Waiting for the Trade – Iron Man

Waiting for the Trade
By Bill Miller
Iron Man: I am Iron Man
by Peter David
Adaptation of the film Iron Man plus Iron Man 200.
Why I Bought This: About every three months I get emails from an online comic dealer when they are having overstock trade sales usually with headlines like $3 or less, (and never more than $5 or less). The last time they had that sale this book was listed for $2 with the words “by Peter David” near the title. I’d probably give a phone book written by Peter David a chance if it was only $2.

The Plot: It is an adaptation of the first Iron Man film in two chapters (i.e. Tony gets blown up in Afghanistan, builds the Iron Man suit to escape, then fends off a corporate takeover by Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger). There is also a back-up story by Christos Gage that tells the events of the movie from SHIELD’s perspective and a reprint of Iron Man 200 by Denny O’Neil in which Iron Man reclaims his company from Obadiah Stane in official Marvel continuity. (This was the culmination of a four year story in which Tony lost his company, fell into full blown alcoholism and turned over the Iron Man armor to Rhodey before slowly clawing his way back).
Critical Thoughts: Since I bought this online I did not know it was an adaptation of the film until I got it. As much as I like Peter David this has no reason to exist. It tells of the story of the movie in a very flat straightforward manner with none of the wit and charm of Robert Downey Jr’s performance.
The back-up story is a little better. It’s not great, but it is an okay read as a supplemental to the film.
Iron Man 200 is the single greatest Iron Man comic I’ve ever read. This is the debut of his silver centurion armor, that probably because of the age I was when this came out, I always liked best if all his suits. But I will say one of the reasons I liked this suit besides its visual coolness is it debuts in an excellent story wherein we see Iron Man deploy the armor and throughout the battle he has to use every new weapon system in it to defeat the escalating threats so that by the end of the story the reader has a firm grasp of exactly what the hero’s powers and limitations are, which in the hands of good writers sets the stage for all future stories. The full page splash pages of both Iron Man and Iron Monger by Mark Bright as they each don their suits for the first time are also exactly what a splash page should be. And the final battle between the two is epic, and when you read it you can easily see why this story was chosen as the basis of the first film.
Grade: This is a hard one to Grade in that the primary story is completely without merit and deserves an E but the reprint is a perfect comic and an easy A+, while the back-up story is a C+. Basically if you can get this for the price I did and you don’t own Iron Man 200 go out and by this book as that’s probably cheaper than you’ll find the original issue and you’ll get it on thicker paper stock. On the other hand if you have to pay the $17 cover price, use your money to either buy Iron Man on DVD or the Iron Man: Iron Monger trade instead as either will deliver a far more satisfying experience. Anyway if you were to average those 3 grades you’d have a failing grade but Iron Man 200 is so great and I got this so cheap I’ll give it a marginal passing grade at D+.