Marvel continues to flood the market with Iron Man as we get yet another Iron Man mini-series with Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas. Jon Favreau, the director of Iron Man, is handling the writing duties on this title as Adi Granov handles the art chores. I am looking forward to Favreau’s story. Favreau gave us a fantastic version of Tony Stark and clearly gets Tony’s character. I’m confident that we will get a good read with Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas #1. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.
Writer: Jon Favreau
Artist: Adi Granov
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: We begin with Ms. Bloodstone and an archeologist arriving at an ancient temple alongside the Yangtze River. They enter the temple and Bloodstone notices that the Shishi are inside of the temple rather than the traditional spot outside of the temple. The man remarks that maybe the Lions of Fo are inside the temple to protect the outside world from the spirits inside the temple.
The man then tells Bloodstone to tell her client that a price has not been set for what he is about to show her. The man then shows Bloodstone a golden dragon statue. Bloodstone immediately says that her client will buy it.
We cut to a Stark Air passenger plane flying over the Mediterranean. We see Tony sitting in the first class section of the plane. The woman next to Tony asks him why he isn’t flying in one of his private planes. Tony is sipping on an alcoholic beverage and looks at the woman and asks what her name is.
Suddenly, before Tony can attempt to hit it with the girl, a terrorist stands up with bombs strapped to his chest. He tells everyone to stay in their seats and no one will get hurt. He tells everyone to shut up. Tony remarks that this is why he hates flying commercial. The terrorist walks to the next section of the plane. Tony gets up and goes to the bathroom. The girl starts to say something and Tony reminds her that the terrorist said no talking.
We see the terrorist telling a woman to shut her crying kid up or he will do it for her. Iron Man then appears on the scene and grabs the terrorist and blasts through the roof of the plane. Iron Man carries the terrorist high above the plane. The terrorist sets off his bombs and blows himself up. Iron Man emerges from the explosion unscathed and comments how the terrorist’s action was ill-advised.
Iron Man flies back into the plane and tells everyone that the Stark 797’s hull integrity has not been compromised. That if everyone breaths through their oxygen mask that they will land safe and sound. The passengers then yell at Iron Man. They ask why he attacked the terrorist. That the terrorist was prepared to negotiate. They call Iron Man an oppressor and a brute. They yell for Iron Man to go back to America. Iron Man blasts off from the plane and we see that the plane is over Paris, France. Iron Man comments to himself that he needs a vacation.
We cut to Las Vegas. We see that there is a huge hot rod convention taking place. We see Tony, with an alcoholic beverage in hand, approaching two hotties with tattoos. Tony proposes that they go back to his room and have a tattoo-counting contest. The girls ask what the winner will get. Tony replies that he is sure they can come up with something.
We shift to workers assembling the giant golden dragon statue from the beginning of this issue. It is being erected outside of a new casino in Las Vegas called the Golden Dragon Casino. After the head is placed onto the statue’s body we see the eyes flow with energy.
We then see a massive horde of lizards come crawling from the desert and into Las Vegas. We then zip to Tony’s hotel room where he is pouring a drink for himself and the ladies. The girls then say that Tony is cool, but they really wanted to meet his bodyguard. Tony sits down with the ladies as they begin to unbutton his shift. The girls ask Tony what Iron Man is like.
We cut to outside in the streets of Las Vegas and see that the streets have become overrun with a massive swarm of lizards. We slide back to Tony in bed with both ladies. (That’s my boy.) Tony gets a call from Pepper who tells him that she needs him in the lobby immediately.
We see Tony arriving in the hotel lobby. Pepper tells Tony that she is sorry to interrupt Tony’s “me” time, but that there is a crisis of sorts here at the casino. Tony replies how Pepper is always so dramatic. The two step outside and Tony is stunned to see the horde of lizards taking over the city.
We shift to a news report talking about the plague of lizards that has descended upon Las Vegas. And that this is bad timing since all the hotels in the city are at maximum capacity for the grand opening of the largest resort on the strip: The Golden Dragon Casino. We cut back to the golden dragon statue with its eyes still glowing. End of issue.
The Good: Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas #1 was a great read and a fun story. Favreau serves up a well paced issue. We get a bit of action to keep the story lively. But, Favreau uses this issue mostly to set the mood and lay the foundation for the rest of the mini-series. Iron Man: Las Vegas #1 was a nicely plotted issue. Favreau obviously has a clear direction with this mini-series. Favreau lays out the story in a nice fashion and never loses focus at any point in this issue.
