Friday, July 8, 2011

Didjutal Comiks: IRON MAN #4

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 #4
May 1998

"Trouble In Paradise"

Writer:Kurt Busiek
Artists: Sean Chen (pencils) Eric Cannon & Sean Parsons (inks)

We open with Stark showing off some new browsing software which absolutely, positively looks nothing like Netscape and what on Earth would make you say such a thing. We then cut to beautiful Isla Suerte. You see, the Starkware demo was for Morgan Stark, who is head of Stark-Fujikawa, hired Stark for the Starkware project and it's being held here at this picturesque locale because rolling out new computer stuff on a bare stage with some schmuck in a black turtleneck poking at it is for losers.

Anyways, over in Exposition Corner (a separate corner from Subplots Corner) Happy Hogan explains that he and Pepper Potts had split up. I'm not really happy about this, because first of all, despite the opinions of several, Tony Stark and Pepper Potts do not work as a couple, and I really don't much like the way they try to set this up by making Happy Hogan looks like the biggest loser on the planet.

Oh, and at a further function at Isla Suerte's casino, Stark spends some quality time with romantic interest that never quite makes the cut Rumiko Fujikawa, but before some strained small talk can get annoying, the new Fireband attacks. Rather than a guy in armour, this Firebrand is a chubby humanoid sun wearing a V-12 engine, it looks like. He shares the original's penchant for ranting about "fat cats" and the like, and Stark finally suits up as Iron Man, and unusually for Busiek Iron Man comic, does not immediately get stomped into a crater.

He does, unfortunately, mess up Firebrand's containment suit and causes a massive explosion and large-scale fire, within which Rumiko is directing rescue efforts. This is meant to be impressive, but feels far too much like a hard sell to me. The wheels of the plot spin for a bit as they try to figure out how to get the hell off the island. To make this that much more difficult, Firebrand blows up a volcano.

Hey, it's a Busiek issue where Iron Man doesn't get the crap kicked out of him! What a revelation! This isn't a bad issue all told, even if there are plenty of things about it that don't work at all (they put Pepper Potts on a bus for so many years for a reason, you know and I still remain unsold on Rumiko Fujikawa) but there's some great action in the kinda James Bond style here, and some energetic storytelling--coupled with some great Sean Chen art--that really keeps things moving.

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