Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Didjutal Comiks: IRON MAN #296

Digital comics are the future of comics, so says everyone on the Internet and everyone trying to justify their purchase of an iPad and leveraging that into a desperate attempt to generate content for their blogs and stuff. It is in this spirit that the management at Witless Prattle continues the following new, exciting, weirdly specific and slightly iconoclastic feature.

Iron Man #296

September 1993

"Trade War"

Writer: Len Kaminski

Artists: Kevin Hopgood (pencils) Steve Mitchell (inks)

Iron Man starts his day with a training program, ends up fighting MODAM, who is like MODOK with boobies and all the gut-wrenching horror that entails. Omega Red also shows up because these are those salad days when anyone who'd been in two issues of X-Men could show up and give an immediate sales boost. Probably even Hazard, though no one really tried.

It should be mentioned, to give you a clearer picture of where we are in Iron Man continuity, that Iron Man is a robot piloted by Stark, as he's still recovering from his "death" (otherwise known as "getting out from under the hot mess John Byrne left when he quit the book") and learns of a decision made by Jim Rhodes (acting as CEO of Stark Enterprises during the time Stark was not-exactly-dead) to sell off their nuclear holdings, and they've sold them to AIM of all people.

Veronica Benning shows up for a page to keep her and Stark's soon-to-be-aborted romantic subplot humming along and yell at him for canceling his physical therapy sessions. She angsts about having to be such a bitch in the name of motivating him and we're off to the next thing.

Stark sends an LMD out to see if he can negotiate with AIM, but they gun him down and he sends in Iron Man. Meanwhile, Omega Red is sure that MODAM was formerly a NKVD agent who betrayed him (this uh, kinda goes nowhere and is really more a spur to make it seem like Red actually belongs here) this sets up a three-way fight between Iron Man. MODAM, and Omega Red next issue.

While I like generally Len Kaminski's run, this is not one of his stronger issues, it should be said. I mean, it's nice that he works in AIM and Iron Man's long-running feud with them into the story, but MODAM is boring as hell (so is MODOK) and Omega Red is . . .well, Omega Red, which is to say he's an eternally half-baked character. That said, the recurring theme of Kaminski's run (that people and corporations will do stupid shit owing to inattention or unintended consequences every time) is in full flower here, and Kevin Hopgood is a fantastic artist who gives everything a sleek yet solid look.

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