Writer: Robin Laws
Artists: Robert Teranishi (p), Eric Cannon (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
When Tony is contacted by a private investigator looking for a man who went missing in Las Vegas, we see his curiosity is peaked enough for him to fly out, and lend a hand in this investigation. While the two are able to expose a criminal enterprise that had been responsible for several kidnappings, we see the real danger doesn't make an appearance until later that night, as Tony is attacked in his room by a very surprising assailant.
This is the first issue where the credits don't offer up a thanks to Mike Grell, so I'm guessing this is the first issue where Robin Laws is working without the safety net. Now this opening chapter is pretty entertaining as I'm always glad to see Marvel heroes leave their regular environment of downtown Manhattan, and the glitz & glamor of Las Vegas is certainly a setting that lends itself well to this book's lead character. I also rather enjoyed the idea that while investigating the mystery of the missing Mo Stanton, Tony & his new lady friend manage to get themselves sidetracked by a plot that has nothing to do with the missing man. Now I do have to question the logic behind the kidnapping of the big spenders who looked to have lost big in the casinos, as one would think that targeting people who had won big would result in a more productive payoff. Then winning big in Vegas is more a tempting lure than a reality, so perhaps our criminals simply got tired of waiting, and decided going after the people who wouldn't be expecting any attention would make for an easier go. Or perhaps these criminals already got a heads up that someone they didn't want to tangle with was already covering the winners, as Tony discovers in the final pages. If nothing else the final pages of this issue certainly make for an exciting finish.
As for the art, while the color looked a little washed out, and the one page establishing shot of Las Vegas is severely hampered by the lack of vibrant colors, overall I was quite impressed by the art. Robert Teranishi offers up a tight, nicely detailed style that tells the story quite well. Now the action scene where Tony is rescued from his kidnappers isn't as clearly presented as one might've hoped for, but the action in the final pages is wonderfully intense.
An interesting first chapter in that it's almost a done-in-one story as the investigation of a missing person has Tony stumble his way into the middle of another unrelated bit of criminal activity, that he manages to expose with the help of his new lady friend/private detective. However the rather harrowing sequence in the final pages pulls the story back on track, and I have to say that this issue's cliffhanger stands up as one of the most exciting this book has seen in a very long while. The change of setting is also greatly appreciated, as Las Vegas is an environment that Tony fits quite nicely into, and there's a wonderful scene in this issue where Tony's past addiction makes a brief return. I also enjoyed Tony's back & forth banter with the new lady in his life, and I have to say that in only one issue Robin Law has offered up a character who I find infinitely more engaging than Rumiko, who was had dozens of issues and multiple writers working to develop her into an interesting character, but utterly failed to do so.
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