Ultimate Armor Wars is the Ultimate Universe version of the classic Iron Man storyline-Armor Wars. Warren Ellis takes the basic plot of someone stealing Tony Stark’s Iron Man technology. In this version the daughter of Justin Hammer, Justine, is helping Tony recover the tech. In the previous issue they took down Doctor Faustus. Faustus sold the tech to Bram Velsing. Tony is surprised to find out that Velsing has developed his own suit of armor.
Words: Warren Ellis
Pencils: Steve Kurth
Inks: Jeff Huet
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Velsing is mad that the Ghost stole the tech from him. He calls Tony a “travel agent for venereal disease” before he attacks. As Velsing begins to carve through Iron Man’s armor, Justine Hammer attacks. Iron Man blasts Velsing’s armor with a device that shuts down all of his technology. V
elsing is trapped in his armor. Iron Man threatens to let him die in the armor unless he reveals who bought the tech off of him. Velsing says the British bought it.
As they fly to London, Tony and Justine see the news. The British police are using new anti-riot armor developed from his technology. The Iron Man armor is not repaired from the damage done by Velsing but Tony takes it to stop the police. He sends Justine on another mission.
After a brutal battle, Tony is on the run. He takes out some of the police but the rest put him on the ropes. He is in trouble then the Ghost appears and blasts him. Tony falls into the river. Due to the damage to the armor, it starts to fill with water.
The Good: I like the art job done by Kurth and Huet. Any Iron Man comic needs to have an art team that does a good job with the armor. This team knows how to draw the various technology on display in this story. Velsing’s armor is very believable. The various separate sections of armor work well considering how he developed the armor. This was pieced together from parts of Tony’s technology.
They also excel with the special effects. The explosions were spectacular. The battles between Iron Man and his armored foes were stunning.
The other high point for the art is the background in England. The various landmarks looked dead on.
Ellis keeps the action going with the various battles. I liked how Ellis remembers the damage done earlier in the story. The ending with Tony drowning in the armor was logically set up by the battle with Velsing. Without Velsing damaging the armor, Tony would have done better against the police and would not be trapped in the cracked armor under water.
Ellis continues to provide some excellant dialogue. He showed how Velsing, and the rest of the world, views Tony through the dialogue.
The Bad: As good as parts of the art was, it also suffered from some weaknesses. Kurth and Huet were weak on the normal faces. Justine’s face looked different from panel to panel. Even Tony’s face varied somewhat between panels. If they tightened up the pencils on the faces it would be a much better art job. It almost looks like they were so focused on the armor and battles that they did not spend as much time working on faces.
If you had not read the previous issue, it would be hard to tell where the opening scene takes place. The backgrounds were vague and non-descript.
In some panels, it looks like Tony’s jet is normal sized. In other panels, it looks like Tony and Justine are sitting is an auditorium. A little more attention to detail would clear up these problems.
The story suffered from what seems to be a common problem in modern comics. Nothing really happened in most of the issue. Last issue Tony defeated Faustus, found out that Velsing has the stolen tech, and was threatened by Velsing. In this issue Tony defeated Faustus, found out that the British has the stolen tech, and was put in a dangerous position by fighting them. It seems like a repeat. Ellis is too good of a writer to phone in a story like this. Nothing new was revealed.
Overall: This issue was weak on the story side but was well executed. If you are picking it up to find out more of the story, you will be disappointed. If you are looking for a summer blockbuster action story, this is a good book for you to read. I will withhold my final opinion until I see how the story wraps up next issue.