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Iron Man #74

Posted: Sunday, November 23, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: John Jackson Miller
Artist: Jorge Lucas

Publisher: Marvel

Plot:
With his technological wonders unleashed unchecked into the weapon building community Tony takes a drastic step to regain control as he pushes for a nomination to be the new Secretary of Defense for the United States. To this end he prepares for the impending firestorm of press, public, and government scrutiny, but in order to sweeten his position Tony makes a rather bold promise that if he's accepted "no one need ever die in war again!"

Comments:
This story is an interesting political potboiler as we watch Tony Stark immerse himself into what looks to be a political firestorm in his bid to regain control of his unchecked technological advances. However, the final page promise that Tony makes to the gathered crowd is something that works far better if this story removes itself from the Marvel Universe, and instead sets itself in the real world where there aren't a couple dozen technological geniuses who are just a capable of building technology that can match, and in some fields even surpass what Tony Stark can come up with. Heck with Tony's aversion to magic, who's to say that an enemy country wouldn't turn it's energies down this road in a bid to hold a better hand than the new Tony Stark sponsored weapons building machine that America has now become. I mean the entire Cold War was driven by the idea of one country having to have a superior weapons program, and I seriously doubt this mentality has gone the way of the dinosaur. Now Tony can deliver numerous assurances that he's developing non-destructive means for America to advance its interests around the globe, but frankly any country that America targets with its new casualty-friendly program isn't really going to care if their country is being invaded with a velvet glove or an iron fist. In fact, all Tony is really doing is taking the weapons races into the next stage and it's foolhardy to believe that just because Tony wants it to be casualty-friendly warfare, the enemy is going to hold this same belief.

As for the art, Jorge Lucas' work is a bit worrisome in that his figure work is a bit on the stiff side, and his characters aren't all that expressive. However, while this issue's talking heads scenes, which make up the majority of the issue, suffer as a result of the rather limited range of facial expression the art is able to provide, I do have to say that I am impressed by the scene where Tony is suited up in his armor, as Jorge Lucas' work is very solid when it comes to delivering technology. In fact there's a truly wonderful, one page shot of Iron Man in this issue that has me eagerly awaiting the moment where Tony's plan goes off the rails and he's forced to square off against whatever mechanical monstrosity threatens the day. There's also some nice little moments like the armor suiting up sequence, or the simple cloud of dust that is raised when Tony is landing at his business headquarters with his boot jets.

Final Word:
Set in the real world this is a fairly engaging attempt to merge comic book ideology with real world political dynamics. However, when one inserts this same story into the Marvel Universe, which is filled with invading aliens fleets that are forever losing technology that is light-years ahead of what humanity is capable of, magic users who are able to make Tony's technological advancements about as effective as a rubber sword, and mad geniuses who have made it a life's obsession to proven that they are capable of building a bigger, badder weapon than the media darling Tony Stark, and the cracks start to appear. I mean to any country that isn't America it's going to look like America has just added the technological knowledge of Tony Stark to their military machine, and no matter how many assurances he makes that he's going to push for technology that won't kill, I seriously doubt they will believe him, or choose to adopt a similar approach when they are approached by the people that claim they are able to provide a better mousetrap than the ones Tony Stark is providing America.



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