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Graphic Novel Review: Iron Man: With Iron Hands by Stuart Moore, Roberto de la Torre, Carlo Pagulayan, and Steve Kurth

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When I first heard that Tony Stark was going to be taking over as director of SHIELD, a position held by Nick Fury for ages, I was immediately reluctant. I’ve been with Fury since Jim Steranko brought him into the 1960s with psychedelic and photo realistic art. However, the spy game is also a techno game, and nobody knows tech more than Tony Stark.

Also, Tony Stark has lived a large life that has spilled over onto a lot of people, for good and bad. A lot of them are women.

With Iron Hands picks up with a great action sequence in East Europe that would have played out great on the big screen. The story starts out with a bang, exactly the way a lot of spy movies do. I had to play catch up to figure out who all the people were, but that was fine because the pacing kept my interest. Instantaneous radio transmissions across the globe has made it much easier to write dialogue in these kinds of stories, and to build suspense.

Stuart Moore does a great job of keeping the narrative rolling while showcasing SHIELD’s tech hardware and global reach. I like the idea of Stark’s Alphas. The idea of other people using high tech armor is a blast, but unfortunately the armor is too cost prohibitive to be widespread even throughout the Marvel universe. But that keeps Iron Man unique, which is fine by me.

We also get introduced to a couple of villains. While both are personally motivated, they do have different agendas. This gave the story a very different feel, and Moore did a good job with revealing how Rahimov was tied to Tony Stark. Paladin, a quasi-hero, antes into the play as well. I remember when he first entered the Marvel Universe and he didn’t do that much for me. He’s a bit player in this.

Once “the other Nick ” joins up with the Overkill Mind, the events escalate. Moore and the artists keep the action hot and heavy on the page, switching back and forth between the characters and settings. Tim Dugan’s Flying Commandos was mostly on the lame side and didn’t do much. You’d expect better treatment of a tried and true character like that.

However, I did like the juxtaposition of Tony Stark’s life before and after becoming the director of SHIELD. Despite the differences they had, Tony has a lot in common with Nick Fury. Both of them know where the bodies are buried, and both of them had a hand in putting some of them there. Now I’ve gotta go back and find the earlier volumes.

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