2.16.2011

Iron Man Noir by Scott Snyder and Manuel Garcia: a review


Pulp adventurer Tony Stark and his team go on journeys looking for rare artifacts. In his newest trek into the unknown he is seeking an ancient jade mask. Unknown to the rest of the group is his bad heart and the reason why he searches for this mystical item.

That is the core of this reinterpretation of Iron Man in the 30s. What I really liked were the interspersed old magazine covers for: MARVELS: A Magazine of Men's Adventure. The cover gallery alone, a clever way to intertwine pieces of actual Marvel history in this pulp setting. Reminded me of what I liked best about the X-Men: Noir collection, the segments of pulp science fiction novels about a hero known as the Sentinel.

Also, the issue covers (and cover for the trade paperback) illustrated by Mike Fyles drew me in when I initially saw solicitation for the collection, I feel like the below image with blimp would make for an awesome limited edition print.

Of course what tale taking place right before World War II would be complete without nazi involvement, and they weave the Marvel villianry right in with the world's most evil from our own history. Baron Zemo and Baron Strucker, who have been working with a figure from Tony's past, reveal themselves at the real threat and are after the technological advances that Tony seems to be endlessly making.

The combination of story by Scott Snyder and moving illustration work throughout by Garcia made for a good read.

Sadly, I felt the most underwhelming part of the book was the design of the armor itself. I felt that this what if type scenario book, would give the creative team some freedom to come up with an interesting interpretation. Look at how Spider-Man was re-imagined for his noir book, all black with goggles and pistol, that version even wound up in a recent video game as a different costume option. There are actually 3 suits in this book and they all felt like rough interpretations of the Mach I suit made by Tony in the cave in the Iron Man I movie with a helmet inspired by the Ultimates version of Iron Man -- the manga-esque helmet.
The mini-trade paperback was terrific. Extras included the full script of issue #1 by Scott Snyder and concept art and sketches by Manuel Garcia. I was really pleased with that, a small trade, only 5 x 7 inches, and Marvel still remembered to add in some extras.

I still don't get why the Wolverine: Noir book was released as a more expensive full-size hardcover, I guess because Wolverine can still drag in the bucks, although I would have prefered the mini-trade like the X-Men, Spider-Man, Daredevil, and now this Iron Man Noir for a nice little collected spot on my book case. (I'm still holding off on my purchase of the Old Man Logan book because the collection was so expensive, and I read all but the last two issues I believe, talk about torture). I digress.


Overall an enjoyable Marvel noir tale. I wouldn't rate it as high as the Spider-Man, Daredevil or even Wolverine story, but they were real good. If you're a fan of these noir Marvel re-imaginings, it's worth checking out.

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