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 #299
"The Doomsday Machine!"
Writer: Len Kaminski
Artists: Kevin Hopgood (pencils) Steve Mitchell (inks)
Ultimo, Ultimo, oh dear God, it's Ultimo.
In the wake of last issues battle with Earth-Mover, Iron Man (the remote control version) notes with some surprise that there's a god damned 30-foot tall robot under ground, who then breaks through and commences to enrampagement. Earth-Mover gets killed pretty early on and Iron Man is not doing very well either.
While all this is going on, Veronica Benning shows up and looks all sulky because she has the hots for Stark and yet can't be his physical therapist so she's leaving. Like all physical therapists, she wears a really tight leotard, causing me to wonder about, y'know, pockets. This . . .really doesn't go too far--Tony/Veronica seems to be permanently on life-support before things end for good in the early #300s.
Meanwhile, Ultimo does the Monty Python thing with his foot and Tyco RC Iron Man.
In Subplots Corner, former Stark employee Marcy Pearson retains the services of a hacker, setting up the "Crash and Burn" storyline post #300.
Meanwhile, Tyco RC Iron Man tries once again to stop Ultimo from getting his Godzilla on, goes about as well as . . .well, every time the Japanese military went after Godzilla. Finally pretty sick of it, Ultimo rips Iron Man in half, causing Jim Ross to exclaim "GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY, HE'S BROKEN IN HALF!"
This sends Stark back into intensive care, as you might imagine (amazingly, this bit was drawn by Steve Ellis. Man, I guess everyone started somewhere) Mrs. Arbogast calls Jim Rhodes, who's still really pissed off at Stark and calls him a selfish asshole, which strikes a nerve (rule 1 of Iron Man comics: Never screw with Mrs. Arbogast. She will fuck your shit up.) puts on the War Machine armour and flies off to issue #300.
Ultimo is one of the most boring Iron Man villains ever, and given how po-faced Iron Man's rogue's gallery is, that's really saying something. He's a giant robot who never speaks, or does very little save blow shit up and he's . . .well, not the most imaginatively designed character ever. Kaminski is really just using him as such an extreme threat to bring a couple of different plotlines to a head and set things up for issue #300. One kind of wishes that it was a more epic conflict that had a little more in the way of personal stakes (as issue #200 was) but . . .you know, different times. It's still a decent issue--Kaminski really "got" Stark as a character in a way pretty much no one else did, and Kevin Hopgood is a fantastic artist for the book (what the hell happened to him, anyway) and I did love the four armours he designed during his tenure for the book.