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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Reel Reviews: Iron Man 3 (2013)


Magneto's Movies


Reel Reviews


I need an introductory statement here, I can't say if I'm disappointed or satisfied by what I just witnessed. One thing, there's no doubt Iron Man 3 is not a better film than The Avengers, is it better than IM2? for sure, better than Iron Man? not sure, for me the two movies have a difference of 9 viewings between them (yes I've watch Iron Man about ten times). Well for the sake of it, here's my fresh review; Oh and SPOILER ALERT! Iron Man 3

Release Date: April 26th 2013 (UK/India/China)

Director: Shane Black

Cast: Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia 'Pepper' Potts, Don Cheadle as James 'Rhodey' Rhodes/Iron Patriot, Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian, Rebecca Hall as Dr. Maya Hansen, Stephanie Szostak as Ellen Brandt, James Badge Dale as Eric Savin, Ty Simpkins as Harley, William Sadler as President Ellis, Paul Bettany as JARVIS, Jon Favreu as Happy Hogan with Sir Ben Kingsley as 'The Mandarin'/Trevor Slattery and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner

Genre: Comic Book

Score: 8.5/10

Pros:-Superb acting all round

        -Black as a writer and director grasps the themes prevalent within the Iron Man comics; themes of inner turmoil, suicidal tendencies, heroic anxiety, the man inside the suit and desperation

        -Spectacular action set pieces and visual effects

        -A very personal story that wipes the memory of the tame Iron Man 2

        -Strongest climax action scene from any MCU solo movie

        -Seamless of the buddy cop and Christmas elements that are customary with Shane Black

        -Total subversion of the Damsel in Distress trope

        -Plausible explanation to the Avengers absence alongside some interesting references

Cons: -The butchering of the character of Mandarin

          -Murky and despicable conversion into 3D

          -The narrative lags in the middle portion

          -Too much confusion in the action scenes and scientific explanations


Best Scene: The attack on Stark Penthouse, Brilliantly shot and full on tense. Gives Pepper a sensational chance to suit up while also adds humor and provides the range with which the new suit can work.

Best Performance: Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man

Best Dialogue: "You see, I am Iron Man!"-Tony Stark, not sure if this is the actual phrasing of the quote cause I just watched the movie 7 hours ago in the theater

Coolest Comic Book Reference: "I'm not that kind of a doctor."-Bruce Banner, once Tony has given him his story to be psychologically analyzed. While I expected Banner to give him the number to Dr Samuel Sterns (Betty Ross's ex-boyfriend in The Incredible Hulk) the fact that it's so cool is because in the comics Bruce isn't mentally all okay.

Reel Reviews: Iron Man 2 (2010)

Magneto's Movies

Reel Reviews Iron Man 2

Release Date: May 7 2010

Runtime: 125 Minutes

Director: Jon Favreau

Cast: Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Gwyneth Paltrow as Viriginia 'Pepper' Potts, Don Cheadle as Lt. James 'Rhodey' Rhodes, Scarlett Johansson as Natalie Rushman/Natasha Romanoff, Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer, Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko/Whiplash, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson, John Slattery as Howard Stark, Paul Bettany as JARVIS and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury  

Genre: Comic Book

Score: 7.1/10 (Without VFX: 6.9/10)

Pros:-Still gives the popcorn entertainment that was an entertaining aspect of the first film
        -A varied amount of great performances from Downey to Rockwell
        -Some of the best CGI and action from any Marvel movie
Cons:-Doesn't balance the drama and comedy well
         -Over exposition of things
         -A muddled plot due to its two separate conflicts and the need to build towards The Avengers
         -Bland characters with bland acting from Mickey Rourke and Scarlett Johansson
         -The climax is once again disappointing
         -Everything that built Pepper Potts from the previous film, is thrown away in this one

Best Scene: The Monaco attack where Whiplash is first witnessed, here Iron Man reveals his bad ass hybrid suit of suitcase and Silver Centurion (two of my favorite armors from the comics)

Best Dialogue: "If you could make god bleed, people would cease to believe in him..."-Ivan Vanko/Whiplash

Coolest Comic Book Reference: Tony being told by Nick that he can only be a consultant for the Avengers initiative at the end of the movie. Behind him is a digital SHIELD map that highlights superhuman activity around the world. Highlighted places are: the ocean (Namor or the Midgard Serpent), Africa (Black Panther), Mexico (Thor), America (Hulk) and Europe (Captain Britain).



The film is so congested that at times it feels like it has no story, just a bunch of scenes strung together. Justin Theroux writes the film and its characters poorly. It also doesn't help that such a movie required allusions to the coming formation of The Avengers. The start is fun and quick, it makes sure to utilize Downey's Tony Stark to full potential, the middle lags due to the heavy amount of explanations and the confused/conflicting incidents while the end is a let down due to half baked characters and a shoddily written climax action scene.

A major problem as highlighted is the clashing ideas. There's a bit regarding Tony's drunken state that only reaches its peak in a slick but eventually too CGI'd clash with his friend James Rhodes. Then there is also the stolen tech issue that unfortunately plays around badly written villains in Justin Hammer and Whiplash. Where Whiplash has even lesser scenes-for his actor to establish himself-than Jeff Bridges Obadiah Stane from Iron Man 1, while Hammer comes off a bit too campy. Finally the movie also utilizes its second half to remind people that The Avengers is coming, made worse by the fact that neither Johansson or Jackson seem interested in performing their assigned roles.

