definitely one of the three strongest heroes in the Marvel Universe along with Thor and Sentry. I think the Extremis powers of being able to access every type of communication, digital feed and computer is interesting and highly useful. Plus, the Extremis powers make Tony a force to reckon with even without his armor.

I am curious to find out the identity of the hooded hitman. The Asian medallion that the hitman has makes me think of the Mandarin. The Knaufs are doing a nice job drawing the mystery of this hooded killer.

And the fight scene in Iron Man #9 was flat out awesome! The Knaufs can obviously write some exciting action scenes. Iron Man was just flat out brutal in that fight. Iron Man came across as a total bad-ass. This scene also demonstrated the massive power upgrade that Iron Man has received.

I also loved the way Iron Man killed the two remaining killers of Dr Yinsen. That was cold and vicious. Wonderfully done.

And of course, the big twist was that it actually is Tony inside the armor. I really thought that the hooded hitman had somehow figured out how to remotely control the Iron Man armor with his computer. But, nope, somehow the hitman is controlling the Iron Man armor and Tony Stark himself! This is a great twist and a nice hook at the end of the issue to get me wanting to read the next issue immediately. I am really curious to see how Tony is being controlled. The Knaufs definitely have some interesting twists and turns ahead for us.

The ending was great. Nick Fury sending out the Sentry to neutralize a rogue Iron Man. Wow. That should be one hell of a fight next issue. I like both characters so I’m interested to see how each man fares in this battle.

The Knaufs are really doing an outstanding job on Iron Man. I thought the pace of Iron Man #9 was perfect. It flowed nicely and was focused and directed without it seeming too hurried. There was a perfect blend of drama, dialogue and action. This was a nicely written issue. The Knaufs suck the reader in at the very beginning of this story and don’t let them go until the very end. And then they leave the reader immediately wanting more.

Patrick Zircher’s artwork is growing on me. I thought this was a pretty good looking issue. I love Zircher’s Tony Stark. The goatee is a must. Plus, Zircher draws some great facial expressions. It really helps to pull the reader into the story. I thought that the splash shot of Tony in his armory with his various suits of armor was very cool. I like the amazingly huge suit of armor and the green goblin looking armor. I hope we get to see some of these interesting variations in action at some point in the future. Plus, Zircher’s artwork of the battle scene was just fantastic. The action practically leapt off the pages.

The Bad: I really have no complaints at all with this issue.

Overall: The Knaufs are doing a fantastic job on Iron Man. I am a huge Iron Man and have a complete run on this title all the way back to issue #20. The Knaufs have made Iron Man an incredible read. I have enjoyed reading Iron Man this much since probably Boy Layton’s run on this title. Iron Man has really suffered from a lack of interesting stories. Iron Man has also suffered from a lack of stability at the writer position. On top of that, each writer seemed to want to take Iron Man into a radically different direction than the previous writer. The Knaufs have brought Iron Man back to respectability. I would definitely recommend Iron Man to anyone.