Current Reviews


Iron Man #13

Posted: Monday, November 20, 2006
By: Mike Williams

Writers: Daniel and Charles Knauf
Artists: Patrick Zircher (p), Scott Hana (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Iíll go ahead and get this out of the way right now: the pro-registration side of Marvelís Civil War has the stronger, more logical argument. Those who want to enforce the law should be trained to do so, particularly those with the ability to destroy entire city blocks. I understand the whole ďcivil libertyĒ objection, and the potential for corruption has already been shown with how Wonder Man is being blackmailed by the government, but the idea of registration is sound. And this might be why Marvel writers are trying so hard to paint the pro-registration side as fascists; itís the only way to strengthen the more ideological argument Capís side is based on.

The latest issue of Iron Man (the first of its Civil War arc), perhaps the most anticipated issue pertaining to the Civil War outside of the Civil War series itself, doesnít answer the question so many readers have: namely, what is Tony Stark thinking? How can he so easily go to war with his friends, so willingly lock former teammates up in the Negative Zone, so passively allow former villains (!) to hunt down unregistered heroes? None of these are addressed just yet. The issue does, however, set up the idea that all of these actions we know he will later commit are not a result of not thinking the issues through. If this issue shows anything, itís that Stark early on is torn as to what his responsibility is as superhero, and his responsibility as citizen.

Some may feel a bit short-changed with this issue because of the lack of answers (the issue is well behind the continuity of the Civil War). Still, there are hints as to why Stark will go down the path he does, including an offer to head a particular government defense program and a vicious attack on his friend and bodyguard, Happy Hogan. But right now the lack of definite answers is a minor let-down, even as it raises a bit of intrigue (at least in me).

Zircherís pencils suit the book well, and even though this issue is fairly ďtalky,Ē Zircher gives us a lot to look at. Starkís facial expressions are particularly strong, as thereís the right amount of pensiveness and doubt to convince us that Stark is struggling with his decisions early on, even if we donít see enough of this in Civil War. There are a couple fights as well, and the staging is well-paced and kinetic. The art has always been a strength of the series though, and the future battles Iron Man will engage in are sure to allow for some memorable work.

So while this issue doesnít provide answers to Starkís Civil War characterization, I donít think it was the intent of this issue to do so. I just hope the answers do eventually come, and that the explanation for Starkís behavior actually allows his argument to be viewed a little more rationally by readers who are perplexed by his actions thus far. But thatís going to be a tall order.

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