This all drama is done with vigor and doesn't blend well with the comedic tone established from the first film. Here Theroux is unable to craft both sides to gel easily, while the dialogues spewing from Downey don't seem as fresh.

One other gyp is Pepper's character, while the narrative really captures the essence of her banter filled relation with Tony, their romantic arc takes an upswing that goes through the pitfalls of 'damsel in distress' mode. Here Pepper comes off as brave in the final scene when facing Hammer, yet she's stupid enough not to run from a bomb and requires Iron Man to save her.

The best thing though has to be some of the subtext utilized in the story. Showing a Tony behind his fathers Stark Expo video, gives meaning to Tony always being in the shadow of his fathers legacy. Also there are scenes regarding Coulson and Caps Shield as well as Tony realizing he is his fathers greatest creation.

By the way what was that element thing. I didn't fully grasp the half explained science in the film. For a sci-fi there was little exposition to the working technology that Tony utilizes. 

Overall unfortunately these plots don't sum up well together, the father-son and legacy content take control but still feel roughly done. Characters aren't written as well and while a focus on Tony's problems is great, it feels over explanatory rather than affecting during the action.

Score: 4.7/10



The direction here is much better, Favreau had a stern handle over proceedings. The action looks superb; camera work, lighting and the directing make the set-pieces some of the best in any of the Phase One Marvel Films. Favreau gives a dazzling template/audition for the work he would have done as director of The Avengers.

Unlike the action, Favreau already had a firm grasp on the quieter moments. Here he reigns in his actors well and tries his best to visualize the plodding drama. The writing is a let down on Jon, not only is it to basic yet muddled but the extra attention to references needed to build towards The Avengers means that his movie suffers.

Visually, the film is a treat. Camera work and framing is top notch, the action is never made to look queer, although at points metal on metal really feel murky. Focus on these scenes derives by the use of good lighting, while scenes bar the climax have color palettes that make it easy on the eyes of the viewer and present clear focus on the fighting etc. 

In conclusion, Favreau really puts in an effort that shows why he has now become a much sought after blockbuster director. His work is slick and shining, but the writing really lets him down. 

Score: 7.3/10 



The performances all round are great. For the characters written both Scar-Jo and Rourke do good. However they do not try to elevate themselves above the mediocre script like Jeff Bridges did in the first film.

Scarlett just lets herself run on autopilot with the characters ebb and flow, its good acting to the writing but the writing itself is pathetic. Mickey Rourke did his best to add to the film, including speaking Russian and his own bird and gold teeth yet he himself comes off bland. Favreau extends his prior cameo and gives Happy some fun dimension while Bettany is wry with his delivery as JARVIS. Samuel L. Jackson just seems to be playing his role out, he just looks bored and in need of the paycheck. I miss the Jackson that played Jules with such fervor in Pulp Fiction.

Clark Gregg is freaking awesome as Coulson while John Slattery suits playing Howard Stark considering how good he knows how to handle his drink and suit in Mad Men (as Roger Sterling)

Don Cheadle like the Iron Man armors is an upgrade on Terrence Howard. His Rhodey seems like a man who can handle the suit and go toe to toe with Iron Man. The best part is that his acting gels perfectly with Downey, and their chemistry is terrific on screen.

Gwyneth Paltrow doesn't get much to do unlike the first film, but she still performs well. Her comedic chops need refining, yet her chemistry alongside Downey has been the best part of the two three Iron Man films. She handles the dramatic chops well and is fitting with the upswing in position of her character.

Sam Rockwell brings his dose of crazy to the proceedings. He is spectacular and gives Downey a run for his money in this role. The brand of high brow comedy suits the films tone and really elevates the middle portions of the film. He is there as cannon fodder for Tony's quips, jokes and beatings by Black Widow and he takes it in stride. The final confrontation with Pepper brings out the business ferocity that hopefully resurfaces in coming movies. A character written badly for most part but performed splendidly all round.

Downey is a bit too Downey here, while that isn't a bad thing it bogs down part of the drama that the movie requires. Still he is well above his co-stars, Downey infuses the same charm that the first film had. It doesn't feel fresh but it works out spectacularly. What I said for his performance in the first film, it also applies here so 'Nuff Said.

Score: 7.5/10


The soundtrack is similar in tone to the first film. All the rock tracks from prior are included and this gives it character and flow as a franchise. This time round AC/DC even released an album for Iron Man 2. Apart from that come the major tunes in the score.

John Debney composed the music for the second installment. There is a touch of Russian tunes that feel fitting to Widow and Ivan Vanko. There are much better themes of heroism evident in the music than the first one. The score sticks to character emotions and is with plethora of guitar tunes that are rife with Stark ego. 

Unfortunately having to mix with the aforementioned AC/DC classic rock tunes like 'Highway to Hell' means that the score wasn't memorable for casual viewers. The songs take away from the essence of originality. 

Score: 8.3/10



This film has the best special effects of the Phase One films apart from The Avengers. In fact at times it feels as if it has aged better than stuff from the team up film from last year. The suits still look dazzling and the action is slick like Tony Stark. 

