Or – “Male Chauvinist Pigs IN SPAAACE!!!”

After a run-in with another iteration of the Extremis virus (which seems to be final, at least for now), Tony Stark realized that saving the Earth might be setting his sights a little bit low.  Heading into outer space, Iron Man forgot only one thing…  Will his actions against the Phoenix force be his undoing?  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

IronMan8CoverIRON MAN #8
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciler: Greg Land
Inker: Jay Leisten
Colorist: Guru eFX
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Iron Man:  Adventuring into deep space, Iron Man ran afoul of an alien civilization that worshipped the Phoenix Force as a god.  He was put into their judicial system, only to find that he had to fight in a gladiatorial arena to defend himself.  His years of combat experience acquitted him in more ways that one, but the last charge will be the most difficult shake, as his opponent is the alien bounty hunter known as Death’s Head!


We open where we left off last year, with Tony Stark facing off against the much-larger Death’s Head in combat.  Well, less combat and more “dodge whatever giant hunk of rubble that the 30-foot robot chucks at you,” really, but either way, it’s an entertaining scene.  DH even gets a couple of good lines in (“Do you see me firing rockets or using my flamethrower?”) while Tony scrambles for a way out.  The pacing of the story is very odd, though, as the battle gets cut off a bit by the alien Recorder 451, who sends in Tony’s armor (controlled by the sentient A.I. P.E.P.P.E.R.) to save him.  The alien courtroom erupts as he makes his escape, and Tony is declared guilty of his crimes and sentenced to death.  I have to admit, Greg Land doesn’t bother me as much in this issue as he has in the past, curbing some of his artistic excesses to deliver a decent chunk of story-telling.  I can’t find a single panel that is clearly traced from photo-reference of Triple H, Randy Orton OR Dave Batista, and Tony Stark’s face is mostly consistent throughout.  (Isn’t it awful that “he didn’t trace too much” is the most positive thing I can say when discussing a major publisher’s comic book output?)


Recorder 451’s plan gets heavy REALLY fast, though, as Tony escapes, allowing the robot to steal the alien Voldi’s power source, which removes their cloaking against the beings they’re draining power from:  THE CELESTIALS.  While Tony tries to make his escape, the Celestials arrive and destroy the entire Voldi civilization.

You heard me.

Interestingly, the writer has a wonderful analogy for the situation, with Recorder 451 making a comparison to the Voldi stealing power from the Celestials and a leech draining blood from a human body.  As the story ends, he has escaped with the power source, leaving an angry Iron Man floating in space, seething at how blatantly he has been used, and swearing to bring the killer to justice.  It’s a nice moment for Tony, but an hypocritical one, given his destruction of the Voldi’s actual living god only a few months before.


All in all, it’s an interesting read, but the weaknesses of the artist work against some of the story points, as there are some unclear moments during the Celestial attack that don’t make any sense at all, and a lot of dramatic moments that would be much stronger under a more adaptable artist.  Iron Man #8 isn’t as good as it could have been, but it (and the entire Marvel NOW! Iron Man relaunch) is better than I expected, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall.  A little more Death’s Head wouldn’t have hurt this issue at all…

Rating: ★★★☆☆


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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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