When it comes to major events, every hero has to lend a helping hand. That includes Iron Man, who joined in the War of the Realms, and in this trade paperback out this week we get to reread that adventure. It has been three months or so since War of the Realms wrapped up, which means it’s prime time for the trade paperback collections to catch up! This tie-in is an interesting one, since it had Gail Simone and Paolo Villanelli take over for two issues to tell a tale of dragons, Iron Man magic, and the idea of using technology to cure an addiction.
As a fantasy style War of the Realms tie-in, I’d say Simone and Villanelli nail it. The story involves a guy named Sadurang who yearns for gold and can also change into a giant red dragon. We learn early on Malekith needs him to fight Iron Man due to his weakness to iron. If anybody actually believes Tony Stark uses iron in his suits they gotta be nuts, but here we are. The story has the same DNA Dan Slott kicked it off with, as Simone explores some new tech, and recaps where Stark’s at with the huge flop that was the eScape. As a tie-in to an event, it scratches the right itches by delivering on huge action. The fact that Simone and Villanelli put a talking cat into a mech should make most fans happy, but to see Iron Man wield some magic is the icing on the cake. Props to Villanelli who gets five pages of uncolored art featured midway through the book too.
Following Simone’s story is issue #14 by Dan Slott and Jim Zub, which perfectly lays out where this series goes from here. It recaps what came before well while cutting to Tony’s brother and the build-up of his looming threat to Tony Stark’s empire. The most successful element has to be Captain Marvel coming to Tony about him being her sponsor. Tony recently had a drink in the eScape which counts towards breaking sobriety so being a sponsor is a no-go. Tony has an idea to put that genie back in the bottle using technology which is clever, but also dangerous. Leave it to Tony to put his life and memory in danger thanks to a bright idea using science! Valerio Schiti draws this issue and shows why he’s a great fit for the series. His ability to draw clean looking technology, expressive characters, and design some wild visuals is on full display.
Wrapping up this collection is a reprinting of Kurt Busiek and Sean Chen’s Iron Man #25 from his 1998 run. At first glance, it seems like a filler issue with no reason to be inserted here, but you soon discover this is an iconic point in Captain Marvel’s journey to get sober. Given the Captain Marvel connection in issue #14, it makes sense to put this here. That said, no matter how you slice it, Marvel clearly added this to pad out the trade since issue #15 was starting a new story arc. Still, I’ve seen worse!
This is a decent interim tie-in to War of the Realms with a nice recap issue and a decent call back to a key moment in Captain Marvel’s attempt to get sober. I can’t say you must read this collection since much of it is blockbuster bluster, but it’s still fun.
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