The only problem comes in its utilization. The special effects are rendered for just some blasts and metal on metal fights in the climax, this is disappointing and doesn't do justice to the creativity of VFX crews and animators.

Score: 7.7/10  


These two armors were mixed to give us the briefcase armor in the movie

Another major problem with the film is trying to do to much. Small things such as Widow's character and constant double identities while the Ultimate version of Nick Fury are great. Making Ivan Vanko a mix of Whiplash and Crimson Dynamo while having Justin Hammer youger than his comic counterpart is acceptable. 

However the problem comes when Favreau tries to adapt the seminal Iron Man stories; Demon In A Bottle and Armor Wars. The crew explained that Demon isn't a story that can be fully done, I disagree. This was a half hearted excuse for a half hearted trial, now obviously having taken over Disney will not permit it being adapted again. I would say to Disnye wouldn't you rather make children aware to the issues of excessive drinking, rather than making them ignorant about it altogether.

The Armor Wars part was done well, the only problem is that it didn't have enough villains and peaked with a horrendous climax in the movie. 

Some of the Avnegers building and all comic refrences such as the map and Cap's shield were fun to see.

Overall refrences wise this film adapting the source is great. It however doesn't adapt the stories well and seems to muddled

Removed scoring of source. I feel the source does not need to be scored, because many comic book movie will not follow the material perfectly and its hard due to bias to know when this is a right decision or a wrong decision by the creators.

Avengers Assemble!

Aneesh Raikundalia

Monday, 22 April 2013

Snap! Crackle! Pop Culture!: Iron Man Edition

Snap! Crackle! Pop Culture!

Iron Man Edition

So I know I did an RDJ edition the last time, but beyond the set Iron Man and RDJ are two different people. Iron Man is a comic book character, where RDJ is a real life person and stellar actor. Plus it's Iron Man week, so let's have fun;

My Memes


Possibly the coolest moment from the Iron Man films, this is typical Tony Stark; couldn't help that somebody insinuated he wasn't a hero, and he revealed his secret. A game changer in comics and movies, as never had a solo hero revealed who he is. Just removed the dramatic possibilities of ever having to worry who would discover his secret, since everyone always ends up doing so in the other movies. Plus he didn't have to worry about an upswing in fan-celebrity ambushes, since Tony was already a celebrity. However Iron Man 3 might just be the biggest threat to Tony Stark's loved ones, since the villains know who Iron Man is!

Seriously even DC knew how pathetic Batman was compared to the Golden Avenger, that in Marvel VS. DC comic they had Iron Man take on Green Lantern.  

For a minute just look away from the phone company names, Spider-Man seriously needs money. Not only does it play to his character but also two certain blockbusters last year defeating the web crawler's reboot.

 Oh my god!!!! Geek Fantasy!!! 

Didn't You Know?


The Iron Man suit is actually made out of titanium alloy, but Stark named himself Iron Man during his first adventure. Seriously, a man smart as him should have thought about it!

Iron Man wants to but being a scientist he has tried his best not to believe in magic. However recent events against the X-Men opened his eyes.

Tony Stark never had spy thriller adventures in his first comics, even though it was set during the cold war. Instead he faced communist villains but one's delving in weird forms of science and magic, most notably Mandarin

The Mandarin is Tony's arch-nemesis, he got his rings from the alien world of Makula V. That world is inhabited by Dragons including Fing Fang Foom

Iron Man's secretary Pepper Potts never ended up with him. In fact she married his bodyguard Happy Hogan, although both did have feelings for one another.

Your Favorite Iron Man Story = Your Personality

Iron Man: Iron Monger-You'll always be there to defend friends when they go through rough patches, just like they did for you. If someone bullies you away from your things, then they'll have hell to pay.

Iron Man: Armor Wars-If multiple people steal your stuff, they're dead!

Iron Man: Demon In A Bottle-That addiction is a poison and you finally let go of it

Iron Man: Extremis- You're ready to do anything to get a fix of the latest technology, and I mean ANYTHING.

Art Gallery

So this one isn't so good, but its been over three months that I've picked my pencil to draw and also Iron Man is one complicated design even with the help of a tutorial. it's in black and white, since I cannot paint and like my pictures with just the fresh inking. Photos are bad cause they have been uploaded through my phone.

Nothing for trailer trash today, I know there are Iron Man 3 trailers but for those who haven't seen them lets not spoil at least a bit of the movie surprise.

Avengers Assemble!

Aneesh Raikundalia

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Iron Man: Where to Begin?

Iron Man

Where to Begin?

First I thought I would just do a Tintin's Top Ten post on the best Iron Man stories, but then I wanted to get a bit creative. One thing I noticed, is that my posts on comics genrally do not appeal to new readers. I do give titles of comics, but never can do they point new readers to where they should begin from if they want more knowledge on certain characters. This way not only will I be responsible for new comic book fans, but also those that know their difference from the epic Dark Knight and the pathetic Batman and Robin, CBM's.

Oh, by the way I'm doing this cause it's Iron Man week. A week before the release of the third Iron Man feature film. From what I know people are excited to see this flick, and many of these are fans who have only got a taste of Tony Stark through the film universe. 

