March Randomizer Madness – March 11, 2011 – Iron Man, Wulf, etc.

IRON MAN 2.0 #1   (Marvel, April 2011)  Nick Spencer, Writer.  Barry Kitson, Kano & Carmine Di Giandomenico, Art.  Matt Wilson & Kano, Color.   “Palmer Addley Is Dead”, Part One.

The title of this book is somewhat misleading.  It’s not about Tony Stark / Iron Man.  It’s about James Rhodes / War Machine.  Depending on how you view it, War Machine could be considered Iron Man version 2.0.  I forgive the marketing people.  Maybe they are onto something here.  No previous War Machine series has lasted very long (Volume 1 lasted 25 issues, Volume 2 only 12 issues) - - so let’s try it again with a different name.  I forgive them twice because this debut issue is very good indeed. 

Iron Man 2.0

I’ve seen scripter Nick Spencer’s name somewhere before but I’m not sure if I’ve read any books he has worked on.  This one made me take notice of the writer.  There’s a lot of information and changes to convey and Spencer fits it into the story without making you feel like you’re reading a history book - - and at the same time he builds a little mystery concerning an allegedly deceased character and sprinkles a few clues throughout. He certainly managed to hold my interest.

The sole action this issue occurs in the beginning as War Machine/Rhodey rescues Iron Man/Tony Stark from the frigid clutches of Blizzard.  We then learn that Rhodey will fulfill Stark’s obligation to the military to supply them with an Iron Man.  Then the rest of the issue revolves around Rhodey (now out of armor and in official Army uniform) who reports for duty, meets his team, and gets the background on some mysterious happenings that began following the death of employee Palmer Addley.  There’s some amusing banter between Rhodes and his immediate reporting officer as they exchange sarcastic digs before the commander puts Rhodes in his place.  The art team does a great job, especially with the double page center spread with scenes of devastation.  This first issue holds a lot of promise- - IRON MAN 2.0 could be a good series.

WULF #1  (Ardden/Atlas)  Writer – Steve Niles.  Pencils and Inks – Nat Jones.  Colors – Mai. Letters and Designs – Richard Emms.

WULF is one of three books debuting in March that revive the classic 1970’s short-lived Atlas line of characters.  Steve Niles always turns in an interesting script, and he stretches his style a bit here - -considerably well out of the comfort zone of dark horror where he makes his living.  Although he manages to introduce some dark elements just a few pages in.

Wulf, circa 2011, puts a new spin on the Atlas legend – as Wulf is mysteriously transported into the modern world.  The art by Jones is superbly detailed, rich in color, bold and big.  The story moves along in several places without benefit of dialogue or captions - - and nothing gets in the way of the majestic art. 

Wulf 1

A massive meteor shower looks to be ending Wulf’ the barbarian’s world in the opening pages.  A crazed priest of doom forces an Iron-Maiden like mask onto his head and opens a doorway that summons a massive bloody demon god.  Wulf and the priest know each other- -  not as friends - -  battle ensues - - resulting in both being  sucked into a dimensional portal.  Wulf ends up in a modern-day city, now confronted by a gun-wielding  Detective Lomax  (another former Atlas hero of crime stories).

A very fast-paced delightfully illustrated first issue which promises much but answers little, raising numerous questions sure to be answered in the coming issues.


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