The Invincible Iron Man: Going from the Movies to Comic Books

Can’t Get Enough of the Movie

The Iron Man film exceeded all expectations. It successfully created a story that caters to hardcore Iron Man geeks as well as casual movie goers who have never read a comic book before. Robert Downey, Jr. played the part of billionaire-genius-playboy, Tony Stark, perfectly. The special effects and the action scenes that go with them are drool worthy. There were surprises, dialogs, cameos, characters, and references placed at just the right amount and at just the right times to excite long time fans while not turning off newbies by making their heads spin.

For me, the film was so great that right after I left the cinema, I ran to the nearby comic book store and became the comic book geek I am now. The Iron Man movie got me from zero comic books to several hundred in just two years. And, I believe my behavior is not unique and Marvel knew it. So, expecting a demand for more things Iron Man, Marvel wanted to create an Iron Man series that would be accessible to people who knew nothing more about Tony Stark other than what they saw in the movie. On the other hand, Marvel did not want to alienate long time followers of the Armored Avenger nor scrap 40 years of Iron Man stories. In other words, they wanted a comic book series that would have the same effect as the movie.

Introducing: The Invincible Iron Man

Marvel hired an amazing creative team: Writer: Matt Fraction, Artist: Salvador Larroca, and Colorist: Frank D’Armata, for the task of creating a new series for this next generation of Iron Man fans. What they came up with, The Invincible Iron Man, is nothing short of a masterpiece.

I am not much of an art critic but for me the artwork is fantastic. Larroca’s and D’Armata’s work lets you feel the emotions of every character, tremble at every explosion and repulsor blast, and marvel at the details of each scenery . Every frame is as rich, dramatic and action packed as a scene from a Hollywood blockbuster. There are some imperfections; the art is inconsistent at times but it doesn’t take away from the great experience the series provides.

But the real genius behind this is Matt Fraction. He has encapsulated the essence of Tony Stark’s character, his shiny alter ego, and the world he lives in. In the spirit of the movie, he shows the lighter side of Tony: the women, the problems with booze, and saving everyday people’s lives, which were all but lost in the recent Iron Man storyline. Fraction focuses more on Iron Man, the superhero and not the politician that he has become as the Director of SHIELD. He explores Tony Stark, the man: his greatest fears, his relationships, his past, and what the future holds for him. He makes Iron Man cool again but also easier to relate to. If you have been reading Marvel comic books for quite some time, this is a much welcome treatment to Tony Stark whose character has become sort of an asshole since the Civil War event.

The ambitions the creators have for the series is very apparent. It is clearly made to draw in the fans of the movie. Even so, the content is not dumb down and stays true to what makes Iron Man so cool in the first place. It makes for a good read for old and new fans alike.

Meet the Ultimate Iron Man Bad Guy

Perhaps the most interesting part of The Invincible Iron Man is the villain from the first story arc, Ezekiel Stane. He is the son of Obadiah Stane, the bad guy from the movie. This makes it a good jumping on point for new fans, for sure, but that is not what makes “Zeke” so unique. As Matt Fraction himself puts it, Zeke is more of a parallel to Tony Stark than his father. Stane is the younger, smarter, more mobile, more aggressive, and, unfortunately, psychopathic version of Stark. Ezekiel Stane is the Iron Man 2.0. He is Stark’s worst nightmare, someone who could make the Iron Man technology cheap and obsolete; selling it to the highest bidding mass murderers.

Stane is ruthless. He doesn’t care who he sells his weapons to and who gets killed as a result. He respects no law, nation, principle, nor person. Stane is a genius. He has been designing bio-weaponry since he was nine. He has upgraded his own body with stolen Stark tech sold in the black market. He doesn’t need a suit, unlike Tony Stark. He can shoot repulsor rays from his freakin’ fingers! Stane is virtually invisible. He has created a system where his organization has no ID, no bank accounts, and no permanent address. For all of Tony Stark’s resources, being the Director of SHIELD and Head of Stark Industries, Stane just doesn’t exist. Stane is insane. Stane is a villain worthy of Iron Man.

What Are You Waiting For?

The 2009 Eisner Awards named The Invincible Iron Man as the Best New Series! With its excellent writing and art that keeps improving from issue to issue, this is the Best Series out there, period.

I am not paid by Marvel, Matt Fraction, or some comic book store. But seriously, if you haven’t already, go out and get your hands on The Invincible Iron Man. It’s definitely worth every buck (assuming you paid for it). I doubt that you would still find floppies available, though. In the Philippines, where I’m from, each issue sells out the day it comes out! Don’t fret; you can still grab the collection in trades. GO!

That is all for now. Don’t forget to tell me what you think in the comments section. Hope that you enjoy The Invincible Iron Man as much as I do. For now I’ll leave you with some pretty-pretty pages from the Five Nightmares Story Arc.

The Five Nightmares

Part 1: Armageddon Days

Part 2: Murder, Inc.

Part 3: Pepper Potts at the End of the World

Part 4: Neutron Bomb Heart

Part 5: Code Black

Part 6: Irrational Actors

Epilogue: Clifton Pollard

-FIN-

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