My feature here will show you new readers/interested readers which books to get if you want a low down on Iron Man. The one issue to resolve is that certain people just want books related to the movie, others want classics and others want modern books. So when I list each book, I will give a synopsis, what it falls under (e.g. Classic, Movie Related etc.) and why, where it can be bought and any chronological sequel tie-ins you might (not essential) want to read. So here we go;

Origins and Beginnings

This one's a space for the Origins of Iron Man you might want to check out. Yes, Iron Man has had multiple renditions of his origin. When Iron Man was born it was the year 1963 (it's his 50th anniversary this year!) and then the Cold War and Vietnamese War was a big factor thus Iron Man  was born when Tony Stark was captured by the Vietnamese "villains". Modern uptakes make Tony get captured by terrorists in the Middle East, due to USA's updated conflicts. But here's a look see for the beginning of good ol' Shell Head;

Iron Man: He lives, He Walks, He Conquers

Issue: Tales of Suspense Issue.39

As mentioned above, Iron Man initially builds weapons for the US army during the Vietnamese War. The issue sees him captured by these enemies, which also causes shrapnel to pierce his heart. A fellow captive Ho Yinsen saves him by placing magnetic chest plate on him to prevent the shrapnel from killing Tony and thus he builds him self the classic Tin Mark 1 suit and saves himself while becoming Iron Man. From here onwards Tony Stark would recharge his batteries and become Iron Man, who he told his friends was his bodyguard. Classic: The story began everything and without this piece by     Stan Lee, Iron Man may have never been born. 

Movie Related: Bar the setting and names, the bare essentials of the origin can be witnessed here. 

Essential Iron Man Vol.1 (Tales of Suspense Issue.39-72)

For readers who want a taste of the first Iron Man story, this is it. However now it has been retconned (removed from continuity) and so it's redundant. Not only that the story is old and reads a bit hooky, it also doesn't help that the collection is full of oddball villains with emphasis on Iron Man's battles against Communism.

The book itself is bound thick, but the pages are reprinted in only black and white. This makes it cheaper but can put of those who would want to see the early adventures in colour. 
What Next? 

Tales of Suspense Issue.50/62

The same collection also recounts the first encounters of Iron Man with his arch-nemesis Mandarin. This Mandarin unlike the Iron Man 3 version is Chinese and has Ten Magic/Alien Rings.   

Iron Man: The Iron Age Iron Man-The Iron Age Issue.1-2

This is a set of two graphic novel issues which depicts Iron Man's origins through his secretary Pepper Potts and Friend/Bodyguard Happy Hogan. They show how Tony goes from the spoiled and arrogant man into a true hero.

Movie Related: It gives depth to two important and likeable characters from the movie. Also able to show readers that Tony was never meant to end up with Pepper, by giving hints of the Pepper and Hogan romance which eventually ended in marriage.

Unfortunately there is no collected edition as far as I can tell on this book.

What Next?

Iron Man Vol.4 Issue.14 "The Death of Happy Hogan"

The death of Happy Hogan is hard hitting and it gets buried beneath the Marvel Civil War event. This simple issue is interesting as it shows ho much Hogan means to Pepper and Tony plus Tony may or may not have pulled the plug on Hogan saving him from a paralyzed life. It shows Tony has what it takes to do what may be necessary even in the most emotional times. This one is collected in Iron Man: Civil War.

Iron Man: Extremis

Issue: Iron Man Vol.4 Issue.1-6

Iron Man is brought to the technological forefront. A virus known as Extremis has gone viral and it grants a terrorist powers. Iron Man must stop this force and the only way he can is by taking Extremis himself. It also presents Tony remembering his origins but in an updated look from Vietnam to the Middle East. 

Modern: It's a modern rendition of Iron Man's origin and the one currently in continuity (as long as USA doesn't get into any other major conflicts). It also is lauded for making Iron Man more up to date tech wise and for giving Tony Stark a much better character. 

Movie Related: Extremis is the new issue and armor for Tony in Iron Man 3. The origin in the movies was adapted from here. Adi Granov associated the design production for the Iron Man movie, hence the movie Iron Man has a suit similar to Extremis. Built the foundation for the Tony Stark character (that was previously bland) that was enhanced by Robert Downey Jr.

The collected edition to the seminal story is an influence, introducing staying characters such as Maya Hansen and giving Iron Man a rebooted origin and an explanation to Tony's ideology. The book collects the 6 issues in just a new cover. 

What Next?

Iron Man: Hypervelocity

Although published after this, Hyper-velocity is set before Extremis. This is a pre-cursor to the Extremis armor which ends up going sentient on Tony Stark. I don't know much about this as I have never read it. 


Here is a list of the classic comics that an Iron Man fan should find it essential to read. If you (like me) have the urge to know where Iron Man came from, and how some of his most celebrated adventures ended, then this is it! We've gone through Iron Man 101, now here is the next big step.

Iron Man: The Beginning of The End Iron Man Vol.1 Issue.17-23

Creative Team: Archie Goodwin (Writer) and George Tuska (Artist)

Tony Stark is in deep trouble as his Iron Man suit gains sentience. Now he has to face the rogue armor alongside old foe Madam Masque with Midas and Death! Tony is on the run and at his lowest. The kind of dark stories that were not a norm in Marvel Universe, but made Tony Stark and Iron Man a much better hero once he came back from a fall. This is the first time the theme was implemented in the Iron Man books, and since has become norm.

