Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Marvel Unbound - Iron Man: Extremis

With today's Marvel Noise podcast comes another edition of "Marvel Unbound", a new entry here on Random Thoughts Escaping, and fresh opportunity to chat about it in the Marvel Noise forum's "Marvel Unbound" thread. Enjoy!

With Marvel's efforts to build the Iron Man property into a full fledged franchise, there are a glut of Iron Man books available -- both monthlies and collections. And in an effort to navigate those waters I asked the folks on the Marvel Noise forum where I should go for some good Iron Man tales. There were two items that everyone seemed to consistently recommend: the classic Demon in a Bottle story arc, and Warren Ellis' Iron Man: Extremis. I'm really looking forward to reading Demon in a Bottle, but I'm waiting for it to hit stores in trade paperback first, so I picked up Extremis instead and blew through it in literally one sitting.

Extremis, the formula, is described as a Super-Soldier Serum injected via bio-electronic nanotubes into the subject. Naturally, the serum falls into the wrong hands and sets in motion some pretty graphic action and fight scenes that aren't for the squeamish.

Collecting issues #1 through #6 of this series from 2005, Ellis' storyline lays the groundwork for the Iron Man we see in Civil War. It propels his armor technology into the new millennium. Through the turn of events, Tony Stark injects himself with the Extremis cocktail and ends up with an enhanced healing factor, his suit fused to his body, and the ability to store his suit's inner layers in the hollows of his bones.

I'm not a huge fan of Adi Granov's art in the book -- it felt a little too photo-realistic for my liking. And that style only amplified the gore portrayed on some of the pages. I did enjoy Granov's covers for the series, as well as in the only extra in the trade paperback: A tangentially related gallery of the nine covers of Iron Man, Volume 3 he created for issues #75 through #83.

After being turned off by issue #7 of Powers' original run -- the issue where Brian Michael Bendis uses Ellis as a part of the story -- I was glad to have Iron Man: Extremis suggested to me. It seems as good a place as any for me to have begun my exploration of his work. I'm glad I read the book and now know how Tony Stark became the Iron Man I picked up and began reading in this post-Civil War world. I can completely understand why it's recommended as a "must read" in the Iron Man canon, it just wasn't my favorite Iron Man story. Although I appreciate what this reboot did to bring the Iron Man mythos into the 21st century, the art and gore detracted from the story for me.

1 comment:

Andrew Wickliffe said...

I remember really liking this one.
I read it in trade too (or all together).
Good stuff. Though I was surprised about the violence being in such a mainstream book.