2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 2010
As I have stated before, currently the Ultimate Marvelverse is one of the few places of solus with regards to sanity (mostly anyways) and post-Ultimatum, the universe seems to be restoring to its pre-Ultimatum level of quality. Being the massive fan of Ultimate Iron Man that I am, when I heard he'd got his own series (and not as a teenager) I leapt at the chance to see my favourite Ultimate character in his own miniseries. I was not disappointed.
Warren Ellis is no stranger when it comes to Iron Man, having penned the best Iron Man story of the 20th century and possibly the best Iron Man story EVER in the form of "Extremis." However, he's also written the heavily underwhelming "Ultimate Human" which was originally "Ultimate Iron Man vs Hulk" until the appearance of Ultimate Leader meant that all awesome punchfests were put on hold for about 3 issues of boring origin for a character who is promptly killed off in the last issue. I digress, anyway, with this, Ellis has proved he's still capable of penning an engaging and entertaining Iron Man story, even without the gorgeous art of Adi Granov.
"Ultimate Armour Wars" is set almost immediately post-Ultimatum with Iron Man surveying the ruined cityscape of Manhattan. No sooner than he's begun narrating an iTunes podcast (seriously) he receives intel that the Stark Manhattan Office has been broken into and his tech stolen. This break-in is only part of a bigger picture as Stark finds his tech being copied and exploited for legions of battlesuits and armour in a re-tread of the classic armour wars arc in the classic Marvelverse (recently adapted in part for "Iron Man 2"). What follows is a rip-roaring, if somewhat simplistic, adventure with Iron Man clashing time and again with several new foes, all the while displaying Tony's classic snarky wit.
With Tony, the character has more or less reached a fork in the road in terms of his character. The Marvel Universe now portrays him as a business-savvy straight man, dripping with dry wit and the casual throwaway line, while Ultimate Universe Tony is a flamboyant, womanizing playboy, loaded with razor sharp diagloue and scathing put-downs, much like Robert Downey Jr's interpretation of the character; a showman first and businessman second. Other characters in UAW don't get much time to be fleshed out, there is Justine Hammer, daughter of the late CEO of Hammer Industries, who becomes Tony's partner through the adventure and gains more characterisation than others in the story. There a brief appearances from Dreadknight and Ghost, both wearing custom versions of the Iron Man armour as well as Firepower in the form of a British riot squad (and looking rather similar to a certain Halo protagonist). These Iron Man clones are more or less plot devices and excuses for battles. Cool battles, but still they are markedly one-note, save for the Ghost, who has literally no lines or apparent character, making him (it?) an interesting potential foe for Iron Man in future tales (his fate in the story is ambiguous).
In more nods to classic Marvel, Iron Man confronts a man who has fused Iron Man armour, resembling the classic style, to his sons, making them merciless killing machines. UAW also features the first instance of Iron Man's iconic repulsor gun, the inclusion of which is a crowning moment of awesome (or a moral event horizon depending on how you see it).
That's one of the niggles for me in this story, Iron Man's is awfully willing to outright kill people. Understandable in the case of some, but when he kills some of the aforementioned Firepower officers, just for using the armour to rough up some civilians which is never even shown happening or outright stated, it reeks of disproportionate retribution, especially since there's a panel plainly showing that these are people in these suits (Metropolitan Police no less). Admittedly they were trying to kill him, but he shot first. It's not that I mind Stark killing, it's not like he's Batman, but blowing up some rather agressive British police seems a bit harsh.
That niggle aside, UAW was a thoroughly fun read. It had plenty of action and amusing one-liners, with some lovely Bryan Hitch-esque art from Steve Kurth. Yes the supporting characters are rather one dimensional and it ends rather bizarrely and abruptly, but Tony Stark is such a fantastic character, it's good enough to stand just on the merit of how well he's written. Much like the "Iron Man" film, it may not be as thought-provoking or deep as some of the competition, but it's a hell of a lot more fun.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The world has been devastated by war and economic collapse and Tony Stark is down to his last $100 million! Going back to his NY offices he sees a thief wearing Iron Man tech break into his offices and disappear! Then a mysterious girl with Iron Man type tech shows up to help and the race is on for Stark to stop his tech from falling into the wrong hands!
As you might tell from the title "Armour Wars" has a lotta guys wearing Iron Man suits, all in different colours and slightly modified in design. They're all cool to look at and while the action might at times seem a bit Manga (think Guyver or Patlabor) it's nonetheless exciting to see on the page. Full credit to the artist Steve Kurth for doing a fantastic job.
And Warren Ellis writes a great Tony Stark. If you're as big a fan of Ellis as I am you'll notice that Stark speaks like a few of Ellis' characters like Spider Jerusalem or Midnighter, that is filthy and drunken and articulate. It's a potent mix.
A great script, even better artwork, and lotsa Iron Man action make for a great lil comic book (and it is lil unfortunately at 4 issues) and hopefully these two will team up for a longer piece another time. Meanwhile we've got "Armour Wars" and it's great fun to read!