Classic: Iron Man tales of old were never that good prior to a seminal run mentioned below, but this one stands through the test of time because it laid the foundation for many of the Golden Avenger's Mythos. 

Essential Iron Man Vol.3  (Iron Man Vol.1 12-38 and Daredevil 73)

This story arc can be found in the third volume of the Essential Iron Man series. Printed in Black and white, the thick book costs quite less compared to other paperback, hardcover or collected single issue editions. The greatest bit is that if the reader knows Tony's origin, they can jump in at Issue 12 so as to get set with the mood of the writing/art and finally pick up at the main arc mentioned above.  

What Next?

"The Zodiac" Iron Man Vol.1 Issue.35 and Daredevil Vol.1 Issue.73

Part of the collection. A two issue team up between shell head and the man without fear. It isn't interesting or particularly good, but gives the reader a dose of the transition between the fun loving swashbuckling to serious Daredevil (that has been his character for a long time since).

Iron Man: Demon in A Bottle Iron Man Vol.1 Issue.120-128

Creative Team: David Michelinie (Writer), Bob Layton (Artist), John Romita Jr. (Artist) and Carmine Infantino (Illustrator)

Another story seeing Stark's downfall, this time cause of industrial rival Justin Hammer and his army of villains. His machinations push Tony to the limit, an the influence of Tony's vices grip him and create his most darkest moment ever. The exploration of Tony's psyche as readers witness his want to just die while his own addictions getting the better of him are entertaining (not in a mean way) to watch. A topic that sparked the 70's of the comic industry, never had alcoholism been seen as so dire. 

Classic: If anyone came and told me how they found Iron Man 2 to be a great (not good, great) movie even better than the first one, I would tell them to check this book out. Not only is Justin Hammer threatening but the drinking problem in the last few issues is really amplified. Considered the best Iron Man story to date, this is one to read even if you aren't a fan of older comics.

Movie Related: The arc was copied slightly and mixed with the one below to not so good effect. Still, it can be adapted in a larger scale for future Iron Man movies

Iron Man: Demon In A Bottle Paperback  

Mining the character for all it's worth after this brilliant masterpiece, a new volume for it was released. This paperback addition collects the arc alone. The TPB system is a fun thing, but with only 8 issues most might think the price is too high. You could also get the full 40 issue run between David and Bob for a stellar time. Don't get the book pictured above, that's just the penultimate issue of the story and on Amazon it costs a whooping 100 dollars (cause it's a collector's edition)

What Next?

Iron Man 2

I really liked this movie, it was fun popcorn entertainment but I also couldn't feel happy knowing that the arc was unevenly explored. Since with Iron Man 3 we are getting darker and Justin Hammer did promise to return, I'm hoping someone picks up the ball to make this haunting story a reality. Till then watch Iron Man 2, just knowing what could have been.

Iron Man: Armor Wars Iron Man Vol.1 Issue.225-231

Creative Team: David Michelinie (Writer) and Bob Layton (Artist)

Ok so I know I said they have the whole run, but if you're a reader who wants some action romp but from the classic stories, then instead of Demon in A Bottle there's Armor Wars. This story sees the Iron Man technology getting swiped and sold to villains looking to destroy Iron Man, the evil behind this; once again Justin Hammer. Iron Man goes lethal on everybody who has a piece of his tech and raises the ire of SHIELD among others. Donning his Silver Centurion armor means that Tony is dead serious.

Classic: For me this is possibly the second best Iron Man story behind the above one. It's more fun yet also dramatic in the action. The Silver Centurion armor is one of the coolest and I marked out when I saw it in the big screen in Iron Man 2 (it was merged with the briefcase armor).

Movie Related: The nod of the Silver Centurion armor when Tony face someone who has "stolen" (in the movie created) his tech. First it diminished Tony as a genius when Anton could easily create the same model. Mixed with the arc mentioned above, the results cam a bit not so great. I highly doubt this will be full adapted as the first two movie have been about stolen tech and now Tony is going to be bound with his Extremis armor. 

Iron Man: Armor Wars Paperback 

Just like any other Marvel TPB, the pages are better printed and the colors are much more advanced from the original issue. Armor Wars collects only the issues of the arc and is interesting to read in trade. 

What Next?

Iron Man: Armor Wars Prologue Paperback (Iron Man Vol.1 Issue.215-224)

More like what previously, this TPB is crafted by the same team and lets the reader fit into what is going in Iron Man's life prior to the big showdowns. Both adventures of Tony Stark and the other Iron Man (James Rhodes pre-War Machine) are highlighted while the villain Spymaster (who eventually sells the Iron Man armor design to Hammer) is spotlighted alongside Justin's B-Team and AIM.

Iron Man: Armor Wars II Paperback (Iron Man Vol.1 Issue.258-266)

This trade collects John Byrne's story where Iron Man faces another bunch of Industrial rivals who get into his head and cause a temporary brain paralysis for Tony. On the other end there's Mandarin who learns the true potential of his alien Ten Rings making him more menacing then ever.  A sequel in name to the first Armor Wars, not as good but important in knowing how powerful the comic version of Mandarin is. 

