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Iron Man #76

Posted: Wednesday, January 28, 2004
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: John Jackson Miller
Artist: Jorge Lucas

Publisher: Marvel Comics

The Plot:
With his bid to become the Secretary of Defense in full swing we see Tony Stark is called before a senate committee to be subjected to a serious questioning session, in which Tony's past is placed under a microscope, and his ability to guide the nation's defense policy is questioned. Meanwhile the stolen technology that prompted Tony's bid for power continues to spin out of control, as the technological advancements are progressing faster than the ability to safety manage them.

The Good:
Well I must confess I was genuinely surprised by the final page of this issue as given the effort that John Jackson Miller made to get the story to this stage, I was not expecting the book to take the path this issue's final page decides upon. Now I must confess I was rather pleased by the final statement, as it effectively removes this opinion from the table, and with the way things are in motion it would appear that the only road that is still open to Tony is open defiance of the US government. Of course having the main villain so eager to push forward on Tony Stark's technology is likely going to result in a horrific accident that is very likely to give Tony the proper motivation to actively defy the government, but no matter how it occurs this path sound infinitely more exciting that the path that would've been chosen if the vote had gone the other way on the final page. The book also sets up a fairly ominous situation as we see Sonny Burch has taken his theft of Tony Stark's technology to a rather worrisome level, as we discover what's hidden inside the big warehouse, and one has to believe that Tony's not going to sit back and let this situation continue. Plus taken in the wider context of the Marvel Universe, with Reed Richards being forced to sign over all his patents to the government over in the Fantastic Four, it looks like the Marvel Universe is about to undergo a technological revolution that might be too fast for its own good.

Jorge Lucas doesn't look to have a style that lends itself all that well to talking heads issues like this, as his characters are a bit flat when it comes to their expressions, with Tony's stunned reaction on the final page being the only real moment in this issue that I felt truly conveyed the emotion of the moment. However, the reason why I'm delighted to have Jorge Lucas on board is because he's very solid when it comes to delivering the technology aspects of the book, with the big reveal shot of what's locked away inside that warehouse being the visual highlight of the issue. The scene where we see those new planes take down an armored division was also nicely done, and one can't help but get an ominous feel when you learn one of them hasn't returned as programed. I also want to make mention of this issue's cover as that a great looking shot of Iron Man, with the fist smashing effect being a particularly impressive display of his power.

The Bad:
I don't really have much bad to say about this issue, though I will say that I'm a bit concerned that John Jackson Miller has gotten so caught up in the idea of Tony Stark making a run for Secretary of Defense that he's forgotten the primary reason most readers read this book is for some high tech, comic book science, slugfests. I mean political intrigue is all well and good, and the questioning session held my interest quite nicely, with Tony's nicely flippant answers being exactly the type of responses one would expect from the character. However, the armor is put completely on the shelf in this issue, and frankly the idea of following the adventures of Tony Stark in the political arena is an idea that becomes less and less appealing if it results in the removal of the very aspect that made me a fan of this book. I want the battle where Iron Man's testing out his new technological marvel against a powerful opponent. I want the battles where Iron Man's armor is covered in battle scars, and his power levels are flashing critical as the villain screams toward him. I mean John Jackson Miller has set up a fairly interesting problem from Tony, as he's essentially run up against a crisis that he can't simply blast out of existence, and this new approach was rather clever. However, I have to say that after spending the entire issue in the political arena, I was rather pleased to see that final page.

Would You Feel Better If They Was All Pushed Out Of Windows:
The question/answer session worked far better than I had expected it to as John Jackson Miller keeps the questions quite valid, and Tony's answers are nicely in keeping with the character's established personality. The attacks that are made during this questioning session are also quite solid, as they are logically sound, and it's clear that John Jackson Miller has done his homework in order to unearth the stumbling blocks that these people would address. The situation with the power hungry Sonny Burch has also reached to point where one can't help but be highly intrigued, as while Sonny Burch is a bit of a cardboard villain whose desire to push forward in spite of the concerns being brought forward is sure to lead to his downfall, the simple fact of the matter is that there's a great reveal in this issue where we discover this problem is far larger than even Tony believes it to be. This issue is a bit of a concern due to its lack of armored action, but the final page does take the plot down a road that would seem to lend itself to some rather exciting times.



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