Favreau whips up some great dialogue. The banter between Pepper and Tony is perfect. It isn’t as overtly sexual as what Fraction gives us on Invincible Iron Man #1 and is more fitting to Pepper’s role as Tony’s Girl Friday and not as his romantic interest. If you enjoyed the Tony’s dialogue from the Iron Man movie then you will love what Favreau dishes out in Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas #1. It is in the same vein and very entertaining.
I love Favreau’s handling of Tony’s character. Marvel should replace Fraction with Favreau over on Invincible Iron Man. I know that Favreau could never handle the requirements of a monthly title due to his career, but, c’mon, Favreau simply gets Tony’s character better than Fraction does. Also, it would mean that Fraction could stay on Iron Fist. Fraction has been money on Iron Fist. Favreau’s Tony Stark is like a breath of fresh air from the colorless and dour Tony Stark that we have gotten since Civil War. Favreau’s Tony Stark is a delightful blast from the past.
Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas #1 gives us Tony at his best. Tony has the unflappable demeanor, the cavalier attitude, the charm, the dry wit and the playboy sexual appetite. Man, I wish we would go back to this version of Tony rather than the colorless and soulless version that Marvel created just prior to Civil War that we see on most titles outside of Iron Man: Director of SHIELD.
Tony is so much more intriguing as an adventurer/inventor who runs the foremost tech company in the world. Hopefully, with the end of Secret Invasion, Marvel will place Nick Fury back in control of SHIELD and get Tony out of politics all together and return him to his California mansion and his job as CEO of Stark Enterprises.
We don’t get much of Iron Man in this issue and that is just fine with me. Just like in the Iron Man movie, Favreau knows that the real star is Tony and not the armor. Tony Stark’s character is what pulls readers into the title. Tony’s character is what drives the story and makes it interesting. Also, seeing Tony out of his armor for a while makes the scenes in his armor that much more fun and exciting. I’m sure that we will get plenty of Tony in his armor in the next three issues.
The small action scene that we got was perfectly done. I enjoyed Favreau’s playful poking at the airplane passengers abusing Iron Man for being a brute for dealing with the terrorist in such a decisive manner. Instead of cheering him, Iron Man gets yelled at and told to go back to America. Tony is used to adulation and praise. It was neat watching him get the abuse from the people he saved much like hard luck heroes like Spider-Man receive on a daily basis.
I am curious to learn more about this strange golden dragon. This doesn’t appear to be the most intriguing villain or conflict that I have run across. However, it should do the trick of presenting Tony with a difficult situation to handle that will result in an enjoyable and action packed story. Maybe this golden dragon will end up having some connection with the Mandarin.
Favreau succeeds in cranking out an eerie hook ending. The plague of lizards descending upon Las Vegas was just bizarre. This odd ending grabbed my attention and I’m curious to see what Favreau has in store for us with the next issue.
Adi Granov delivers plenty of quality artwork. Granov does a good job translating the look of the Iron Man movie into comic book format. And Granov’s cover to this issue is one of the best Iron Man covers I have ever seen.
The Bad: As much as I think Granov is a talented artist, I’m not sure that I would have tapped him to draw this title. I have always found Granov’s Iron Man to be one of the more dull looking versions that we have gotten. My other small quibble with Granov’s art is that everyone he draws look like lifeless mannequins.
Overall: Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas #1 was a fun read pure and simple. And fun is something that you don’t get that often on the vast majority of the comic books currently on the market. No, this issue isn’t intricate and profound. But, not every comic book has to be. I can appreciate it when a writer just delivers an honest and well crafted effort to provide the reader with fifteen minutes of fun.
If you enjoyed the Iron Man movie, then you will more than likely dig Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas #1. I will concede that this issue is pure set up and does not move at a blistering pace and is not overloaded with action. But, Favreau does a good job setting the stage for what should be an entertaining and wild ride of a story.
If you prefer complex and deep stories like what we get over on Iron Man: Director of SHIELD then you might not be thrilled with the simpler story that we get in Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas #1. However, I definitely found Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas #1 to be a much more fun and entertaining read than Invincible Iron Man #1.