Iron Man: The Dragon Seed Saga

Issue: Iron Man Vol.1 Issue.270-275

Creative Team: John Byrne (Writer) and Paul Ryan (Artist)

While not so widely praised, this one is an important classic story since it involves Iron Man's arch-nemesis Mandarin. It could have been movie related, but this arc explore the Alien rings of Mandarin and their untapped power (the movie will not have the ten rings). A natural success to Armor Wars II as Tony and James head to China to seek a cure for the virus that nearly destroyed Tony's central nervous system previously. Both Iron Men (Tony and James) are present as they tackle the Ten Alien Dragons awakened through the rings. It's a big glorious battle that gives ode to the science vs. magic stories of silver age Iron Man. 

Classic: Not necessarily wholly remembered, but a classic and definite origin for Mandarin's ten rings. Enjoyable and entertaining, plus at least it's focused unlike the multiple origins given to Mandarin himself. 

Iron Man: The Dragon Seed Saga Paperback Amazon doesn't sell this one directly, instead you have to get it from one of its associated sellers. This isn't as essential unless you want the perspective of a great Iron Man villain since Mandarin is probably on his own class compared to the dregs of B-Listers in shell heads rogues gallery. The story is borderline, only for the mega Iron Man enthusiast. Personally I haven't read it and for five mediore issues I wouldn't shell even 5 dollars.

What Next?

Iron Man: Revenge of the Mandarin Hardcover (Iron Man Vol.3 Issue.8-14, Iron Man and Captain America Annual 1998 and Fantastic Four Vol.3 Issue.15)

Far from the next arc but this story is the next battle between Iron Man and Mandarin (according to IGN). This run by Kurt Busiek followed the Heroes Reborn Vol.2 Iron Man which was pathetic thus it is actually quite good. But in the context of this article's chronology it doesn't quite stand up to Armor Wars and Demon in A Bottle. Conclusively it's underrated. Sold in only a hardcover, which makes it quite pricey for what its worth even if there's a 23 dollar cut. 


These are some of the modern stories that haven't influenced or yet have to influence the Iron Man films. 

Marvel Civil War

Issue: Civil War Issue.1-7

Creative Team: Mark Millar (Writer), Brian Michael Bendis (Writer) and Steve McNiven (Artist)

The mega event that got the ball rolling for event comics in Marvel. Civil War saw an incident causing the UN to put up a superhuman registration act. Championing the act was Tony Stark revealing himself for the third time as Iron Man. Against him and his rallying super human supporters; Captain America and his supporters of Anti-Registration. The series these days is chastised for being to against Tony Stark and making him evil and out of character. But those who know Stark from classic eras can vouch that he has a way of doing things that most morally conscious heroes wouldn't contemplate, anyway it's an enjoyable ride that has formed Tony for the modern times. 

Modern: From here onwards it's all about the downfall for Tony Stark, the modern era Iron Man was born through this action and his victory here became the stampede for line wide Marvel events. Iron Man finally gained his reputation back saving Asgard alongside Thor and Captain America, a trio not seen together in years.  

Civil War Hardcover (Civil War Issue.1-7)

The Civil War hardcover edition collects the bulk/main parts of the event. Just a fair bit of warning, Mark Millar characterizes Iron Man as a total douche and villainous in this role. At times it feels a bit out of character.

What Next? 

Iron Man: Director of SHIELD

The underrated Knauf father and son run hit a snag here, their characterization of Tony is spot on but he was hated to much at this point for anyone to care. New Readers may not like this as a jumping on point as it is an opposite of the Iron Man movie charm. But it's what happens next on the list, and seeing Tony as the head of SHIELD is a bit intriguing you might say. There's also some nice additional material such as a Nick Fury comic issue and another old Iron Man issues, that presents the relations between shell head and SHIELD from before. 

The Invincible Iron Man: The Five Nightmares

File:The Invincible Iron Man 1.jpgIssue: The Invincible Iron Man (Iron Man Vol.5) Issue.1-7

Creative Team: Matt Fraction (Writer) and Salvador Larroca (Artist)

Enter Ezekiel Stane, son of Obadiah Stane seeking revenge for his father's death. Using terrorists and AIM Ezekiel's goal is to destroy Stark Industries, Tony Stark and superhero organization Trump Division. 

Modern: Unfortunately I haven't read any part of Matt Fraction's Iron Man, but if you want a modern Iron Man he is the writer presumably to follow. His work here begins the seminal run on the fifth volume for the armored avenger.

Invincible Iron Man Omnibus Vol.1 Hardcover (Invincible Iron Man Issue.1-19)

Okay so I know it's a bit expensive, if you can't shell that much then maybe just get the Five Nightmares TPB. With the Omnibus though you get the next longer World's Most Wanted arc which is a pseudo psychological political thriller in lieu of the movies. The only problem is between arcs the Secret Invasion occurred and I'm not sure if they give a saisfactory explanation to what happened there. If not it may be a bit hard to understand. 

What Next?

The next bits of The Invincible Iron Man, why? because all arcs are connected to the next and I'm sure any reader going to end the third arc will want to know what happens in the fourth and then the fifth and so on and so forth.The second Omnibus can be found here. With a third hopefully on its way.


