Friday, May 27, 2011

Didjutal Comiks: IRON MAN #12

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 #12

January 1998

"Spoils of War!"

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artists: Patrick Zircher (pencils) Larry Mahlstedt (inks)

So, hey, would it shock you to that, if you glanced at the credits above, we start the issue with Iron Man, having had the shit freshly beat out of him recapping the history of War Machine in a couple pages as the new War Machine prepares to toss him off a building as Warbird (nee Ms. Marvel) does exactly jack shit about it.

Iron Man remembers he can fly and shit and doesn't have to take this and blasts War Machine, and Warbird remembers she has, like, powers and stuff, and punches War Machine into the stratosphere. Unfortunately, Warbird and Iron Man can't get on the same page and Iron Man soon flies off looking for his Negator Pack (used in the Armor Wars to destroy his stolen tech) and to once again underline his health problems and keep the other subplots in Subplots Corner humming along.

Iron Man tries to fry War Machine with the Negator Pack, but nothing happens, meaning that there's no actual Stark technology in War Machine's suit (I should add, this revelation makes no sense on the face of it and is never followed up on as such) War Machine beats up on him some more and flies off and Iron Man collapses because Kurt Busiek, that's why.

Later on, Stark works out it was Sunset Bain who sent War Machine after him and tries to suit up, only to collapse before he can finish. We learn that Stark's problem is that the energy fields in the armour are retarding his tissue growth and impeding his ability to heal. I personally think the problem is that he's been mostly having his ass beating up and down the woodpile without so much as a day off isn't really helping matters, but who cares what I think.

We tie up a few loose ends with Warbird fretting over Stark, insisting she doesn't need help with her drinking problem and flying off and Stark being wheeled out to a stress clinic, which, this being comics, is run by the Controller.

So, uhm, this isn't a terrible issue per se, despite my teasing. War Machine works far better as a nemesis for Iron Man than an ally (well, he worked well as an anti-but-not-evil-Iron Man in the early issues of his own book, but that's a discourse for another time) and the fight is very effective, even despite the nonsense with the War Machine armour not being Stark's and Warbird being generally useless. War Machine comes off as a strong nemesis, the mystery about who he is is engaging (even though the eventual revelation lands with a bit of a thud) and you're excited to see what he'll do next.

I should also ad that our favourite fill-in artist here at the Prattle, Patrick Zircher, does a great job keeping the War Machine battle really lively and exciting. He's great, and it's great to see him.

The problem is really in the subplots. For the the main character, Iron Man constantly getting his ass kicked and it's becoming a little numbing after a year's worth of issues, Sunset Bain's plans are so inscrutable that they threaten to become insensible, and Warbird's alcoholism never goes anywhere and is soon dropped after Busiek leaves.

It's an odd issue, because the things I like, I REALLY like. The things I don't, really don't work for me at all, really.

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