TPB: The Invincible Iron Man: Extremis Vol. 1 (#1-6)
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Adi Granov
I have never collected Iron Man books and he’s never been one of the characters I’ve particularly cared about. Fortunately, even someone who has never even heard of Iron Man before can pick up and enjoy Extremis. Warren Ellis succeeds in creating a new origin story for the character (one that was later adapted for the first Iron Man movie) and augmenting his suit’s powers. Extremis has since been adapted to a motion comic and has been hailed as one of the best Iron Man arcs in years.
A biomedical device that can create super soldiers has gone missing and Tony Stark is called in to help find it. The narrative of Tony’s life up to this point unfolds organically through a conversation between him and two colleagues, as the talk wheels around from philosophy to psychedelics. However, you won’t need a bucket of hallucinogenics (the unit of measurement known in the industry as a “Morrison”) to follow the tale as it never becomes spacey or disjointed.
The art in Extremis is amazingly detailed and clean whether depicting the grandeur of the Iron Man suit or the goopyness of a head exploding. Granov, who usually does cover work, seems to have put the same level of detail into each and every panel as he would an entire cover. The result is a comic that looks like an oil painting.
Extremis is a great trade to pick up because it requires no prior knowledge of the character and is beautifully illustrated. While there is sure to be newer and newer armor ad infinitum (and Hulkbuster armor too, if we’re lucky!), Ellis masterfully makes this upgrade feel like a real change not only for Iron Man but for Stark as well.
Final rating (out of 5):