These are some of the oddball and/or alternate reality stories of Iron Man that are wholly entertaining. 

Iron Man: Doomquest

Issue: Iron Man Vol.1 Issue.149-150

Creative Team: David Michelinie (Writer) and Bob Layton (Artist)

Doom tries to buy Stark equipment which puts him Iron Man's radar, but Doom isn't just your average villain. In an attack on Doom's Latverian castle, the two are flung into the past through Doom's time portal, specifically Camelot in the King Arthur times. Iron Man truly becomes a shining knight alongside the King while Doom becomes the undead general for Morgana Le Fey in favor for the return of his mother from hell. But the two are joined to force hands in order to get back home. 

Eccentric: It's a story through time, and reinforces the notion that Iron Man is a new age knight. It doesn't fit the realistic mode that new readers/movie fans would be used too. The only realistic thing is the addition of eerily similar (to Tony Stark) Doctor Doom to Iron Man's Rogues gallery

Classic: It's an entertaining romp, that is part of the most illustrious classic Iron Man run. Refrenced a dozen time with two sequels and a continued enmity between Iron Man and Doom.

Iron Man vs. Doctor Doom: Doomquest Hardcover (Iron Man Vol.1 Issue.149-150 and 249-250)

This hardcover edition collects the original saga listed above and the sequel as well. Just reading the name shows that Iron Man alone doesn't get top billing and should give you an idea of how important Doctor Doom is in the story and how big of a character he is. The second piece is set in an Arthurian future and is kind of lame but still fun. Apart from the glossy cover and newer pages, there aren't any extras and for 15 dollars Marvel can't trick us that the sequel is extra. It's a classic story, but I don't know if it's worth price. A used issue for 10 seems okay as long as it isn't to damaged.

What Next? 

Iron Man: Legacy of Doom

A miniseries that sees Doom and Iron Man in a trip to demonic Mephisto's realm. Doom and Iron Man team up to defeat Mephisto who wants to bring the end of times, but Doom has ulterior motives concerning his mother. Don't let the title confuse you, this is a Doom story through and through.  This is a cheaper TPB worth your time if you've completed/collected the above material since this rounds out the Camelot Trilogy.

Iron Man: Noir

Issue: Iron Man Noir Issue.1-4

Creative Team: Scott Snyder (Writer) and Manuel Garcia (Artist)

Bringing Iron Man to the alternate darker and pulpy Noir universe. A 1938 as Iron Man of this universe looks for a cure to his disease alongside ancient artifacts while trying to fight Stark tech thieves Count Nefaria and his Nazi sympathizers. This story is more important because it's written by a Pre-DC and Pre-Batman Scott Snyder.

Eccentric: Well, it's set in a highly pulpy but gritty alternate reality...duh!

Modern: Scott Snyder is the current writer of a seminal Batman run and seeing him in a Marvel book is fun.

Iron Man: Noir Paperback 

The paperback collects the aforementioned story, in TPB. The dimensions of the book are smaller, but apart from that nothing different than a Marvel TPB and for 10 dollars no extras. Want to read something good that is alternate-key word good-then this is it.

What Next?

Any other title from the Noir universe specifically the perfectly suited Spider-Man: Noir or Daredevil: Noir

I would suggest more alternate reality titles like Ultimate Iron Man (but it sucks) while The Ultimates is a full Avenger book. 

Movie Related

This are arcs that are both classic and modern but have something directly to do with the film and also aren't badly done (eg. Iron Man 2 being a pale version of Demon in A Bottle/Armor Wars)    

Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin

Issue: Enter the Mandarin Issue.1-6

Creative Team: Joe Casey (Writer) and Eric Canete (Artist)

Since Mandarin has so many origins, Casey adapts the absurdity of the silver age and brings this modern interpretation of the vaunted villain. Iron Man is hired by SHIELD to confront a Chinese warlord who has been exerting influence on the Chinese government. This warlord is none other than Mandarin, now Iron Man must face a force he doesn't believe in; Magic. Casey's writing style is exciting and his pacing is stellar but credit also should go to Canete who adapts the silver age art beautifully and even pays ode to pulp hero Rocketeer. 

Modern: It's a new age story released in 2006 but... adapts a classic Stan Lee/Marvel silver age style.

Movie Related: This is the first confrontation between Iron Man and his greatest villain Mandarin (coming in Iron Man 3). This is just show how different Mandarin is in the comics compared to his movie version

Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin Paperback (Issue.1-6)

The Paperback is a whopping 30 dollars, apparently only few of these are left. The work is great but for the price it's not worth it instead I'd pick up the Essential Iron Man Vol.1 listed above since some parts of this book come from there. 

What Next?

Iron Man: Ten Rings Rule The World

Tony faced a gauntlet of villains backed by a mysterious leader. Eventually this was revealed to be the presumed dead Mandarin. This story is what many people have stated that Iron Man 3 might follow, with Mandarin manipulating an army of Extremis powered terrorists against the Golden Avenger. Unfortunately this isn't in any collected edition.

Iron Man vs. Iron Monger

Issue: Iron Man Vol.1 Issue.160-200

Creative Team: Denny O'Neil (Writer) and Multiple Artists

Building since since issue 160, Obadiah Stane has stolen Tony Stark's company. Currently James Rhodes is in the Iron Man suit but he's starting to crack and Tony picks up his Silver Centurion armor as things get serious. Now Tony has to face the business rival who has turned himself into the Iron Monger!

