Friday, April 3, 2015

Tales from the Library! – Invincible Iron Man Vol. 1: The Five Nightmares

Now, it’s time to show a little love to the man known as Tony Stark. I have to be honest in that Iron Man isn’t one of my favorite characters. Even though I like the movies, I’m just not a fan. Some years back, the public library in my hometown acquired Matt Fraction’s entire run on Iron Man. I decided to check out the first few volumes and did like what I read. Since Iron Man is gracing us with his presence in Avengers: Age of Ultron, I decided to re-check that first volume and see if it’s really any good.

The trade includes the first seven issues of Invincible Iron Man. At this time, Tony Stark had become the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. after the fiasco with Marvel’s Civil War which is one story I have to cover on here one day. If I remember correctly, these issues came out at the time when Secret Invasion (another event I might look at) was being released. The Five Nightmares is written by Matt Fraction. He’s done a lot of work for Marvel in the last decade. He’s even done stuff for Image as well. The artist on the book is Salvador Larroca. He’s also been in the industry for a long time.

Invincible Iron Man: The Five Nightmares
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colors: Frank D'Amata and Stephane Peru
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons

The story starts out with a terrorist attack in Tabora, Africa. Director Tony Stark (who’s rockin’ the mustache this time) gets informed about the attack and finds out that someone gave these terrorists advanced technology that’s similar to his. At first, he’s finds a split-off group of A.I.M., A.G.M. (Advanced Genocide Mechanics), but realizes that they couldn’t have outfitted the group. Ezekiel Stane, the son of Obadiah Stane, reveals himself to Tony as the one outfitting these different organizations. While he’s doing it for the heck of it, he also wants revenge on Tony since he was indirectly responsible for his father’s death (not really responsible since Obadiah committed suicide, but Ezekiel is a weird individual).

One of Stane’s attacks on Tony’s company causes Pepper Potts, Tony’s personal secretary, to get badly injured. In order to keep shrapnel from piercing her heart, Tony uses the same technology that kept him alive to save her. Since they can’t get an idea on what Ezekiel will do next, Tony and SHIELD use bait to get him down. He creates some armor that can be tracked and sends it through the black market. Ezekiel acquires it and uses parts of it to supply his soldiers.
So, what happened to this nice couple? Read Civil War where Tony _________!

Ezekiel and his small army then try to take down Stark Industries by blowing up four of Tony’s biggest sites. Luckily, Tony and SHIELD is planned for it all. While one site is destroyed, Tony is able to stop Ezekiel and his men by using multiple suits and some ingenuity. The aftermath then involves a post-One More Day Spider-Man showing up. Basically, Tony wanted to make sure that there wasn’t any more of his technology being illegally used. He reluctantly teams up with Spider-Man (Spidey wasn’t registered) to get the weapons under some control. The story ends with Peter getting an interesting pic while Tony isn’t looking.

I think I’m beginning to remember why I picked the first four volumes up. This was a pretty good read. I thought the story was well done. We get to see Tony put through the wringer in a big way. I especially liked the title “The Five Nightmares” since that gets brought up in a big way in the story. Basically, the five nightmares are five fears that Tony has about bad people getting access to the Iron Man technology. It’s an understandable fear for Tony to have. While he’s trying to save the world, others are trying to destroy it. I thought the writing and dialogue was spot-on too.

 I also liked the supporting characters like Maria Hill and Pepper Potts. I especially liked how they played off one another. They both end up playing big roles in the later volumes.  The team-up with Spider-Man was also pretty cool as well a little confusing (Thanks Joe Quesada for that awfulness called One More Day). Ezekiel Stane was an alright villain. He’s basically the evil version of Tony Stark. He sells his own advanced tech to folk who want to cause a lot of destruction and wants revenge.  He’s not the worst villain, but he is a bit generic.

The artwork is pretty good. Everyone looks good and the Iron Man suits look pretty awesome. Someone even though that it would be a good idea to have Tony sport the mustache again. As a card-carrying member of The ‘Stache Club, I approve! Everything from the action scenes to the quiet scenes looks good. I will say Larroca’s photo-referenced art can be a bit distracting at times. I spotted Paris Hilton and Danny Devito here. I will say that it would be interesting to see what Josh Holloway could do as Tony Stark since… well, look at what Larroca eventually turns Tony into.

Overall, I say give this a read. It’s a pretty good read with good art. I feel like reading the rest of the run when I get a chance to. Just don’t be expecting the Robert Downey Jr. Tony here. He’s not that abrasive twit… don’t worry, I like Downey’s Tony in the movies. I don’t like it to be everywhere else though. Well, it’s time to move to another hero from the Avengers. Peace, God Bless, and try not to indirectly create men who will sell weapons to terrorists.

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