Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Invincible Iron Man: The Many Armors of Iron Man By Various

Iron Man is a singular hero, but he continually revamps his armor, giving himself different powers and abilities, continually testing and refining his armors so that he can take on many different situations.

This book reprints several stories that show different armors that Tony Stark has invented and used in his day. The first is his original set of armor, which he constructs at the behest of a Chinese Warlord when he is captured and dying of shrapnel near his heart. It also tells the previously untold story of how Iron Man encountered James "Rhodey" Rhoades, his personal pilot, when he was seeking to escape Vietnam. Rhoades had been shot down in his helicopter, and he sacrificed the heli's power to re-energize Stark's armor, and later, piloted the helicopter they escaped in.

The second involves his space armor, which enabled Iron Man to survive and thrive in space. That story involves a Roxxon Company space station which, in using its new Microwave Power Beam, accidentally wipes out an entire town of people and animals. Iron Man must work with Sunturion, an employee of Roxxon, to first protect the station, then to keep it from being destroyed by Roxxon when it is discovered, and finally, to destroy the station when it falls from orbit and nearly wipes out Sarasota, Florida.

Third is the Stealth Armor, which he uses to infiltrate a secret army base in Germany where his girlfriend is being held. But she's there for a mission of her own, to rescue her husband, who she believed dead, from imprisonment and drug-induced torture by the Germans.

Fourth is Tony's Red and Silver Armor, called the Silver Centurion Armor, which he uses to fight Obadiah Stane's Iron Monger armor, itself based on Tony Stark's original Iron Man prototype.

Last is the Deep Sea Armor, which he uses to rescue a cannister of extremely toxic gas from the wreckage of the Titanic.

In addition to the stories, at the end of the Graphic novel, Bob Layton discusses the armor designs and why he likes or doesn't like them, as well as what makes each of the different designs great, and why the current suit of Iron Man armor has gone to a modular, brushed-metal look.

This is a fascinating look at some of the changes Iron Man has undergone during his long career. Not only the stories, but the insights of the artist who drew many of those armors makes this a fascinating look at Iron Man's history and where he might go in the future. Even if you aren't the biggest fan of Iron Man, this is a comic you'll be proud to have in your collection.

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