Movie Related: It's a partial influence on the first Iron Man movie,with even Tony having to use an obsolete arc reactor to face Monger like in the books where he uses an obsolete armor. Behind Armor Wars and DIAB this is the next best arc worth reading. It is the epitome of an underrated run by lauded Batman scribe Denny O'Neil. 

Iron Man: Iron Monger Hardcover 

This isn't worth it, not because it's pricey but the series is incomplete. I understand that Iron Monger's involvement came from issue 193 yet it is vital to understand the back story of this. Marvel can be considered stupid for not releasing a full collection during the first Iron Man movie release. Maybe they just didn't want to show what a great villain Obadiah Stane could have been.

What Next? 

Watch the first Iron Man movie and spot the differences, good or bad. 

Iron Man: Haunted Iron Man Director of SHIELD (Iron Man Vol.4) Issue.15-28

Creative Team: Daniel Knauf and Charlie Knauf (Writers) and Robert de La Torre (Artist)

I already talked about this above, how the Knauf run was buried due to low sales due to Tony's actions at that point (See Civil War). This story pertains to a hand-less Mandarin escaping prison having fused his rings to his spine returning in another guise as a CEO for Prometheus (not the movie). Mandarin used this company to develop Extremis into an aerosol virus which would kill half the world and power the other half. He also distracts Tony from this buy controlling the Extremis in the Iron Man armor. Brutality ensues as once again Tony puts on his Silver Centurion and rips each of the rings out of an extremis induced Mandarin and blasts him with the ring and armors full force. Okay so I spoiled it, but you have to see the way the move looks. 

Movie Related: It seems Mandarin's actual mission in the movie might just be this. It looks that his minions are doing Extremis tests on everyone including a certain woman in Tony's life.

Modern: It really shines on how powerful Mandarin is, for modern comic readers this is a definite tale on who and what Mandarin is as a villain.

Iron Man Vol.5: Haunted Paperback  (Iron Man: Director of Shield Issue.21-26 and Annual 1) 

Unfortunately between this and the previous Director of SHIELD there is a few issues missing that pertain to the story. I cannot seem to find Director of SHIELD volume 4, so this is pretty weird to buy alone. I know he isn't a big villain like Doom or Goblin but Mandarin deserves a collected Omnibus for fans, I mean Marvel could have done this in pretext to the movie. In fact I want to put up a petition for a villain series of collected editions. 

What Next?

Invincible Iron Man Annual.1

This is a volume later, but it really is just another Mandarin origin. Steeped in mythical and alien lore, which is totally opposite of the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 (at least from what we're being told). It's an actually interesting take, as the origin comes from Mandarin's perception when he is getting a movie made about himself. A real thought provoking story that shows how egoistic and thus similar he is to Tony. 

Writer's Runs

Rather than stories if you like me love to collect and read comics according to a characters best writers then this is it. All I am listing here is the writer and their number of issues, since some of them have to be found as back bin issues.

Stan Lee (Tales of Suspense Issue.39-98)

The start to the classic character. Nowhere near as good as Lee's work on FF and Spider-Man, but this is for the fan who wants to see how Lee wrote their favorite character in the silver age in his beginnings. Something must be good about this Iron Man, nonetheless we wouldn't be celebrating his 50 years in 2013.

David Michelinie (Iron Man Vol.1 Issue.116-157, 216-250, Annual.9-10, Bad Blood 1-4, Legacy of Doctor Doom 1-4 and Iron Man: The End 1)

Possibly the best Iron Man writer ever, David really understood the character until the movies updated him. His stories were a constant struggle for the man in the suit and personified his phoenix metaphor. His work includes the two best stories Armor Wars and Demon in A Bottle plus more. Don't know if they have an Omnibus for this, but it would be worth it to try getting it.

Dennis O'Neil (Iron Man Vol.1 Issue.158 and 160-208

An underrated run by the superb O'Neil. This was a run brimming with the story on Iron Man and his battle against Iron Monger but there was more building regarding AIM, if only O'Neil had continued. He also gave the most poignant issue with Tony losing his one time drinking buddy in issue 182. What did bog it down for most was that the first half of the run had James Rhodes under the suit until Monger became a larger threat.

John Byrne (Iron Man Vol.1 Issue.258-277)

No matter how controversial, Byrne really enhanced Marvel works in FF and X-Men. When he returned to the company he wrote a very low key Iron Man series that explained Mandarin's rings, re-introduced alien dragon Fing Fang Foom and wrote Armor Wars II. Not so excellent as his past work, but some good and important additions to Iron Man's mythos.

Warren Ellis (Iron Man Vol.4 Issue.1-6)

Okay so this is just Extremis, but I put Ellis's name for shock value. His one arc really changed Stark for the better, it brought him to the technological forefront and effected every other Iron Man story afterwards.

Matt Fraction (The Invincible Iron Man Vol.5)

The complete run encapsulated a major struggle between Tony and Mandarin with the Stane child and Hammer children in tow. Simply a collection of the movie villains in some form.  run 

Avengers Assemble!

Aneesh Raikundalia