Thursday, June 16, 2011

Didjutal Comiks: IRON MAN #311

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, exciting, weirdly specific and slightly iconoclastic feature.

Iron Man #311
December 1994

"The Conqueror"

Writers: Len Kaminski
Artists: Tom Morgan (pencils and inks)

Sorry about yesterday. I needed a personal day.

Anyways, this is part 3 of 6 of "Hands of Mandarin," and since it's early days, this means it's mostly just the Mandarin smacking Iron Man around with his new scaly green hands and explaining that he doesn't believe in science anymore because it always let him down. Iron Man explains that he's gone completely mad and is more dangerous than ever (I really don't buy that) now that he relies on magic. The Mandarin rants and whips on Iron Man some more and pulls Iron Man's helmet off and gloats over Stark some more and for the love of Christ, I'm already sick, and an all-Mandarin issue is not helping at all.

Meanwhile, Century and War Machine are punching out Chinese guys who are, naturally, dressed like samurai. The head of the Chinese warriors rides up and offers an alliance. Meanwhile, it's back to Mandarin and Stark. Mandarin blasts off his armour (which doesn't work anyways, because of "magic") and Stark takes the opportunity to punch him in his face. Mandarin gets the upper hand soon enough but Stark is still defiant.

Meanwhile, Force Works is riding to the rescue, which means the situation is more desperate than we all thought (because having recently read a few issues of Force Works, I have to admit . . .there is nothing they don't fuck up or make worse.) They arrive by crashing their plane (again, something that seemed to happen constantly in Force Works--I swear they crashed that plane more than landing it) and join the battle because in Marvel Comics, people find airline crashes as easy to shape off as getting dinged while backing out of the parking lot.

Meanwhile, the Mandarin is beating Tony Stark's ass and is about to kill him. You can read Force Works #7 if you want to know what happens next. Myself, I could not care less.

Oooh, "Hands of the Mandarin." For all that I like Len Kaminski's work, this is not one of his better efforts. This is a six-part crossover that ran through Iron Man, War Machine, and Force Works, and really you probably could have knocked it out in half the time, maybe. For all it pretends to be epic, it's really just a lot of delaying action until everyone's together and kicking ass. The Mandarin's anti-technology field is soon thwarted and the Mandarin really never seems like he's on the verge of capital-W World Domination anyways. This is another one of those things I keep talking about where they try once again to convince the readers that the Mandarin is some kind of Bad Motherfucker, rather than the cringing, unfortunate, Yellow Peril stereotype that he is. The upshot of all this is that long after he should have been forgotten with other Iron Man lame-asses like Mister Doll and Gargantua, and yet he keeps coming back because Marvel Comics likes me to feel depressed, I suppose.

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