Suspended Animation Review

Iron Man: The End, published by Marvel Publishing, Inc., 56 pages, $4.99.

It’s official. The Iron Man movie is a hit. According to Box Office Mojo, it grossed over $318,000,000, and ranked 21st in all-time domestic grosses, coming in before half of the Star Wars flicks, and all Indiana Jones and Harry Potter movies. So, far be it from me not to recommend Iron Man: The End.

Understand, I’m not recommending it because of any particular financial statistics. This book gets three cheers from me because it’s a well-done piece of sequential art.

Writer David Michelinie is no stranger to the character, having had part in introducing Tony Stark’s alcohol problem to readers in the ‘70's, and creating Jim Rhodes, a character that has played prominently in the comics and the movie.

In The End, Michelinie portrays Stark as an aging inventor, challenged to leave a final, lasting technological mark upon the world, and find a replacement to take up the mantle of the armored adventurer. Aided by co-plotter Bob Layton, another Iron Man veteran, he deftly portrays a mentally and emotionally exhausted character, still struggling with past addictions, and desperate to complete his “greatest- - and last- - gift to humankind.” In this, Marvel’s tradition of interesting and complex characters continues.

Bernard Chang’s art is highly instrumental in impressively portraying the technological aspects that have always been important to the character. He also ably etches years of pain and weariness on the face of Stark, as well as the determination by which the character has always been marked. Inks by Layton round out what is a note-worthy chapter of Iron Man lore.

So, what was with all of the movie talk, you ask? That was simply to illustrate the point that millions of Americans continue to discover something many have known for years — that there is much literary value and entertainment to be found in the pages of comic books.

Now, go introduce a fan of the movie to Iron Man: The End.

Review by Mark Allen